Henson on the Nazi meme

From: Scott Chase (osteopilus@yahoo.com)
Date: Fri 25 Mar 2005 - 22:14:02 GMT

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    Somebody named Keith Henoson wrote an article called
    "Memetics: the science of information viruses" which appeared in the Winter 1987 edition of _Whole Earth Review_. During the course of his article Henson looks at the "Nazi meme complex". I've been sort of interested in what gave rise to Naziism in pre-WWII Germany, but have only scratched the surface in my readings on Ernst Haeckel's monism, the volkishness that captivated many including Jung, the Wotan archetype Jung commented upon which points to underpinnings in Nordic mythology, and as an effect of that movement Nobel winning ethologist Konrad Lorenz's questionable association with the brown shirts and writings on racial hygiene. Some antecedents, including Nietzsche's writings on ubermenschen and will to power as transmitted by his sister to the Reich could be considered "sub-memes" (sensu Henson). Yet this topic is way beyond my knowledge base.

    Henson says: "As a replicating information pattern that has gone through a great deal of evolutionary honing, it [Nazi meme] still infects susceptible people today."

    After that tragic school shooting in Minnesota, people have been wondering what led to that event. See:


    There's lots of threads apparent here and the FBI is trying to get to the bottom of it as far as motive. It's hard to distinguish cause from effect, just as with Columbine. The kid had some ersonal tragedies to contend with wrt his mom and dad. He apparently has been on anti-depressants which have been alleged to have negative side effects. There's a movie called
    "Elephant" which has come into the picture which might have some content that converges with the events at the school. The kid was sort of gothish. I'm not sure goth can be blamed. That could be more of an effect than a cause as kids with issues might be drawn into a subculture like goth. Hey, I personally like bands like "The Cure" and "Nine Inch Nails" and I'm not wearing black hair or fingernails and such. Even people whom adpot that lifestyle are probably, ceteris parabis, not much different than anyone else.

    One thread that has caught my attention was a Nazi undercurrent to the ideational baggage this kid carried around. Recent news stories about his blogs and such have addressed this. Yet, is a fascination for Naziism and Hitler a cause or an effect here?

    With school shootings hitting the headlines from time to time and artists like Marilyn Manson taking flak along with voilent video games, I think it's important when speculating about what led to these events to separate cause and effect.

    So what Keith said looks like it's supported by the facts in this case. A susceptible person may have been taken in by Naziism. But Did this fascination with Hitler and National Socialism contribute significantly to the events at the school or was this fascination a collateral effect just like a tendency towards Goth may have been?

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