Re: Memes For Peace

From: Bruce Howlett (
Date: Sun 09 Mar 2003 - 10:53:12 GMT

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    While I tend to agree with Joe on the humanitarian aspect of the Iraq situation, there are other issues implicit in the wording of Bryan's post which cause concern. The least not being the concept of "memetic engineering", which I think is an oxymoron. Even the opposing forces within the memetics definition debate agree that a meme is a cultural unit. Is not culture the conglomerate of inherited ideas, beliefs, values and knowledge? Have not all attempts to overtly "engineer" culture failed? I think what Bryan is contemplating is more correctly termed a cult - a quasi-religious organisation using psychological techniques to gain and control adherents. While memetics is seductive by its ability to provide insight into the illogical and normally inexplicable aspects of human behaviour, it is not a manipulative tool. Even the advertising spin doctors can only hope that their carefully crafted images and words may produce a memetic event.

    The most useful tool for understanding current world situation is systems theory relating to competition and cooperation. So who gains and who loses? Why are the French and German leaders so opposed to the Americans intervening? What about Korea? Do you really think that this is just about "weapons-of-mass-destruction"? As usual it is about economics, but that does not mean there are any simple answers.

    "Peace" is a convenient concept for those of us on the inside of a comfortable western lifestyle that gives us a reasonable amount of free choice, but even that depends on how wealthy you are.

    Bryan, I think you deal mainly in the realm of paranoia. The give-away is the tag line in your signature block, "Government secrets/biological weapons/human subjects". I don't think you will get much support from the users of this list.


    Bruce Howlett

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Bryan Thompson
      Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2003 5:29 PM
      Subject: Memes For Peace

      Hi everyone. I have started a new group dedicated to use Memetic
      Engineering to spread peace and stop an imminent war on Iraq. It's address
      is at We may also discuss
      politics, Sociology and Psychology, Neuro-linguistic programming, culture
      jamming and any other topic that interests you. We will also discuss how
      memes affect the news media and how people in power and the media use memes
      and other concepts to portray an event. If any of these things interest
      you, please check it out! Thank you.

      Bryan Thompson
      Living Proof - Berkley paperback - March 2003
      Government secrets/biological weapons/human subjects

      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)

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