virus: Virion Reading List

Paul Pieper (
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 10:37:46 -0600

[forwarded with permission... -dbm]


I have enjoyed the message of The Church of Virus; it is a refreshing change from the rest of the dregs of the web.

You might find the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay an interesting addition to your reading list. It was originally published in 1852, but I believe that the current publishers are either Random House Inc. or Crown Publishers Inc..

A short list of some of topics discussed in the book are: The Money Mania, The Tulipomania, The Alchymists, Modern Prophecies, Influence of Politics on the Hair and Beard, The Crusades, The Witch Mania, and Popular Follies of Great Cities.

The treatment of the these topics by the author are in accordance with the Three Virtues of the Church and and could be classified under the Philosophy catagory as General or under the Cognitive Science catagory as historical-memes-in-action.

For your reference, here is a representative sample from the Preface to the 1852 edition:

"In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of exitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simulataneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first. We see one nation suddenly seized, from its highest to its lowest members, with a fierce desire for military glory; another as becoming crazed upon religious scruple; and neither of them recovering its senses until it has shed rivers of blood and sowed a harvest of groans and tears, to be reaped by its posterity."

Also, another good book under the cognitive science catagory would be The Minds I, edited by Douglas Hoftstadter and Danial Dennett. A really good collection of essays for those interested in a non-technical (more philosophical) discussion of consciousness and artificial intelligence.

Keep up the good work!

Best Wishes,

Paul Pieper