Re: Memes For Peace

From: Bryan Thompson (
Date: Sun 09 Mar 2003 - 15:34:23 GMT

  • Next message: Bryan Thompson: "Re: Memes For Peace-at-the-price-of-murder, torture, oppression and slavery"

    >I think what Bryan is contemplating is more correctly termed a cult

    a cult, I wish ;). I wish I was that charismatic!

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

    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Keith Henson" <> To: <> Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2003 9:21 AM Subject: Re: Memes For Peace

    > At 09:53 PM 09/03/03 +1100, Bruce Howlett wrote:
    > (Thoughtful posting, hope you don't mind my commenting on it.)
    > >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.
    > So far, perhaps. But in analogy to the other two similar classes,
    > viruses and genetics, I think we will get memetic engineering just like we
    > have genetic engineering and "designer" computer viruses. Both depend on
    > understanding the environment of the replicators involved.
    > >Even the opposing forces within the memetics definition debate agree that
    > >a meme is a cultural unit.
    > Heh, I wish.
    > >Is not culture the conglomerate of inherited ideas, beliefs, values and
    > >knowledge?
    > I have said similar things in my articles on the subject. Values I might
    > quibble about. It is true that we learn values to some extent, but I
    > some are wired in and not learned.
    > >Have not all attempts to overtly "engineer" culture failed?
    > While I certainly agree that a lot of such attempts have failed or even
    > backfired, your statement could be falsified by one example. As a counter
    > example of overt cultural engineering, consider compulsory primary
    > education. As a measure of it failing, list the places where it is
    > required and where it is not, then compare the literacy rates for those
    > Another example might be the legal enforcement of racial discrimination in
    > the US and the opposite post WW II.
    > >I think what Bryan is contemplating is more correctly termed a cult - a
    > >quasi-religious organisation using psychological techniques to gain and
    > >control adherents.
    > Might be, though I don't completely follow your thinking. Could you
    > on this point?
    > >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.
    > Not exactly, though *any* model may be used to effectively manipulate. As
    > an example, take the models people used to figure how far an artillery
    > shell would go. These models had no effect on the shell after it left the
    > barrel, but they provided knowledge used to point the gun which *did*
    > effect where the shell landed.
    > If you had good memetic models, you could feed memes into them and reject
    > memes that don't accomplish what is desired. Ghod knows governments could
    > use such models.
    > >Even the advertising spin doctors can only hope that their carefully
    > >crafted images and words may produce a memetic event.
    > I see advertising and PR as analogous to animal and plant breeding before
    > we had knowledge of what was really going on. Memetic related theory just
    > hasn't been applied to advertising and PR yet.
    > >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.
    > Good thinking tools to be sure, but I think you are missing human nature,
    > i.e., that we are social primates with millions of years of evolution
    > pointed to successful reproduction in small tribes. Among the things that
    > drive people is far more than they appreciate is social status. And while
    > status can be a non-zero sum game, it is more often treated as zero
    > sum. If there is an area of study that will help understand human
    > motivations it is evolutionary psychology.
    > "The goal of research in evolutionary psychology is to discover and
    > understand the design of the human mind. Evolutionary psychology is an
    > approach to psychology, in which knowledge and principles from
    > biology are put to use in research on the structure of the human mind. It
    > is not an area of study, like vision, reasoning, or social behavior. It is
    > a way of thinking about psychology that can be applied to any topic within
    > "In this view, the mind is a set of information-processing machines that
    > were designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our
    > hunter-gatherer ancestors. This way of thinking about the brain, mind, and
    > behavior is changing how scientists approach old topics, and opening up
    > ones. This chapter is a primer on the concepts and arguments that animate
    > >"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.
    > True. And standing up for various human rights is not a way to a peaceful
    > life. (Put my name in Google to see why I can say this.)
    > >Bryan, I think you deal mainly in the realm of paranoia. The give-away
    > >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.
    > snip
    > >*Peace*
    > >Bryan Thompson
    > >Living Proof - Berkley paperback - March 2003
    > >Government secrets/biological weapons/human subjects
    > ><>
    > I don't understand Bryan's relation to Peter (if any) but this is an ad
    > a novel.
    > Keith Henson
    > ===============================================================
    > 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 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 : Sun 09 Mar 2003 - 15:27:49 GMT