virus: Jesus as a Memetic Engineer

Reed Konsler (
Fri, 25 Jul 1997 12:55:58 -0400 (EDT)

>Date: Thu, 24 Jul 1997 19:02:15 -0500
>From: Eric Boyd <>
>Jesus as a Memetic Engineer
> and what Ive learned from him as such
> --------------------
>Ever since Reeds post about the Lords Prayer, Ive been thinking about
>this issue. Was Jesus a memetic engineer? Did he understand how ideas
>propagate? It sure looks like it...


The rest of this post is rich with interesting ideas.

One thing I'd like to point out is that <Jesus> and Jesus, the "real"
person to whom a lot of Christianity is attributed are two different
things, ontologically.

Every text, in literary criticism, possesses an attribute called the "Implied
Author". This is a version of the "Argument from Design" used to
justify the existence of God--although that argument has been superceeded
in philosophy (we can now, thanks Darwin, imagine design without mind)
it's memetic decendent in Lit Crit still holds some water.

The arguement goes like this:

This is a text
All texts have and author
Thus this book, by it's very existence, implies an author
This Implied Author shall be named "Homer"

I used that name with reason. Homer is the "author" to which
many classic Greek epics are attributed. However, Homer never
wrote anything...he was a oral poet, not a writer. Also, the
stories he told were pervasive in Greek mythology before his
birth and likely modified in the minds of his students before
reformed into the "cannonical" form of reletively immutable text.

Each act of translation--from Greek to Latin...within languages
as the languages evolved...into English--was an act of creativity.

How many hands have touched the Illiad and the Oddessy? Perhaps
McLuhan was correct:

The medium is the message

Forget the Oddessy of Ulyssess and contemplate the Oddessy of

<The Oddessy>

Through time and space.

And still we attribute it to "Homer". Perhaps it is best to think
of "Homer" as a particularly large neuropolis on the journey
of <The Oddessy> from it's obsure beginnings in tribal tales to
it's continious homecoming in the minds of the living.

<Robin Hood>

Proper names are used for things which are too complex to be
completely categorized and generalized...things of uniqueness
or unique value.

This is the idea behind "branding" in advertizing.

<Drink Super-Cola it's the special cola for you and everyone!>
<Listen to Christ, he's the special prophet for you and everyone!>

Considering how many people interpret the Bible as a fundamental
and literal truth--a Rock of Ages, if you will--it is important to
keep track of the difference between: Jesus, the person who may
or may not have lived and taught about 2000 years ago and

<Jesus> The Memetic Construct.

Why is this so important? Well, consider <Jesus> as text...

<Jesus> is a text.
All texts have and author
Thus <Jesus>, by it's very existence, implies an author
This Implied Author shall be named ___?___.


Reed Konsler