virus: How did we get here? (from: Un-natural De-selection)

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 15 Aug 1997 13:25:36 -0700 (PDT)

(This not just to directed to you, Brett, but is for the benefit of
everyone that has joined the list in the last several months. Both the
vocal members and the silent majority as well.)

On Fri, 15 Aug 1997, Brett Lane Robertson wrote:

> I read some paper online which I thought was "Virus of the Mind" (though I
> thought it was by someone other than yourself).

It may be useful to us to understand where we're all coming from and what
each others backgrounds are in regards to memetics and evolutionary (and
other origin) theories. We've done this in the past, but it's been a
while and many people have joined CoV since the last time. It might help
us to get a more complete picture of one another and likewise help fight
the impulse to attribute a lack of understanding to anothers ignorance or
stupidity. (The all too easy out.) It may also give us clues as to things
we may want to look into on our own, to expand our knowledge.

To that end:

What brought you to Church of Virus? to the field of memetics?

And what have you read (briefly) on the subject of memetics so far?
(No need to be ashamed if it isn't much. This is a (meta-)meme after all.
Word of mouth is as valid a transmission method as any other!)

I'll start:
I first became infected when I saw a listing in _Extropy_ magazine that
read, "MEMETICS; Ideas as viruses." That was it. There were no articles
in that issue /about/ memes, but the seed was planted. I went on a quest
to find out what that meant (I had an inkling and "ideas as viruses" jived
with what I'd felt was going on with for a while).

My quest lead me to Richard Dawkins (_The Selfish Gene_), Glenn Grant
(_Memetic Lexicon_ and others), Daniel Dennett (_Understanding
Consciousness_), and eventually to CoV.

I'm currently reading (God forbid I say it and spread the infection to
others!), yes, _Virus of the Mind_ by that noted BBQ chef, theater critic
and pool shark, Richard (Plug-My-Book!) Brodie.

And you? How'ed a nice person like you end up in a place like this?

-Prof. Tim