Re: virus: Church of Virus/Memetics/Faith

John \ (
Fri, 30 May 1997 17:49:28 -0400

>I would agree more with your Deconstructionist characterization. Except that
>I would say that everything is open to criticism and revision (the pan-
>critical rationalist position) instead of saying everything is suspect
>(which might seem the same to you but has different connotations for me).

There are different connotations there -- the way I see 'em is:

"open to criticism and revision" -- claims are assumed to be correct, until
such time as they demonstrate an obvious weakness (criticism) and need to
be modified to fit new knowledge (revision).

"suspect" -- claims are explicitly stated to be possibly incorrect; any
belief rests on a recognition of the fragile nature of the claim, and its
inevitable failure.

The rhetorical/memetical (?) difference between the two, I would say, is
that the "open to criticism and revision" phrase represents an "enabled"
standpoint -- one that provides "authority" to speak, in the sense I tend
to use "authority." The "suspect" phrase is closer to an intellectual
warfare phrase, used in cases where one is trying to undermine a belief
system rather than create one. (Much of deconstructionism is this sort of

Of the two, I'd say yours is best for getting people out of the nihilism
ditch, but people have to be thrown into it first, which is what mine is
for. :-)

John Williams
Your Message Here...
"See my loafers? Former gophers!"