Re: memetics-digest V1 #1031

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Sun Apr 28 2002 - 21:10:50 BST

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    Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #1031
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    Hi Lawrence
    > Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 01:24:20 -0400
    > From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <>
    > Subject: RE: memetics-digest V1 #1023
    > Greetings, Steve,
    > If I follow the metaphor accurately, I think it is possible to open the box
    > without letting an out-of-control capability leap out and follow its own
    > head in spreading beyond. Thus, I think, tools may be available to those who
    > develop them for themselves, without the tools being replicated or
    > disseminated.
    I disagree here. A technology or tool may be developed by one person or
    group with one application in mind, but can be taken and used in a way not
    envisaged by it's creator(s). Davy invented the safety lamp to help save
    explosions and deaths in the pits. The result was the pits went deeper and
    people died of roof fall etc instead.
    Once a tool is created it is available for anyone to copy or steal
    > But this has an enormous downside: we don't get the progress we could had we
    > open technical discussions, nor do we see the tools disseminated to others
    > who might accomplish good with them.
    > I wrestle with these questions quite a bit, as it is one of the stated
    > objectives of my organization to develop and disseminate tools (meaning
    > management and cognitive tools) as widely as possible. I have a personal
    > position on this that I am maintaining for now, which I explain from time to
    > time on this list for what it is worth, but it provides no long-term
    > solution. Of course, people have wrestled with this issue throughout
    > history, I imagine. Generally, the stuff that works gets out. And then we
    > have a few counter-examples, that leave us wondering at what benefits to
    > humankind have been 'protected' only to be lost when their 'owners' died,
    > e.g. Tesla.
    > I would be very interested in your own ruminations on this.
    > Best regards,
    > Lawrence

    Not withstanding my disagreement with Wade about our levels of bloodlust in
    humanity, I do think as a species we do tend to screw up everything we do
    with the best of intentions, mostly. Once something has been created it
    takes a life of its own in a way. Like memes, technology and theories change
    as different people encounter them.

    Each new Pandora's box we open (and we will!) brings with it things we could
    not envisage. What works may not always be beneficial.


    >> -----Original Message-----
    >> From: []On Behalf
    >> Of Steve Drew
    >> Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 5:18 PM
    >> To:
    >> Subject: RE: memetics-digest V1 #1023
    >> Hi Lawrence
    >>> Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 09:57:57 -0400
    >>> From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <>
    >>> Subject: RE: memetics-digest V1 #1023
    >>>> Steve Drew:
    >>>> I think [advertisers] have learned the 'cruder' techniques such as the
    >>> 'sex sells'
    >>>> example you mentioned. I don't think it is because they are
    >> that good, but
    >>>> that they stick to ones that have been useful in the past. The
    >>>> problem they
    >>>> face is that everyone's responses are different, and IMO they have not
    >>>> developed enough ideas on how to overcome this yet, but if
    >> they do then I
    >>>> agree that things could get rough.
    >>> And that is one of the reasons we should be wary of turning
    >> memetics into a
    >>> technology and releasing it publicly. I consider this list a
    >> public forum.
    >>> Lawrence
    >> It is indeed. Unfortunately Pandora is still around, and so are the people
    >> who would open the box, including me and thee?
    >> Regards
    >> Steve

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