Re: virus: "Live and let live" - heresy?

C. David Noziglia (
Sun, 19 May 1996 15:50:39 -0700

Richard Brodie wrote:
> I've been hoping a few others would comment about why "live and let
> live" might be a heresy in the Church of Virus. Anyone?
> As with everything, it depends upon what you really mean when you say that.
Some people have commented about the "tolerance" inherent in Hindu/Bhuddhist
philosophy, in that each one is allowed to follow his own path to
enlightenment. One could also say that the philosophy is one of, "hey, I got
my path, and I don't care what yours is, or whether or not you follow it."
In other words, tolerance and indifference could both cause the same behavior
most of the time, but have vastly different outcomes under stress or at the
margins. Context counts.

> Do you know what a "meme" is?
> Try this: A "meme" is a metaphor. It is simply the statement that ideas
evolve in much the same way that living organisms do, addresses the question
of what the "unit" of such evolution is, and tries to draw useful analogies
between biological evolution by natural selection, and the social evolution
of ideas, customs, beliefs, and behavior.

Now, I suspect that some of you might say (tell me if I'm wrong) that calling
something a metaphor is a pretty weak way of speaking. On the contrary, most
of science and art is based on metaphors, and they are the most powerful
intellectual tools in our collective armory. It's just another way of saying
that Dawson, etc. have drawn or seen the connections between two sets of
ideas, and are seeking to develop useful conclusions about the way evolution
operates on ideas. Does it work the same way as natural selection? What are
the differences, and how can we use/think about them?

For instance, evolution always works locally. Or does it? Does it work
locally on the level of genes, individuals, or groups? Does "meme" evolution
have to follow that rule, or can an idea that doesn't work on the level of
individual, immediate feedback still spread and thrive if it works in the
long run for the benefit of the social unit at large?

I am very interested in knowing if this is a useful thread to explore, or if
it has been run to the ground already. Thanks.

C. David Noziglia
Wellington, New Zealand

"Blessed are those who have no expectations, for they will never be disappointed." Kautiliya Shakhamuni Sidhartha Gautama Buddha

"Things are the way they are because they got that way."