RE: virus: Toleration of Toleration

Richard Brodie (
Mon, 1 Jul 1996 22:11:25 -0700

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

Tom Leykis had a discussion on his radio show today about mothers who do
nothing while their children are sexually abused. Do you advocate
tolerance of child molestation, murder, double parking and so on? Or are
you really only tolerant of memes that don't disturb you terribly? If
the latter, you must know that other people whom you see as "intolerant"
are largely the same. They just have a different context of memetics
programming from you.

>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.

"Live and let live" is only good if any difference you would make in the
lives of others would be a negative difference. The only positive meme
you spread through "live and let live" is that meme itself, by example.
Notice I say it's a positive meme especially for unconscious people.

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

This seems a strikingly unfounded assertion. I haven't noticed a problem
with memetic diversity. Not even the Soviet Union could keep a good meme

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

Nonsense. We must encourage CONSCIOUSNESS! This is toleration only in
the sense that you can tolerate the mental discomfort that comes with
holding conflicting memes in mind simultaneously.

>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.

Geez, Reed, if I didn't write things because I was worried about being
misunderstood, I'd never write anything! Emerson said "to be great is to
be misunderstood."

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

I think I've been misunderstood...

>I believe we must tolerate all memes, especially those with which we do
>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
> We must not attempt to eliminate ideas from the meme-sphere in some
>"Total-War" ethic.

Unfortunately, my understanding of psychology and sales and marketing
lead me to believe that that won't work. In the first place, the meme
"memetics" is too complicated and abstract to demonstrate by examples of
behavior. Instead, it's much more effective to use the word "meme" in
everyday conversation.

>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
>or to society.

Sounds like you're saying that you would eliminate it by demonstrating
that it is not useful, and allowing people to make their own choice. I
used to be worried about influencing people's beliefs because I wanted
them to make their own choice. Now I think I have a positive difference
to make in people's lives and I go all-out to make that difference.

>I do not wish to see the meme: meme disseminated in a context of fear.
>should encourage people to be open with their own ideas and to seek new
>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
>context of "how we are manipulated" (presumably against our will) as
>opposed to
>"how we learn".

Most people aren't interested in learning. But I certainly agree that
the context I provided in "Virus of the Mind" is not the only possible
context to disseminate memetics. In fact I'm working on several other
methods right now.

>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.

Such as?

Thanks for your continued thoughtful posts.
>Richard Brodie +1.206.688.8600
>CEO, Brodie Technology Group, Inc., Bellevue, WA USA
>Do you know what a "meme" is?