Re: virus: Re: virus-digest V1 #110

Dave Pape (
Thu, 12 Dec 1996 01:03:48 GMT

At 13:55 11/12/96 +0000, you wrote:
>Hi David Pape:
>Welcome to the list

Cheers sir!

>David Pape wrote:
>Richard, I disagree with your claim that sometimes we human beings can
>"think for ourselves" and that sometimes "we are sheep". In saying that
>yourself can appraise and reject memes connected with advertising or
>decadence" but that others can't, you take a narrow view of memes'
>on your decisions.
>Richard never actually wrote that. He wrote;
>>I would like to believe that we can think for ourselves. And yet, the
>>statistics show us that as a group we are sheep. Although from my point
>>of view I see myself taking in information, sorting through it, and
>>making my own choices, when we have a thousand of us or a million or
>>five billion, we behave predictably as a result of the advertisers'
>What I see Richard as pointing out is that even though we (I'm fairly
>sure he
>includes himself in there) see ourselves as being selective and
>discriminating about the information we receive, in truth we are not.
>And our behaviour changes when the forum changes from a couple of people
>to one billion.

Yes, I see what you're getting at. Sorry if this is the case Richard. I took
the interpretation that Richard was distinguishing his OWN abilities to
resist the influence of memes from other people's. If he confesses to being
100% out of control of the memes/ideas in his brain, I'll retract. ;-)

>Things like brand loyalty are documentable behaviours in this century.


>I know you already know this, but this has totally to do with the media
>and it's portrayal of the fictional Joneses.
>If I buy store brand cola I have to serve it to guests with an apology "
>I have cola-- but it's not Coke, it's the store
>So I'm buying Coke for the christmas traffic.
>Richard is pointing to the behaviour of the media. It gives us the
>ILLUSION of choice with taste
>tests and cola wars-- but in the end we fold like paper. Look at the
>choices we've really given ourselves-- TWO. Out of the whole world of
>things to drink we identify ourselves as The Real Thing or the Pepsi

But... my point is that, whether we "choose" between two Colas, or 60 Colas
and drinking from puddles, there's really no choice at all because what we
perceive as "choice" arises purely from some set of ideas/memes winning
control over our body (which, in the end, executes our actions). And the
memetic processing proceeds according to evolutionary forces.

>you wrote:
>If you believe in non-manipulation of thought, how do you justify
>your own ideas in your website and newsletter? Aren't you trying to make
>think like you? Aren't your memes trying to attack your readers'
>belief-spaces, just like Coke's? I think the only stance for the true
>memeticist is to be non-prescritive, to play down their emotional
>to particular memes, and to admit that s/he is nothing more than memes
>ideas, which will try and gain neural resource from other memes/ideas.
>I don't think many people here believe in the non manipulation of
>thought. What, I think, we do believe in is that one can develop the
>skills to have a stronger "hand" in manipulating their own thoughts.

Can you? What ARE those skills? Aren't they just other meme-structures, just
as much in control of your actions as the old, Coke-fixated ideas were?

>Forgive me if I am being harsh with your point of view. But your true
>memeticist is a bit of an isolationist.

By "isolationalist" do you mean "someone who doesn't want to pass ideas on
to someone else"? Because if you do, then my answer to that point is...

Nope. The true memeticist doesn't necessarily say "well, what I think are
only memes, so I won't bother imposing them on others because I think
they're no more valid than what the Other already thinks". S/he MIGHT... but
then s/he might also say: "Okay, I'm just a collection of memes. And
WOOOAAAAHHHH, these particular memes are driving me to my modem! Woah, look
at them go, I just can't stop transmitting!" Either response is equally
valid. I deploy both strategies depending on my social situation and mood.

>When one educates, there is a
>memetic infection, certainly, but the goal of education is to teach
>people to teach themselves-- to make them aware of their potential.

Disagree here. I did a teacher-training course, and left because the
over-riding reality of the classroom was not the high educational
principles, but hammering mathematical and geographical memes into the kids'
heads... and also teaching them that they are not the only person in the
world, that others have to have a go at the attention and resources too.

The test would be to ask people at the end of school to rate their
potential. I certainly have no idea about what I might do during my life. I
might earn loads, write TV shows, become a respected memeticist even, or I
might mess up my current dayjob, get sacked, become alcoholic... I kind of
suspect it all depends on things other than me.

>How can someone do that if they are second guessing themselves-- hoping that
>they aren't infecting people?

True... but...

>Certainly people can be non prescriptive and still educate.

... but I think you can recognise that you are not "right", that all your
opinions are just received memes and their interaction in your brain, and
still carry on transmitting your memes quite happily.

Because for the last x-ten-thousand years, people have been receiving memes,
those memes have interacted in their brains, and those people have produced
a memetic output. I don't see why I shouldn't do the same, just because I
see what I think as memes rather than The Truth.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose (The more things change, the more
it's a meme thing)

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