Re: virus: "Religion"?

David McFadzean (
Tue, 06 Aug 1996 18:28:23 -0600

Greetings infidels! It has been some time since I've contributed to
the list and I want to thank everyone for keeping it going in my
absence. I feel like I'm just awakening from a month-long dream
state; I'm sure many of you know what it is like working in software
development in the weeks leading up to a major release. If not, I
highly recommend Douglas Coupland's _Microserfs_ for a very
entertaining and insightful glimpse into this strangest of industries.

At 09:56 PM 05/08/96 -0400, Reed Garrett Konsler wrote:

>I'm a subscriber to this list, but I'm not a memeber of "The Church of"

Unless of course all subscribers to the list are members of the
CoV by definition.

>A wonder how many people who might otherwise be interested/interesting
>avoid the Web page and this list becuase they also have filters that
>exclude churches. My opinion is that there are a number of people like
>Peter and I...but who don't take the time to find out.

True. Many people have told me that the image the current web site
projects turns them off. It is "too religious", or "too severe" or
"too satanic", or "too controversial", or...

>If one wishes to spread the "Virus" meme it seems to me that the "church"
>reference is inhibitory. Many potential vectors refuse to accept infection
>becuase of an erroneously triggered immune response.

In one sense it is just marketing. I thought (rightly or wrongly) that
more people would be interested in visiting a Church of Virus page than,
say, a Memetics Research Group page.

Secondly I really do think it has the potential to be a religion. Not
because we worship any supernatural entities, but because it fulfills
the functional role of religion, or at least that is the intent. Science
and skepticism by themselves make poor religion substitutes. Humans tend
to find religions appealing for their respective iconography, rituals,
saints, holidays, sermons, narratives, and most of all, community.

Finally, I've always encouraged others to present the ideas of Virus
in different forms for different audiences. No one presentation style
is going to appeal to everybody but I don't have the resources to
create more than one web site. Ken Pantheists has already started on
a his own variation called Virus Theatre. KMO is doing an excellent job
of spreading The Meme with The C Memetic Complex (thanks for the fridge
magnets!). If you can think of a new vector for the memes, then I will
certainly support your efforts.

In fact if anyone wants to create their own net-based vector for memetics,
I will provide space on and an account. I will even register
and host a new domain name at cost (US$100 for first 2 years.) and/or
provide your own mailing list. Any takers?

>So, David...I'm sure other people have asked this (or similar) questions
>before. Why did you decide to call this thing a church? Do you see an
>advantage to such a name?

I was talking to Stephen about this in Vancouver last week. He likes the
idea of calling it a church because it presents a little test: if you
can't detect the irony you probably don't belong on the list anyway :-)

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Merak Projects