virus: Toleration of Toleration

Reed Konsler (
Sat, 29 Jun 1996 15:09:58 -0400

I believe that the meme: toleration is one we should express in action.

Within this list I have seen a number of posts which imply that this is not so,
for instance the discussion we had about the adage: "live and let live". While
this adage can be misapplied and is in some circumstances not useful it
conatins a kernel of truth which we should develop and disseminate.

Without toleration diversity of memes is reduced and opportunities for learning
and intellectual growth are diminished.

Humans are most successful when they possess a multitude of memes and the
confidence and ability to choose which to apply in any situation. To insure
that each individual has access to the broadest range of memes and the broadest
freedom to choose between them we must encourage toleration.

I am particularly concerned with Richard Brodie's description of the
meme-sphere as a "battlefield". While I understand the use of this word to
draw attention and am is favor of the dissemination of the meme: meme, I think
that the analogy might be misunderstood.

I do not, for instance, think we should think of memetics as a conflict between
"our" memes and "their" memes. I think it is possible to understand memtics
within the context of cooperation and mutual benefit as opposed to war and

I believe we must tolerate all memes, especially those with which we do not
agree. We must seek to lead by example, to demonstrate that the memes which we
value are most useful so that people freely choose to take advantage of them.
We must not attempt to eliminate ideas from the meme-sphere in some misguided
"Total-War" ethic.

I do not believe in heresy. I would not eliminate the idea from the
meme-sphere but I do not believe it is useful or benificial to the individual
or to society.

I do not wish to see the meme: meme disseminated in a context of fear. We
should encourage people to be open with their own ideas and to seek new ideas
and new synthesis with one another, not shut themselves away for fear of being
"infected". However, from what I have seen we discuss these ideas in the
context of "how we are manipulated" (presumably against our will) as opposed to
"how we learn".

I do not percieve a "war for our minds". I understand that this meme: war has
infected many of us. I believe there are more benefical and useful ways to
think about the exchange and evolution of ideas.

I believe that the meme: toleration is one we should express in action.