virus: Re: virus-digest V1 #120

Ken Pantheists (
Tue, 24 Dec 1996 01:46:29 +0000

John Schneider wrote:

By "better resembling hard science", I merely mean that I would like for
really 'do' something. Put a man on the moon, so to speak.

I agree. And I see that memetics is already doing something. It is
affecting the way media are perceived by people who know about memetics.

This is changing the way people use media.

I am applying memetics to theatre and teaching a workshop for my
students at a theatre arts centre and a college where I work.

In fact, I would venture to say ( without trying to sound self
important) that the poeople best equipped to use memetics are those
involved in creating content for media-- those that write cultural texts
and make it their life's work to be aware of how those texts interact
and influence individuals and cultures.

people are trying to
'make stuff happen' there. It may be sensationalist, but if it could
actually yield results.... I am always interested in results, and even
the possibility of results.
What's sensationalist?

There is a sensationalist body of baroque art that relies upon 'soft
porn' images to portray the visions of St. Teresa and the rapturous
beauty of heaven.

There is a long history in western culture of denying the information of
the body and the "senses" and mistrusting it as fleeting, mercurial and
inconstant. It is a sad inheritance from Calvin and Cromwell. (Probably
others too)

My hackles got up when I read posts that (literally) said that work such
as mine is worthless unless it meets the approval of one person's value
system-- and a value system that is poorly defined to boot. I am not a
gullible sensationalist. If what I do is not scientific by your's or
another person's definition then you have a right to express that

But to assume that "nothing is being done" and to take the job away and
get some "real men in here who can" is well, kind of hard to take. I
spend a lot of my free time on this list and I come to it with a genuine
interest. I don't want to have to leave it thinking that I have nothing
to contribute because I am not a scientist. -- even though XYZ suggest I
can become one.-- maybe I don't.

But XYZ does raise a
question with, "Where are the results?" That's why I refrain from
memetics 'science'.
Well, maybe it is a philosophy then. Existentialism has results. Post
modern theory has results. Both have radically changed a technology we
use every day-- language. Heck- we even think in language. Granted the
technology is not as materialistic as "a better rocket engine" and as
far as "putting someone on the moon goes"--- well that has to do with
what you consider to be a sense of place. The moon is a place, surely,
but are there not semantic "places" as well?

<snip> so someone like XYZ has every right to come along and call it a
fad; (of
course, I think he went too far in his denunciation, but I've buried
hatchet already)

XYZ has every right to every word s/he has written. S/he also has every
right to the flack it has garnered. The art of good arguement often
requires one to see things from another person's perspective. If someone
uses the tactic of blocking, absolutely, another perspective-- well,
does one need to go further?

Anyway, so my question should have gone more like:
"Can we use memetics to make sound predictions governing any objective
experimental situations?"
I am assuming that you can, and since there are people on this list who
know how to put something like that together-- I would say "of course!"

What experiment do you want to do?

ME:.... but we
> would only be propogating the very behaviour we seek to analyse--
> memetic engineering.

JOHN:Isn't it kinda hard NOT to?

It is hard not to, but doing it from an unconsciously driven impulse
such as "to gain the approval of an invisible community" is not a good
practice if you want to understand how memes work.

> Example:"Let's make our discussion about round things more appealing to
> billiards players" Well, You've just created a list that discusses
> billiard balls.

Bad analogy. If you discuss memetics by using billiard balls examples,
then you are discussing memetics. If we discuss memetics aesthetically,
then we are discussing memetics. If we discuss it scientifically, then
it is still memetics.

I know. But language defines groups and the memes that infect the
groups. Language is used to focus your audience in the media. When you
write a concept and bible for a television series your primary concern
is A) demographics B) sponsors c) style and content. All of them need to
work together as a "shaped charge" (my favourite little expression--)

If you "market yourself" without considering how you are doing it. you
are making a meme faux pas.

And if it to reduce stress on your ideas, to narrow your group to
members that think mostly like you-- then it is just laziness, ;).

That is why I feel I cannot judge XYZ for his/her point of view, but I
can judge him or her for the abrasiveness and the purposeful (I feel)
obfuscation of the matters at hand.

They are just different fourier transforms of
memetics. Darn! Now I've gone and brought fourier analysis into it...

Don't be a miser!;) what's fourier analysis?

> Can you not understand the ironic component of the Church of Virus????
Yes! Can you? You do need some 'truth' with your 'useful', whether you
like it or not. (Just as XYZ needs some 'useful' with his/her 'truth',
regardless of his/her predisposition about it.)

My charge was shaped to blow up at XYZ (not you) who purposefully sees
things ONLY in black or white. IMHO, once an arguement descends to one
person calling us a new age fad and alludes to the name "Church of
Virus" as proof of this-- as if are brainwashing people like a church
does-- I have to say that they have purposefully disregarded the irony
of the statement. (When it is actually very blatant.) It is liek someone
taking something you said sarcastically and using it against you. (But
you said, "Oh, I *LOVE* liver and onions! You did! I heard you!!"

> Has logic completely castrated your ability to do the phasing between
> true/false that irony requires? Can you not read it?
Ouch! I ask the same of you, as above.

Again, said to XYZ for the above reasons.

And yes, I consider myself a student of irony. One of my areas is
unstable texts in gothic literature. Doesn't make me a Sartre, but I
like to think I have honed my skills at identifying and ironic texts and
how they work.

But the statement was meant fot you-know-who

It was not intended as such. The post was, after all, directed at XYZ,
in hopes of directing our discussion towards a constructive as opposed
destructive path, by appealing to and building upon the parts of his
ments that actually did appeal to me. You just rejected my attempt to
that, and now you are leading back towards the destrutive path.

Well, I'm sorry if I have done this. But to my perception, you were
jumping through XYZ's hoop.

I think one of the most destructive behaviours in any group is to
introduce elitism. It is a divide-and-conquer tactic. Many people turned
on Richard when he introduced "Level 3", thinking of it as an elitism.
Those that agreed that they could "see" the three level model were
accused of "calling themselves Level 3" and holding themselves up above
the rest.

I don't intend this to be a personal attack on you, it is just an
explanation of my position.

When someone comes into a group that discusses "the sky" and says things

"Well, it's not blue enough for me."
"No, still not blue enough."
"You are so naive for thinking it's blue. *I* know blue and that's not

And say, people start looking at each other saying "Hmm, well frank and
shelia have always been a little colour blind----"

That's not constructive. It's just bending to a negative use of

Ken Pantheists

"The opposite of a trivial truth is false;
the opposite of a great truth is also true."

-Niels Bohr