virus: Re: The saga continues!

D.H.Rosdeitcher (
Sun, 14 Sep 1997 10:43:30 -0400

Tad wrote:
I wrote:
>>The same kind of test can be done with idea systems--see if people using
>>certain idea systems have a better effect on people's performance than
>>From the point of view of an objectivist, it would make sense that on
>>average,Objectivists would be higher achievers than non-Objectivists.
>>a thing could be tested.

>No kidding, this is a great idea! (Of course someone will have to get out
>of this cosy list and actually do some work... No problem, I seriously
>volunteer to do it when teaching my seminars next year).

>Can you help me with:

>(1) Determine how to measure achievements,
>(2) Determine a degree of Objectivism in one's blood (am I an Objectivist?
>-- I don't know; is David R. an Objectivist -- Tim stop laughing, please).

>NO JOKES PLEASE. It may be a very interesting study. Plase donate some
>ideas as to what it is to be successful and how to measure it (who was/is
>more successful: Newton, Mother Teresa, Bill Gates, Richard Dawkins,
>Brodie, David Rosdeitcher? -- we will have to assign a specific number to
>each person). Money is probably not the best and not the only measure. Do
>we count how many times their names appeared on the web? Do we count
>love-affairs? For sure, we can come up with a set of questions we can ask
>the people we study, and find out abut them something we agree to be a
>measure of success.

Actually, I think you could do a study on this. While individuals cannot be
evaluated, you can use statistics to see if a particular set of memes has a
particular effect. For instance, I believe that the work ethic memes in
Judaism and Protestantism could lead to a prediction that those groups
would make more money than other groups. And, in Objectivism, which seems
to favor Capitalism, it should be predicted that the Objectivist memes
would have an effect in which people make more money. I'm not saying money
is a measure of success, but I'm saying that statistically, you should be
able to poll the thousands of readers on say, alt.philosophy.objectivism,
alt.some christian group, alt.scientology, etc. and see if some meme sets
induce certain behaviors.
If Objectivism helped people become great capitalists, since capitalism
is the "Unknown Ideal", a statistically higher percentage of people who
build big companies would be Objectivists, and have the clout to spread
Objectivism, since they'd probably dominate the media. But I don't think
that's the case, because I think the Objectivist meme set has a
dysfunctional quality about it which leads people to think about capitalism
as an abstraction. It's like the notion of "existence"--it's just mind

>As to objectivism, I believe it will have to be based only on questioning,
>and not the kind of "are you an Objectivist from Peikoff or
>What's-the-other-camp's-name?". It has to be based on their world view
>how much they accept the axioms. What questions can we ask?

Questions: Do people with the meme "existence exists" in their heads, have
advantages (ie. financial,social) over people without that meme in their

>This may also be a great study towards finding cure for MAIDS. Please

I agree. We should find out the benefits of having "undefined non-givens"
like "self-esteem" and "existence" in our minds.
--David R.