virus: RE: Selfishness

Richard Brodie (
Wed, 24 Jul 1996 09:35:08 -0700

Jon Newton wrote:

>So having sex has nothing to do with the fact that
>it is really fun or doesn't automatically kill you?
>I will grant that ideas spread through our culture
>and are "catching." I will grant that people underestimate
>the effects that our own biological predispositions have
>on our decision making. However, to attribute all
>"bad habits" to irresistable mind viruses is simplifying
>things terribly.

I'm not sure what your point is here, as I didn't assert any of the
things you are disputing. I do think I have put my finger on one thing,
though, which is...

>Now, just because I've practiced these simple
>decisions to the point where they're as automatic
>as answering 2+2, does not mean that I'm being controled
>by memes or have been trained by society.

Aha! There it is! You think that because your subjective experience is
that you are making conscious choices, that your memes are not being
controlled by society. Look at the bigger picture: how many others
(myself included) have gone through an essentially similar "thought
process" and formed similar conclusions (memes) about speeding, which
then become automatic responses (memetic programming)?

Causing someone to "come up with" an idea (meme) himself is one of the
best ways of programming people. This can be done one-on-one,
intentionally, as with a con game or sales pitch, or as part of a virus
of the mind such as body piercing or organized religion.

>I would wager to guess that many people go through
>something similar.

And so doesn't that tell you something about the predictability of such
meme formation?

>Again, I do agree with much of
>what you are saying, however, I think this particular
>example was a bad one. A much better example illustrating
>your views might be the obsession college students have
>with beer.

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