Re: Memes For Peace

From: Bruce Howlett (
Date: Sun 09 Mar 2003 - 21:00:06 GMT

  • Next message: Jeremy Bradley: "Re: Memes For Peace"

    Thanks Jorge.

    The scientific methodology requires some level of agreement on definitions, to which this list could be of considerable assistance. Of late it seems the word "meme" is being applied to any mental activity which then makes discussing memes a very generalised debate on the human condition. Rather pointless.


    Bruce Howlett

    ----- Original Message -----
      From: Jorge Simão
      Sent: Monday, March 10, 2003 5:20 AM
      Subject: Re: Memes For Peace

      Yes, Bruce you made the point. But who has the biggest responsability that some people (such as Bryan) think that "memetic engineering" is some new scientific method?

      My guess is that alot of it is in the memetics community, which as not even able to convey the simple message that: "memetics" is just a particular family of operationalization to the fuzzier concept of *culture* (at least to outsiders).

      Conflating *models* with the *thing* has been probably the most damaging effects of some memetics discussions. But then again, this it also a common problem and practice in all the social sciences.

      Jorge Simão.

      Bruce Howlett wrote:

        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.
        Regards, 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)

      :o) Jorge Paulo Ferreira Simao {} :o)
      PhD Student at Computer Science Department, FCT / New University of Lisbon;
      Addresses: (office) Departamento de Informática, FCT/UNL, Quinta da Torre, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal; Phones: (office) +351 21 294 8536; (home) +351 21 0812096; (celular) +351 966850710; Faxes: (office) +351 21 294 8541; HomePage:

    =============================================================== 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:

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