Re: virus: _____ of Virus

Tom Parsons (
Sun, 23 Nov 1997 14:09:42 +1300

At 02:02 PM 11/22/97 -0700, you wrote:
>At 11:57 AM 11/22/97 -0800, Tim Rhodes wrote:
>>For me to subjectively speculate, second hand, on your motives when I have
>>the opportunity to ask you directly would hardy be a rational or
>>scientific course of action.
>OK, the truth is the name came to me in a trance :) But since them I've
>rationalized it so the intention of "church" is to convey the notion
>of a community formed around the ideas of the CoV. I thought that calling
>it a church would confer a greater memetic advantage than calling it

>a philosophy or institute.

Increasing memetic advantage was exactly my point when I questioned your
apparent denigration of humans' strong devotion to dogmas. No enterprise
will get far by fighting human nature, which indeed you seem to deny doing:

"Fighting dogmatism is not the same as fighting the trait it is based on."

Humans, their memes, and their relationships to memes in general, have
coevolved for a *very* long time. To attempt to fundamentally restructure
these would be even less cost-effective than reinventing the wheel.

For the realistic, limited goal of minimizing the harmful influence of
certain established religious-type memes, you will accomplish the most by
substituting the rational memes we both value into the type of memetic
support structure that currently gives the religious memes such a cosy
environment in people's mindspace. Keep the structure, change the content.

I am considering launching an effort similar to yours, but I would not
attempt to fight the human desire/need to participate in certain memetically
structured groups. My feeling is that we are so thoroughly evolved in this
direction that such participation is actually required for mental/emotional
health. You are probably aware of the research that supports this idea.

I have tentatively selected "Church of Continuing Revelation" for a name,
and produced (or had revealed to me, if you like) several statements of
faith and commitment (or dogma) that will support the same goals that you
(or the Agnostic Church) seem to, and that are usefully consistent with our
predispositions in this area:

1. The Higher Power that made me gave me a mind for good reasons.
2. True Revelation comes only to those who can understand it.
3. If life has meaning, and the Higher Power has messages for me, it is
important that I understand these properly.
4. The mind is powerful, for good or ill.
5. Thoughts are alive and contagious. They can bring disease or health.
6. I will strive to improve my mental health and to avoid communicating
pathogenic thoughts to others.
7. Incorrect thought produces incorrect action.
8. I will improve my mental skills and correct my errors of thought, as far
as I am able.
9. I will give and accept help.
10. I will not mistake opinions for facts.
11. Generalizations are powerful; exceptions help expose their limits.
12. Abstract concepts are powerful tools, dangerous when their connection to
concrete reality is broken.
13. Much of what I have learned is incorrect.
14. Much of what has been written is incorrect or has been misunderstood.
15. Explanations place facts in a web of causes and effects, whose structure
should be dense and elegant.
16. I will examine facts and generalizations for mutual consistency.
17. Inconsistencies show where improvement is needed, and must not be ignored.
18. In all these things I will do my best. No one can do more.

Each item can be a starting point for lengthy analyses, explanations, study
sessions etc. But it essential to accept all as Truths given by Higher
Authority, in order to be a member in good standing of *my* church! At least
it will be, when the final form is revealed. .

Much of value might be accomplished by building on the *very* solid
foundations of existing religions, correcting twisted construction and
building in self-correcting mechanisms. OTOH, gnawing at foundations that
are hard to distinguish from the foundations of human identity itself seems
an exercise in masochism.

Tom "parson" Parsons