Re: virus: Virus: Sociological Change

Martin Traynor (
Tue, 26 Nov 1996 12:34:50 +0000


On 26 Nov 96 at 9:39, wrote:

> Can society ever reach a perfect state of social harmony for it's current population?

I doubt it. For as long as we have variety of personality society can
never make everybody happy.

> Does a change in the law necessarily reflect the beliefs of society?

It depends on the nature of the society. In a democracy (or something
approximating it, such as we have today in western society) I would
say yes; the legal system is, to an extent at least, driven by the
will of some people (but not necessarily the majority - see below).
It should be noted that the reverse is also
true; a change in the law can bring about a change in society i.e.
make it illegal to practise racism and you make it more difficult for
the racist meme to spread.

> How is it possible to kill dangerous memes such as race hatred, and homophobia?

Kill all the hosts. (Note: I am not recommending this as a course of

> Can we, as individuals, or even as a group, successfully "persuade" society to change
> for what we believe is the better?

I believe we can. The success of womens lib., anti-racism, gay rights
etc., while nowhere near complete, is measurable. These movements all
began as lone voices. Success is not guaranteed and you may not live
to see any benefits but it is possible.

> Without groups fighting for people's social position to be changed, would society
> stagnate, or would it evolve naturally?

Groups fighting for social change *is* natural evolution.

> I, personally, believe that society will never be right for all the people living
> within it, purely because by the time a certain set of ideals has been attained,
> those same ideals will have changed for the populace, due to constant changes in
> the minds of those people.

If you're talking about a (fairly) static society such as we see
today then I agree. Perhaps we should be looking for a structure
which is inherently dynamic enough to incorporate changing ideals and
requirements quickly.

> I also think that the law is not an accurate representation of the people's will.

Damn straight. It is a representation of the will of the people with
the power to make laws. Vox populi is only heeded when the powers
that be feel threatened by it.

> For
> example, although there are now "equal rights" bills passed through parliament,
> it is obvious that there are still many people who do not respect that law. There
> are still racists, sexists, etc out there, not obeying such laws. These memes,
> therefor, have not been killed successfully by the making of law. How can these
> memes be mutated, or eliminated, to ensure harmony?

Give them time. Viewed over a significant timescale (decades) these
memes have less potency than they did. Be wary about thinking that
their power will continue to wane though, pendulum effects play a
part and for any given meme-pair there may not exist an attractor to
provide a point of equilibrium (I like to think that for the
important ones there is; that's why they're important)

> Any thoughts on the subject out there?

Will those do? ;)

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A ripple in a shithole may also be a welcome sign of change. Dejan Vucinic