Re: virus: Toleration of Toleration

Sat, 29 Jun 1996 17:40:29 -0500


I'm sympathetic to your motivations in your appeal for tolerance. I really
am. I share your sentiments in this matter, and I hate to follow that
endorsement with a caveat, but you know it's comming.

>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

Richard is straight-forward in his admission that he couches his
explanation of memetics in the terms he does in order to appeal to our
hard-wired tendecy to pay attention to things we take to be dangerous. (I'm
sure he'll post some excerpts.) I do the same thing in propagating "C",
but where "Virus of the Mind" appeals to our interest in danger, "C"
appeals to our interest in sex. BTW, erotica is a meme-complex I value and
wish to propagate.

>I believe we must tolerate all memes, especially those with which we do not

No you don't. You are obviously not tolerant of intolerance, nor should you be.

>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

The beauty of this means of propagation is that in order to learn how to
avoid infection, people must get infected with the meme meme.

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

Rather than advocating tolerance of mal-adaptive memes, I advocate
civility. I suspect that if we advance the memes we value and campaign
against those we judge to be dangerous, but do so with civility and respect
for partners in the discussion, that our social landscape will be the sort
of environment you hope to foster, Reed. I think we agree on the ends we'd
like to acheive, i.e. memetic diversity and an environment of mutual
respect, but while you see tolerance as the best means of acheiving that
end, I advocate civility.

Yours with respect, KMO

Resistance is Futile.