Re: virus: Memetics: our obligations

Tim Rhodes (
Tue, 24 Jun 1997 10:18:18 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 22 Jun 1996, Eric Boyd wrote:

> Now, I've been thinking. (it's all I've got!) Memetics can tell us a
> lot about communication. After your mouth is open, memetic's hayday
> begins. What I want to know now is: what can memetics tell us about
> /when/ you should communicate? Do we have an /obligation/ to /open/ our
> mouths?

If you knew how many posts I write and decide not to send, I think you'd
be stunned. Half the time, I look over them when I'm done and think, "Is
that necessary? Now that you've got that off your chest, Tim, delete it
quick before you send it off and sound like an ass!" The only reason I
may come off as noble or peace-loving is through conscious attention and
conspicuious editing.

Yes, /when/ to speak is a very important question.

> Obviously, the idea of "conscious variation of memes" which is my entire
> goal here has something to say. Should I not try to introduce her to
> meme's as well, in an attempt to widen her meme-space? The thing is, I
> not sure that that is altogether to safe.

A good question. If you do choose to de-construct her present world view,
be prepared to be called "evil" during the chaotic phase. (And understand
that you may not be around when she comes out of that period and realizes
it was for her own good. You may never see the benefits of the growing
she'll do, but you'll take all the blame. Can you accept that?) And make
sure that either you're prepared to ride it out /with/ her or that she
has someone else(s) that will be there during the reconstruction phase,
otherwise the next time you see her she maybe wearing black Nikes and an
armband that reads "Heaven's Gate Away Team".

It's not an easy call. Are you up for a project? Are you willing to
sacrifice your friendship for her benefit? Are you willing to take on the
role of Kali (the destroyer) so that she can rebuild?

When I was younger I would have just said, "Go ahead, it's good for her,
whether she knows it or not." Because that was my attitude. And I did
leave a wake of paradigm destruction in my path, to be sure. And,
although most of them have come to understand the whys and wherefores of
my brutality, I'm a little more reserved these days. I'm getting old and
don't have the energy for "projects" like I used to (maybe this should say
to you, "do it now, while your young and full of vim and vigor"). Now I
wait for signs that they /want/ someone to de-construct their worldview,
that what they have isn't working for them. That they're starting to see
the holes in their own theories.

Then I go in for the kill.

-Prof. Tim