virus: Early Christian memes

Mike Jay (
Fri, 18 Jul 97 07:14:58 UT

I thought some of you might enjoy this info which comes off of the Deming List
which is discussing the "aim" of the list.

This post has some interesting meme action especially about how to introduce a
meme into a non-open society such that it gradually "seeps" and combines with
native lore to gain leverage.

I would have never seen this before I joined this list and appreciate the
discussions that help illuminate my memesphere!



-----Original Message-----
From: On Behalf Of Jerry Goolsby
Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 1997 9:46 AM
Subject: AIM - Making our aim work/Goolsby

I have just finished reading an interesting book called "The Sacred
Origins of Profound Things" by Charles Panati. Mostly the book is
about the origin of religious rituals of many faiths. Very

Because I am one of those who oppose the near-deification of Deming
and because I believe such attitudes are dysfunctional to our
purposes, I am hesitant to bring up the following points, which can be
grossly misinterpreted and mistranslated. Nevertheless, the book
offers some interesting insights to our discussion of aim.

The early Christians were exposed to a similar problem that we have.
They were presented with a philosophy (belief system, faith) in which
they held hope for the future. The belief system in which they
believed, however, was violently opposed by the prevailing wisdom.
Sound familiar?

Anyway, according to Panati, the early Christians did not compromise
their beliefs but packaged them so that the Pagans and others found it
easier to adopt their beliefs at low social costs.

For example, Jesus' birthday was celebrated on December 25, not
because He was born on December 25 (He wasn't), but because the
Mithras cult, which dominated Roman beliefs at the time, celebrated
Natalis Solis Invicti--the birthdate of the sun god. The Christians
needed a similar holiday so that their members could celebrate
something, too. Those not obviously celebrating were persecuted.

Anyway, the book contains many examples of how the early Christians
went to a lot of trouble not to interfere with entrenched and popular
customs. "Rather, quietly--and often ingeniously--they attempted to
transform pagan practices into ceremonies that harmonized with
Christian doctrine" (p. 205).

This seems like a viable strategy to me for popularizing WED's work
and SoPK. Maybe we ought to start a Deming Prize for US companies,
similar to the one in Japan, that fixes problems with the Baldrige and
goes beyond it. Perhaps we could start an SoPK prize for Baldrige
winners to encourage them to go to the next level. Maybe we need some
sort of surrogate for ISO9000 that certifies advanced system knowledge
for ISO certificate holders.

Just brain storming. Sorry David; I'll probably hit the send button

By the way, it took 300 years before the Christians recruited their
first CEO (king). I was hoping for something more speedy. Maybe we
need a better benchmark process, but I think I like the underlying

Dr. Jerry R. Goolsby
Associate Professor of Marketing
College of Business Administration
University of South Florida