Re: virus:Other Reality

Reed Konsler (
Sat, 11 May 1996 00:16:58 -0400

Stephan Atkins said (May9, 3:30pm)
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the sublime is indeed a
meme. It is constructed and adapts to changes in the "environment", in
this case, our concept of ourselves as discreet entities. Death is the
big sublime, because it ultimately ruptures the sense of the discreet
self. The central tenet to the sublime meme is that it *cannot be
transmitted using regular language* but must be transmitted as a
feeling- usually a feeling of having your discreetness (new word that I
just made up:)) ruptured.

This sounds like something I've read:

This is the 1991 essay by Dawkins describing religion as a meme-viral
infection. I'm sure many of you have already seen it (is it linked on the web
page?) as it is almost a manifesto for this group, but I thought I'd bring it
up again in this context.

I especially think the passages describing the "mystery is a virtue" meme as a
good replicator are relevant. Here's just a short quote:

"Mysteries are not meant to be solved, they are meant to strike awe.
`mystery is a virtue' idea comes to the aid of the Catholic, who would
otherwise find intolerable the obligation to believe the obvious nonsense of
the transubstantiation and the `three-in-one.' Again, the belief that `mystery
is a virtue' has a self-referential ring. As Hofstadter might put it, the very
mysteriousness of the belief moves the believer to perpetuate the mystery."
---Dawkins, 1991

The most important thing that a memes-eye view of the world gives us is (to
paraphrase Dawkins and Dennett) the new insight that some ideas may be
pervasive in our culture simply because they are good replicators and not
becasue they are of any use to the individuals infected. That is the paradigm

I don't know if concepts like "Sublimation" (in the metaphysical, not technical
sense) are kin to "Transsubstantiation"...but at heart I'm a skeptic.

I have some questions:

How is "the sublime" transmitted, if not in words?
Does this process have high fidelity; does everyone get a similar "sublime"?
What purpose does this meme serve, if any, from the host's perspective?
What disadvantages does the host suffer once infected?

>From what you've said so far, it seems like you are speaking of the Platonic
Ideals. I don't believe such things exist.