RE: virus: Meme, the Underlying Cause

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Mon, 29 Sep 1997 14:30:59 -0700

Robin wrote:
>To see that as meaning such information is "more important"
>than us is to project intention/purpose onto the process. See

We were discussing if memes were (or were not) the "underlying cause", as
you described it. I was just following your "intention/purpose"
terminology. What would the "no-intension" equivalent of "more important" be?

>> In
>> fact genes even kill us in order to evolve (aging and death are
>> programmed
>> in our genes). The selfish gene is now approaching a new opportunity
>> --
>> computers and the Web.
>Isn't it our memes, rather than our genes, that propagate
>via the Internet?

Yes. Memes had to use genes and us to build Internet first. So it all
boils down to "The Selfish Meme" (a book yet to be written by Richard
Dawkings, as he claims on the cover of "Thought Contagion" by AAron Lynch).

>All this seems based on the notion that the replicating
>information is "more important" than us. If that was
>true, then it would explain *why* it should make us
>obsolete -- but even then, it would not make that
>inevitable. As it is, the "more important" thing is
>meaningless, so even the "why" is empty.

Assuming that memes are not the "underlying cause" we can easily prove that
they aren't. :-)

Can you define what you meant by the "underlying cause"?

>Teleological: end-oriented, purposeful. Evolution has no
>end in mind (because no mind), no purpose, no

I agree, evolution has no mind. Nonetheless it leads somewhere, it works
according to certain rules. We are talking about the rules.

>To suggest otherwise is to import creator-God-
>stuff into science.

It's what science does: to find the rules behind what is observed. To find
what memes really are.

>To suggest that we are "fated" to
>to be made obsolete by information propagating via
>our artifacts is superstitious nonsense.

Sorry to disappoint you. What if obsolescence is something science "brings
in the stars for us"? :-) But, wait, there is hope: "they" may still need
us the same way we need mitochondria. Relax, don't cling tightly to an
illusion about us and our artifacts that we are the final product of
evolution. Let go, stop running, and face life as it is, there is nothing
to fear but fear itself. (Shit, this search program is so easy to use...).
Buddhism apparently helps.

Regards, Tadeusz (Tad) Niwinski from planet TeTa (604) 985-4159