Re: virus: Re:virtuality

Alex Williams (
Tue, 31 Dec 1996 09:35:11 -0500 (EST)

> Neither am I :) I just wanted to point out that *if* that proof could
> be given, then it would impact on memetics quite seriously.

We need to distinguish between `memetics,' the field of the study of
memes and `memetics,' the actual environment of memes hosted by one or
more entities. I, following Atkins' lead, have been refering to the
latter as `memesphere' in the past and it seems to cut down on

The memess of those who possess the new meme "the world is virtual"
would undergo radical change, possibly; the study of memetics,
however, would be unaffected.

> Heh, OK, that's not exactly what I meant. I was saying that pain itself is
> not damaging (Of course, I guess that it depends on the quantity of the pain,
> I suppose a heart attack could occur if there is too much for the body to cope
> with). In the instance of torture, I would argue that the causing of pain to
> a "real" body cannot be undamaging. Chinese water torture causes brain damage
> (I think :), Electric shocks of a high enough amperage kill braincells and
> nerve cells, sticking knives in people severs flesh, etc etc....

I can give you electric shocks that you'd find quite unpleasant for
long periods of time without any physical harm befalling you. If we
really want to agonize you, we can put a couple of electrodes down in
your cortical centers and then by applying a tiny little amperage
you'll be in serious pain thanks to stimulating your pain centers.
Then there are other kinds of fun tortures that put you in no physical
contact with the torment at all, like throwing you out of your house,
onto the street with the dogs and destroying all that you held to have
emotional value. Even if you /do/ know the entirety of existance is
virtual, you're now dirty, grungy, and living on the street, homeless.
If we /really/ have time and want you to suffer, we kidnap you and
addict you to some drug in the process, something that doesn't harm
your body just causes massive withdrawal.

There are many ways of causing pain to a person. In the end, virtual
or not, their existance won't be a bright and cheery one.

> Sadly, human frailties have made that impossible. I admit, I would *never*
> know whether such a belief is faith or fact, but I do know that I would
> not act on such shaky grounds if it were me in thier shoes.

So, not only can you not act as if existance were virtual /now/, you
can't /even if/ you were jacked out, shown around the `virtual games
center' and plugged back in. Since, thus, there is no way to prove
the point it must be moot. :)

> And if you look at the things religion makes people do, then it doesn't seem
> that far fetched, either, does it?

We just don't know and probably can't know. Not a question for
science to address, but perhaps a question for memetics to address, in
how they came to possess those memes and where they mutated or were
translated from.

> There would also be a group of people who would be thinking "Hmmm, OK, we're
> inside this virtual world, generated by a computer. Can we do any of the
> following:
> 1) Escape into the 'real' world?
> 2) Move into other virtual worlds if they exist?
> 3) Change the programme for our own world?
> 4) Create our own 'perfect' world to live in?"
> Those are the people who would be most memetically affected by such a situation.

How do these people differ from the religious fanatics of today?

1) Know the mind of God.
2) Go to Heaven.
3) Have God grant their prayers.
4) Enjoin the Apocalypse and bring about Heaven-on-Earth.