RE: virus: Response to Zander

Richard Brodie (
Thu, 12 Dec 1996 13:04:58 -0800

Zander wrote:

>I read your opinion of the Level-2 mind only as you communicate it,
>which seems to partake of a certain level (excuse the pun) of
>condescention. Telling someone you've labeled Level-2 to `look at it
>from Level-3' would appear to be condescention of the highest order,
>akin to my suggesting to a technical novice `OK, now pretend you're an
>expert.' It doesn't help get them there, it just rubs in their face
>that they're not.

Well, since you don't believe in Level 3, you're hardly an authority on
how to get there. I try to force people into lateral thinking by setting
up cognitive dissonance with the imperfections inherent in a Level-2
world view. I'm eager to learn better ways. Stephen?
>> > You apply the concept of
>> >relativism to all arguments but your own. That would seem to proclaim
>> >it loud enough, wouldn't you think?
>> Once again, I state many times in both my books that these are models,
>> not Truth.
>But you /state/ them as unequivocable Truth and defend them from the
>PoV of defending obvious Truths and not mutable theories, or so it
>seems from over here.

[sound of head beating against brick wall]
>You defended by suggesting that perhaps, if you suggested that you
>confused the theory of your Levels for the Truth, it was dichotomous
>at the intellectual and emotional/subconscious level. I riposited
>that it would seem to be equally valid to suggest you consciously
>present the image you do; the implication being that you do so
>consciously to confuse your questioners.

But I don't do it at all. Nothing I say is the Truth, especially the
Levels model. Funny no matter how many times I tell you that, you don't
hear it.
>> It's up to each conscious person to decide which memes he wants to
>> propagate and which, if any, he wants to suffocate. It's unconscious,
>> militant ignorance that fuels viruses of the mind.
>An argument can /easily/ made that your Level structure is nothing
>more than another virus of the mind. Are you sure you want to level
>such a large gun at your own foot?

Alex, this whole list is ABOUT creating a virus of the mind - an
empowering, rational, conscious, atheistic religion. Part of that is
raising the consciousness of the participants.
>I can't let you slide in your unstated assumption that to not be
>obnoxious is to be unobtrusive. I like to lie to myself and suggest
>that discreet, intelligent and subtle commentary rouses the respect of
>one's peers in a way that unprofessional discourse does not. I admit,
>this may be purely illusory, but it makes me feel better to proceed
>under such assumptions in unheated discourse.

This is a great insight. You would rather adopt beliefs that give you
short-term comfort than ones that produce desired results or are more
>I've experimented with different kinds of discourse in many ways and
>fields; if you find being obnoxious is the only way you can draw
>attention to yourself and your ideas, that might be a subtle
>suggestion to re-evaluate what you're selling, as it were.

I'm actually working on becoming MORE obnoxious; my tendency is to be

> Shaw was
>not a net-minus to the field of discussion, but he did have the odd
>side effect of stiffling perfectly valid opposing viewpoints, not by
>the weight of his own but by the poignancy of his ridicule. Do we
>want to judge ideas that oppose ours by the strength of the fun they
>poke at us?

Now your getting into the memetics of rhetoric. Let's do some
experiments! This is an incredible field. Cialdini's book "Influence"
(available at the memetics bookstore is a great start.
>By the nature of Level-4, you are unable to observe how much your
>viewpoint is undifferentiated from that of the Level-2s.
>Anyone can level (another pun, I'm on a roll) unsubstantiated
>allegations at anyone they like, consisting of anyhing they like, but
>just as the Christian who says, `Alex, you just can't see how much
>better your life would be if you stopped your sinnin' ways and gave
>your life to God,' you're advocating a means of argument that plays on
>similarly empty words.

Neither set of words is at all empty. If you don't think wholeheartedly
adopting Christ as your savior would change your life, you're mistaken.
In fact shifting into a new Level 2 is often a first step toward Level
>Richard Brodie +1.206.688.8600
>CEO, Brodie Technology Group, Inc., Bellevue, WA, USA
>Do you know what a "meme" is?