virus: RE: Selfishness

Richard Brodie (
Tue, 23 Jul 1996 10:38:51 -0700

David McDivitt wrote:

>I checked out your page. I'm really impressed. Your evolutionary virus
>concept is pretty good. It nevertheless deals totally with the
>with absolutely no physical foundation whatsoever. I do like it because
>it represents a neat packaged model.

Most memeticists and cognitive scientists are leaning toward the idea
that the mind is in fact a fairly abstract construct in the same way a
computer program is, composed of neurochemical/electrical impulses
rather than individual physical cells.
>Unfortunately your model in no way contradicts what I said. If anything
>it complements it. I simply stated there is a commonality in all people
>with respect to motivation, and I call it egoism. You call it a virus.
>What's the difference?

I don't quite know how to respond to this, David, other than maybe to
say that if you don't know the difference between an elephant and an
egg, I'm not going to send you to the supermarket for a dozen eggs!
Seriously, the difference is subtle but important. I think most people
are mentally enslaved by a variety of mind viruses without knowing it,
and not acting in their own self-interest at all!

>Upon looking at your page, I'd say you believe in spiritual

I have to say you're the first person who's EVER accused me of that!
Mostly I get shot at for being too rational/intellectual!

> Links to "" and "church of the virus" means
>you desire to follow some spiritual format. I do not do that. I threw
>all in the trash. You certainly have the right to pursue spiritualism
>you want to. With so many keywords on your page, I seriously doubt any
>objectivity you have with regard to self or egoism.

Don't get your feathers ruffled. If you surfed over to the Church of
Virus you saw that it is tongue-in-cheek. That's a great mailing list,
btw. Or are you just baiting me? =)

>The point is, Richard, me is me. It doesn't matter whether it comes
>a virus or not. Who I am in the present tense is who I am. I do what I
>do. There is no qualification of that. It's either accepted or it
>That's why I think you lack objectivity.

I would like you to read "Consciousness Explained", a very good book by
my friend Daniel Dennett. Then see if you still think "me is me." (Don't
worry, it's not mystical or spiritual at all!)

>When was egoism equivocated to memes? If you want to discuss
>socio-biological parts, please go ahead, and I may like what you say
>very much. It does not necessarily have anything to do with egoism,

You probably mean "equated." I was contesting the statement that people
already/always act out of their own self-interest, that's what brought
memes into it. I think memetics is a much better model of how people

>When I meet someone and have to form a quick assessment of behavior, I
>don't have the time, money, or technology to study the family tree of
>his viruses. I must recognize the person to be responsible for his
>behavior, and have discourse in this regard.

Then you're missing out on access to much power.

Richard Brodie +1.206.688.8600
CEO, Brodie Technology Group, Inc., Bellevue, WA, USA
Do you know what a "meme" is?