Re: virus: Level 3

Eric Boyd (
Thu, 29 May 1997 14:23:55 -0500

Robin Faichney wrote:
> >Help me out here guys: is this even possible? Can I use a meme without
> >being "infected" by it to a certain extent.
> If you use it, you're infected by it, by definition. All it "wants"
> is that you pass it on. Whether you actually believe in it is up
> to you.
> >Could this in fact be
> >"Level 4" as it were... the ability to use /all/ meme's and be
> >/unaffected/ by any of them?
> I think this, or something like it, is just Level 3, though I haven't
> gotten around to reading Richard's book yet.

I haven't read it either, but all the talk has been about "flexing your
meme space on the fly" which strikes me as meerly the ability to flip
back and forth between two (or many many more) level two intelligences.
In short, to have multiply "you's" as it were, for example: one who
beleives that God exists (and has a large built up meme space around
that) and one who beleives God does not exist (+surrounding meme
space). Just flip your consiciousness back and forth between them and
you have acheived level 3.
What we are talking about here is "higher" than that. We are talking
about the ability to recgonize that all of these things (God vs not-God)
are in fact meerly memes and there is no reason to "beleive" any of
them. Use them if they are useful, but do not identify with either of

(or maybe I should just go read that book)

> >Nice idea, but I'm not that "smart" or what have you. I'll simply have
> >to beleive it for it to be any good to me.
> Don't be so down on yourself! I bet you act on "working
> hypotheses" every day. You're much smarter than you
> think! ;-)

One of the deep mysteries of the human condition is our ability to
"think" about /ourselves/ as an object rather than as our own subject.
Our consciousness. The ability to look in a mirror and recgnize that it
is "I", "the self", "me" I see reflected in there. How in the world is
this useful? (like: why did it evolve?) This is why my next 1000 hour
journey is "Who am I" In fact, I think the entire idea of seperate
journey's is falling apart for me... they are all linked, and my
seperation of them is entirely artificial. So I am a man and man is
God. Go visit the Church of Zero.


I've been thinking some more about my journeys and have come to the
conclusion that they all really are related. I'm going to turn over a
new leaf here and try imagery...

What I see is series of concentric circles (waves) on water, as if
formed by the dropping of a stone. The outermost ripple, the one that
was formed first, represents God. He includes everything else. An
understanding of the first ripple is really important if one is to
travel farther in. The next ripple is all of mankind. My question
"What is a Man?". Why are /we/ here and (here's the link to the
outermost circle) who created us? The inner most circle is the
individual. What is /my/ purpose here. Who am I? But this was really
the first thing. "Who am I" was the stone that was dropped in the first
place. Our consciousness -- this is what makes us question the world in
the first place. And so the cycle is complete: Our consciousness makes
us question the origin of the world (god); this naturally begs the
question: why are /we/ here, which then brings about the consciousness
of indivudality that started it all.
Any real answer to any of these questions then has to lie inside
yourself. A personal truth. And that is the real journey that life is
all about.
Another nice thing about the circular waves is their propagation
through time... as time goes on, not only do the waves form in a logical
order ( but the area encompased by the waves grows,
representing your increased understanding as life goes on.
I think the order mentioned above, though, does not happen in the life
span of a single human. It's much larger than that. For well over a
thousand years, humankind has been stuck in "God" mode. Now it becomes
apparent that that is not the truth. We move into the Age of Reason,
when it is humans working together to find answers and to explain the
world around them[1]. And soon we will all move into the Age of Self,
when we realize that all of our answers really don't mean anything if we
do not understand ourselves, and what we really are. That the entire
material world, all the answers / technologies of science are really
unimportant when it comes right down to it. Happyness cannot be found
"out there"; it must come from within yourself. Understand yourself and
all will be revealed...




[1] A product of the Age of Reason:
[An American] is probably the most unhappy citizen in the history of
the world. She has not the power to provide herself with anything but
money, and her money is inflating like a balloon and drifting away,
subject to historical circumstances and the power of other people.
>From morning to night, she does not touch anything that she has
produced herself, in which she can take pride. For all her leisure
and recreation, she feels bad, she looks bad, she is overweight, her
health is poor. Her air, water, and food are all known to contain
poisons. There is a fair chance that she will die of suffocation. She
suspects that her love life is not as fulfilling as other people's.
She wishes that she had been born sooner, or later. She does not know
why her children are the way they are. She does not understand what
they say. She does not care and does not know why she does not care.
Certain advertisements and pictures in magazines make her suspect that
she is basically unattractive. She feels that all her possessions are
under threat of pillage. She does not know what she would do if she
lost her job, if the economy failed, if the utility companies went on
strike, if her husband left her, if her children ran away, if she
should be found to be incurably ill. And for these anxieties, of
course, she consults certified experts, who in turn consult certified
experts about their anxieties. -Wendell Berry