Re: virus: Virus-supportive Psychology

Brett Lane Robertson (
Thu, 09 Oct 1997 13:37:44 -0500

At 12:04 PM 10/9/97 -0400, you wrote:
>What is it about human psychology that encourages the proliferation and
>transmission of viruses? How can one make use of such knowledge to create
>better meme-complexes which will have a high probability of not only
>spreading, but of being able to counter limiting/destructive memes?
>Would someone take a moment to explain "levels" terminology or refer me to


Psychology is a *system* which means that if used well it can reveal certain
things which are not at first obvious (like science is a system and the
scientific method reveals correlations). Psychologists are mostly focused
on mind and behavior so they have put more effort into areas typically
considered memetic (while science might study matter, or planets, or fruit
flys, etc.). Further, psychology has been an academic discipline for a long
time (as people couldn't figure what else to do with it...ya' can't eat it
ya' can't fornicate with it ya' might as well shoot it). Being an academic
discipline it has been reserved for "intelligent" people--people who persue
knowledge; psychologists are therefore not only interested in memetics but
intelligently capable of saying something about it. Being a master of
psychology, I would say that psychologists will tell us how memes are formed
through defense mechanisms and harbor much unexamined information which
influences our behavior on an a level that we are not conscious of.

I am concerned with the ethics of spreading information in a form that
someone is unable to process consciously ("creating meme complexes" and
"spreading" them...which I see to be like hypnotising someone and giving
them post-hypnotic suggestions). I favor a well written thesis which
contains multi-leveled information but which can be processed by the reader
(and don't consider this to be a meme since does not control the behavior of
the host...or should not (ethically) seek to). The field of NLP
(neuro-linguistic-programming) has many techniques of spreading information
in ways that bypass conscious recognition. A quick review of the news
server will give you many psychological meme *complexes* (pun intended). I
do not think that NLP is ethical, either.


Rabble Sonnet Retort
On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague:

"This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."

Wolfgang Pauli