Re: virus: E-Mail Thought Contaigion

Paul Prestopnik (
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 08:48:02 -0500

> From: Casper K. Clausen <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: virus: E-Mail Thought Contaigion
> Date: Tuesday, December 02, 1997 2:41 AM
> [Jake posted something he wrote a while ago, which pointed out ways in
> which religion is detrimental to the human race. I snipped the piece for
> brevity.]
> > Perhaps some editing, tone changing, and a different audience
> > ressurect this and put it to good use. I would be interested to hear
> > anyone's thoughts on this.
> Impressive: This piece more or less exactly fits my views on these
> subjects. I especially like the passages about after-life and morality.
> However, I believe this piece serves a purpose somewhat different from
> original intention of contagion via email. For the contagion to be
> succesful, I propose that it merely seeks to explain memetics (and
> itself), without offering any critiques of established memes. This will
> allow it to spread further and faster, thus greatly incrasing the number
> of vectors for memetics (at, admittedly, a very basic level).

This was my biggest problem with it. Although I did not find anything
"wrong" with the letter jake posted, one of the primary purposes was that
it spread. Considering that the totality of knowledge concerning memetics
that is held by the people on this list, we should be able to make an email
that spreads like wild fire. The letter that Jake posted would not
accomplish these goals. Although it was not offensively worded, I think
that many people (mostly religious people), would take offense at it. Now
obviously if we water down the content too much it is not even worth doing,
but I think we can write a letter that will offend very few, and will still
contain useful information. I think what Casper stated is correct, we
should use memetics as a topic and try to eliminate any reference to
religion. If we simply explain memetics, people who correctly grasp a full
understanding, will apply it to established memes. Others who are
uncomfortable with destroying there preconcevied notions may still find it
interesting and pass it on if they do not expand upon what we say, and
realize the implications. A good example of were to take inspiration would
be _Virus of the Mind_. In that book Brodie used memetics to push
memetics. It was often pretty funny, to see him explain how we were
exploited by certain memetic buttons and then two pages later, to have him
using these exact buttons. But anyway, I was thinking of something
similar in a chainletter format.
I don't have time to work on this right now, I hope to write a first draft
sometime next week, when that happens I'll post it here, and await the
criticism and feedback.
I've found the posts so far very interesting, and helpful. If anyone has
more suggestions, make sure to tell me.
-paul prestopnik