Re: virus: Absolute Usefulness

Ken Pantheists (
Fri, 24 May 1996 09:43:00 +0000

Tadeusz Niwinski wrote:
> I've had enough of this Absolute Truth discussion! Let's talk about
> something more useful.

I agree.

> Before we program ourselves with "the most useful memes" we should explore
> the Absolute Usefulness.


> Can we adopt a standard we can compare the
> "usefulness" of memes against? Well... this would force us to believe in
> some Absolute Usefulness... (or Infinite Usefulness).

Why can't the usefulness be open to individual taste? I don't live the
same life you live.

I can see two ways of
> qualifying a meme as "useful": (1) to compare with some standard or (2) obey
> the Chief Memetic Engineer (possibly without questioning). (The third way:
> to wait for evolution does not seem to be too practical).

I don't mind waiting. Evolution does a good job by itself and goes at
its own pace. If I'm waiting for a 747 jet I don't think it will arrive
any sooner if I go out on the runway and push it.

> How else are we going to measure "usefulness"? If we are not going to
> measure it, we are going to follow some prophet. Can anybody see any other
> logical solution? I think this is an important question.

It is an important question. But it's one that people have to answer for
themselves through trial and error, through risk, failure and success.

> OK. Let's make it a scientific goal to program ourselves with the most
> useful memes so we can lead a principled life. Those who are not with us
> are against us and will be disinfected (not to worry, it's a painless process).

That is an extrememly bleak view of the uses of meme technology. I
sincerely hope they don't run things that way on Teta. (Maybe that's why
you came here)

Us vs. them has been around for a long time here on earth. It is, at
times a necessary meme. We would not have had all those productive wars
without it. (sarcasm intended) But it is also not as principled as a "we
are on the same side as them" meme.

I think it would be impossible to forcebly disinfect a person and still
be principled about it. Disinfection is something that would happen
consciously by the individual using his or her own judgement.

Memes are -after all- only a way of interpreting the world. One can
adopt it if they find it valuable, just like adopteing a second

Ken Pantheists
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