Re: virus: Memetics: our obligations

Eric Boyd (
Sun, 23 Jun 1996 17:59:15 -0500

John ''I Take Large Steps'' Williams wrote:

> "Should" we be infecting others?
> 1) Tone: I know Eric doesn't quite mean it this way, and I'm really not
> offended, but Eric makes this Evelyn out to sounds something like a member
> of an aboriginal culture that we have no right disturbing. It's elitist[1],

That's me, yea. Hopelessly elitist. I think it's a Queens thing.

> which isn't too big of a problem, but it's good to have that pointed out so
> one can analyze whether the elitism is warrented or not. Sounds rather
> "Prime Directive"ish to me[1]. I guess the question to ask here is "are we
> that sure that we're right?" and if we are, does that sureness constitute
> level 2 thinking?

(I'd like to point out you missed the end note... what was it?)

This is really the big problem, alright. Level 3 is all about freedom
from grasping meme's, transending them and using them for our purposes,
right? But inevidably, one cannot transend the "level 3" framework. I
must say, with the full E-Prime enlightened meanings, that "level 3 *is*
where I'm at" In that way, the level 3 meme itself becomes level 2 and
twartes it's own efforts. But how can we transend this problem? Since
the act of transending level 3 would mean to transend the transending,
that would also bring us back to level 2. No way out. At some point,
then, we are all level 2. The question is only where. I still think
that level 3 is /valid/ in that it allows us to embrace multiple models
of the truth. However, like I hinted at yesterday, I think there is
also something to be learned by actually "grasping" completely. In
Christianity, as I said yesterday, a lot of the enjoyment comes from
literally surrendering to the meme of "Jesus's salvation" and letting it
pour over you. Such as thing is decidely level 2, but that appears to
be the only way to transend the level 2 grasp on level 3. What an
interesting world.

> 2) Should we: How can we not? Vectors frequently carry diseases with no
> knowledge that they are carriers, or that they infect others. Know why they
> put people in bubbles? To keep out the vectors. I'd argue that just by
> having contact with Evelyn, you've already infected her. The new memes may
> not take hold, and may be rejected, but you *have* changed the way she
> thinks about some things. Memetics operates whether or not you intend to
> apply it.

Well yes. I said as much when I mentioned the "little skirmishes".
What I'm really asking about here though is /intentionally/ setting up a
meeting with her with the intent to explain "all".

> 3) Action: Frankly, I don't think that people should go rocking other
> people's boats too hard. There are exceptions. I take everyone's presence
> here as permission for me to rock your boat, and I expect you to do the
> same.

Startrek. The Prime Directive. That was a very good refence to bring
up earlier, John. Things are comming together for me. This is
reminding me of the very first "ST: Voyager" episode. Janeway is thrown
into a situation in which she /unintentionally/ violates the Prime
Directive. It is unavoidable. Then, later, when she faces a serious
choice about intefering or not (I beleive it was to destroy the array or
not) she actually says (paraphrase) "We didn't ask to be involved. But
we are. We can not deny that. To just sit here and allow all those
people to die would be wrong, Prime Directive or not. I'm going to
destroy the array" I see alot of similar situations in this world. My
deal with Evelyn could turn into a similar situation, eventually. A few
more little skirmishes, and I may unintentionally set her down a path.
Then I should help, right?

> You are right, Eric -- if you try to push Evelyn into memetic
> thinking, you've basically "converted" her. Consider these Christian
> statements about faith, set beside your three statements about how she will
> react:
> a) You cannot see God operating in your life because you are incapable of
> it; Only God's chosen can see God; you are locked in a logical/scientist
> mindset.
> vs
> You are "incapable" of understanding Memetics; you are locked in an
> authoritarian mindset; you do not have the knoweldge/education/intellectual
> tools to believe what I am saying.

Nice, and a valid point. Like I said, I think I've missed the Christian
boat already. I am not capable of the kind of intellectual surrender to
meme's that "true" Christianity /needs/. My loss.

> b) You reject God because you are under the influence of Satan.
> vs.
> You reject Memetics because you are under the influence of Christianity.

I didn't see this one! This is, of course, the same "religion-fish"
versus "science-fish" argument, all over again. I beleive now that even
level 3 cannot help us transend the boundary. Level 3 is /inherently/
biased against complete acceptance of ideas, and Christianity needs
that. What good is a God if he doesn't know "the Truth"?

> c) I've gotten you to accept Christ into your life, or you are
considering it.
> vs.
> She's thinking real hard. I can tell, because she agrees with me.

I am considering it, of course. But it looks like the best I can do is
rational assent. I may follow Jesus's teachings, and I probably will,
but that doesn't make me a Christian by my definition.

> Are you at level 2 with memetics, instead of 3? Indeed, can anyone truely
> reach level 3 at all? I doubt it.

I'd say no. We can embrace level 3 at level 2. That is as good as it