Re: virus: Tabacco mind virus.

Eric Boyd (
Fri, 04 Jul 1997 00:56:52 -0500

Gifford, Nate F wrote:

> A meme that I see as very similar to suicide is procreation. Have you ever
> noticed how many people who swear they'll never have children don't get
> themselves neutered? I have a friend who was going ape shit because he
> thought his wife had gotten pregnant and his self-indulgent yuppie
> lifestyle was in danger. But even after that scare he didn't want to get
> his seminiferous tubules tied. For women getting cut makes sense because
> after 30 birth control pills raise your risks for some kinds of cancer ...
> For men getting cut makes sense because you can pretty much guarantee
> yourself freedom from paternity suits. Any ideas for making
> vasectomies/tubals cooler? Temporary methods of birth control seem to have
> all the same memes as tobacco ... dangerous in the long run, but
> convenient. Surgical methods are like the gun ... cheaper, more effective,
> and distasteful.

Wow. I've been ignoring this entire thread until now, basically on the
meme that "heck, if you want to put your life in danger by smoking, why
should I interfere? You have the right to *dispose* of your life as you
see fit."

But bringing the idea of short and long term "death bringers" out of
cigs and into reproduction really brought the argument home for me. The
similarities are amazing. Side by side:

While no one would consider shooting themselves, many will smoke.
While no one will neuter themself, many take contraceptives.

And yet the end is the same. Must be something in the human psyche that
enables us to place short term benefit above long term damage. We will
not accept the damage in one shot, but spread it over years and "yea,
sure, I like smoking"

A great meme niche!

Prof Tim wrote [about Meme-Space]:
> Is the distance and vector really arbitrary? What is the relationship
> between meme-points in this field? Are there areas in this meme-space
> that are, for lack of a better word, healthier for memes to inhabit. That
> is to say, are there favorable niches that memes will have a tendency to
> cluster around because the memes in those regions survive longer? How do
> we want to understand "meme-gravity" in this model?

I certainly believe that there are quadrants in meme-space that are more
favorable. (note here: I am considering the three dimensional
meme-space I wrote about yesterday:
X axis = "meaning" positive = "This provides meaning to my life"
Y axis = "belief" positive = "I beleive in it"
Z axis = "evidence" positive = "supporting evidence")

I beleive that, for the most part, places with a *positive* Y value will
be more *stable* than those with a negative Y value. That is, beleif in
the existance of something is easier to maintain than beleif in the
*NON* existance of something. That's why it's hard to be an atheist. I
still catch myself saying "My God!" a fair few times everyweek... I
always remind myself after that "my god is an invisible *bright*pink*
unicorn" but it never seems to help...

Looking back, I'd say that this is true of all three variables. A
positive value will give a more stable meme-space. With beleif, this
obviously indicated in a round about way the power of faith. Beleive in
it, and more memes will come. (... "If you build it, they will come"

I also think that "meaning" provides a more stable base for meme's to
build upon than "evidence"... which is why "Mysticism" (+, +, -) will
beat out "Science" (-, +, +) more often than not.

And I want to resurrect something David De Void said awhile back:

> I'll consider myself forewarned. I don't doubt that you've had these
> experiences with yoga. But please remember that I'm an evolutionist.
> Beasts survive because they're adapted to their environment. If you
> create an environment in your mind using meditation which supports
> ideas like reincarnation, it's not surpising to me that the thoughts
> that survive in that environment deal with reincarnation. In fact,
> I'd be surprised if that didn't happen.
> David de Zero

The point, of course, is that everybody to a certain degree sculpts
her/his own meme-sphere. Since I am currently studying religion like
the world will end tomorrow, it doesn't surprise me that a lot of the
things which occur to me "unwilled" as it were deal with religion. I
have *made* that enviroment (that area of the meme-sphere in general)
very fertile.