Re: virus: E-Mail Thought Contaigion

Brett Lane Robertson (
Wed, 03 Dec 1997 12:27:55 -0500


Below is my memetically engineered "chain letter".

There are two memes in the message below which interact to form a virus.
"Our" meme is the meme I call "re-creation". It balances the processes of
"compare", "contrast", "originals", and "copies" with an eye toward
"differences" and "similarities" using "mechanization" to create something
"unique" (all of these words are included with the exception of
"re-creation" with the experimental assumption that <recreation> is the meme
which will reproduce OUR message).

The respondent's meme (*Your*...) is the meme I call <standards>. It
involves "quantity", "quality", "satisfaction", "satiation", "product" and
"process" by which an idea is "mass-produced" through "mechanization". All
of these supporting ideas are also included in the complex represented by
the chain letter (The two memes should interact to form a >virus<).

Because I think that the "re-creation" meme is a higher order meme than
"standards", I am predicting--based on this alone--that the chain letter
will be reproduced.

But, since "recreation" is our hidden intent, and "standards" our implied
intent, the standard of re-creation (>mischievousness<) will be a virus of
the highest order--and with this "double whammy" we should DEFINITELY
produce a more contagious meme than the "copy" memes our respondents might
come up with (There will be significantly more responses gathered back at
our listserv which are *unchanged* than there will be which include the
respondents own message...that is, the meme has "replicated" without mutating):

>This is a unique demonstration of a meme. Our* ideal is to replicate the
mechanical process of a meme. *Your* job is to reproduce this process--AND
YOU CAN ADD YOUR OWN "PRODUCT". Your message will be included according to
your standards. In quantity! With quality! To Your satisfaction and with
the greatest possible effect!
>Just place your own message below the line where it says <your message
here> leaving everything above <your message here> unchanged and forward to
several friends. (Or leave the entire message unchanged and forward
anyway...but keep in the address line so we can compare
and contrast the similarities and differences between the original <message>
and the "copies").
><your message here>
>*Virus is a collection of mutually-supporting ideas (a meme-complex)
encompassing philosophy, science, technology, politics, and religion. The
core ideas are based on evolution and memetics because one of the primary
design goals was survivability through adaptation (religions die, not
because they grow old, but because they become obsolete). If a new religion
is designed around the premise of continuously integrating better (more
accurate, more useful) concepts while ensuring the survival of its
believers, it could conceivably achieve true immortality.


Cogito, ergo sum: I think, therefore I am.

Rene Descartes