Re: Tolerance was Re: Hello !?

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue 11 Feb 2003 - 03:28:39 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Mind Viruses and Potential Hosts"

    At 09:25 PM 10/02/03 +0100, you wrote:

    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: <>
    > > It is paradoxical, but nevertheless true, that they only thing that the
    > > tolerant person must find intolerable is the intolerance of others.
    >Hi Joe,
    >Yes, I just want to add the following,
    >Tolerance relates to a personal attitude_ it is a noble, well- meant
    >gesture of individualistic people. Therefor you see how political
    >plans of actions always emphasize the individualistic side of the matter.
    >But that ain 't what I wanna to say.
    >If thus tolerance relates indeed to individualism and thus is lets say
    >a ' memetical attitude' than there is a relation between what tolerance
    >stands for and what we call ' free will '.

    I don't think you want to hang hang any argument on "free will." In Memes, Metamemes and Politics (1988) I discussed the metameme of tolerence.

    "There are other defenses against the uncritical acceptance of potentially dangerous memes. Most common is the trait of rejecting all newfangled ideas,where "newfangled" is usually defined as any to which one has not been exposed before puberty. Societies have similar defenses against new ideas. There are also powerful meta-memes, that is, memes used to judge other memes. Of these,the scientific method is perhaps the most effective. Logic is another system by which memes can be tested, at least for consistency.

    "In historical times a meta-meme of tolerance (especially religious tolerance)has emerged in western culture. This is a remarkable event, since memes inducing tolerance to other memes would be expected to lose in the competition for mind space to memes which induce intolerance to other beliefs. Within small, isolated social groups, this is still the case.

    "But in larger cultural ecosystems, when traders come with obnoxious ideas and customs, but desirable goods, at least limited tolerance is a requirement if any trading is to be done. There were many other factors in the development of modern western tolerance such as the Renaissance and the indecisive religious wars that swept back and forth across Europe. Still, the advantage of trading goods may have been the primary force at work in the memetic ecosystem which caused many belief systems to adopt a tolerant-toward-other-beliefs component. Cooperative behavior is known to spontaneously emerge from groups (even groups at war) when certain conditions are present. Free trade may be similarly linked to the emergence of the meta-meme of tolerance, and in turn to the respectability of free thought. Testing these speculations would require rating the trade/tolerance of many groups and seeing if there is (or was) correlation.

    Incidentally, David Brin discussed the contradictions of tolerance in his Dogma of Otherness, where tolerance itself has become a religious dogma.

    I went looking for a URL for that article and I found this:

    "The jury is still out whether the tolerance meme -- or other-fetishism -- is really any saner than older, paranoiac ways. No tribe ever before had the guts to make tolerance and individualism paramount themes, especially in the messages they feed the young and poor and powerless. Traditionally, the aristocracy would rally those below by pointing to some outside threat, thus making conformity a principal virtue. The whole existence of many tribes was based upon "It's them against us, and us should win."

    "No guarantees.

    "And yet, I know where I stand. My preference cannot help coming out in my writing. Not just a shaman or an entertainer, I'm also a propagandist in this war. I'd like to think that people come away from my books feeling just a little more tolerant than before, or a little more eager for change and diversity in the future of this world.

    "In fact, I think that we should go forth and crush every other worldview that doesn't promote tolerance! "


    Keith Henson

    >We are tolerant because we like it to be_ that is debatable, but of
    >no concern here, I suppose.( If we take the meme- meme point
    >of view it is a whole different matter....)
    >On the other hand, if_ in the context of the immigrants, their look
    >upon freedom is blurded by thus what is known as ' positive free-
    >dom' than we can detect a big difference.
    >There is a fundamental contra- distinction between our take on
    >free will and their notion of free will, clearly defined within an
    >imposed framework ( religion).
    >IMO, like I said before, it is their ways of thinking that makes
    >them angry/ upset and intolerant towards our ways of life.
    >Of course, if we say that we're biased, either society, ours
    >and theirs is not pointed at_ that is something we don 't ought
    >to do.
    >Tolerance, intolerance, racism are results of fundamental political/
    >social/ cultural processes gone wrong/ bad.
    >The matter is that with the notion that immigrants have to adapt
    >to be fully integrated you ' break ' their own ' will '_ you put
    >them once again within an imposed framework that in many
    >ways is just the opposite of the one they already posses.
    >This is not a matter of integration, this is a question of ideology.
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue 11 Feb 2003 - 03:45:05 GMT