Re: The Status of Memetics as a Science

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 15:32:18 BST

  • Next message: Vincent Campbell: "RE: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics"

    Received: by id OAA24970 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Mon, 23 Apr 2001 14:57:42 +0100
    Message-ID: <000b01c0cc02$51be49c0$f600bed4@default>
    From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
    To: <>
    References: <>
    Subject: Re: The Status of Memetics as a Science
    Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 16:32:18 +0200
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
    X-Priority: 3
    X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
    X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2314.1300
    X-MIMEOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2314.1300
    Precedence: bulk

    From: Trupeljak Ozren <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2001 8:43 PM
    Subject: Re: The Status of Memetics as a Science

    Hi Trupeljak, you wrote,
    > Why would the release of knowledge of "meme-engineering" lead to
    > greater diversity of existant memes? Well, from the simple fact that
    > you would have many more nodes of replication that would mutate memes
    > on purpose, not just by accident or "flashes of inspiration", and with
    > far more knowledge of what the results might be.

    Indeed, you would have more engineered memes for all the good causes
    you want, nomore accidents and with far more knowledge of what the
    result might be.
    In a way we discussed this on the thread ' Determinism ', where I argumen-
    tated that reducing any kind of choise reduces freedom and therefor we
    gonna get in trouble with some ethical aspects of the problem.
    I am gonna do here just the same, I understand that replicating memes for
    the good cause is a honorable thing to do, but IMO you will destroy in the
    same process the genetic and memetical differences which do exist be-
    tween and among people.
    You will destroy, in the name of what kind result you want to obtain,
    certain amounts of " human quality "_ intentionality is one, free will and
    spontaneity are others.
    You make of meme- engineering and the replication of mutated memes
    a quantative factor where IMO it has to be a qualitative one.

    > In a way, by being exposed to more, and better crafted,
    > memes, we can raise the immunity to truly virulent ones just by
    > constant exposure. Fanaticism of any kind might become a rather small
    > and isolated phenomenon, unlike today...that might be good. :)

    << Indeed again, but from my point of view not very ethical !
    In a way is this ethically a sound argument !? To reduce fanaticism might
    be good, but again from my individual point of view that would lead to
    a more ideological structure of society.
    You say it yourself in the next paragraph,and you do make here a point,
    and I like this view, but if we should, and we must, accept the principles
    of evolution as our ethical system, than we include also our genetical and
    memetical design and that is a very good thing to do.

    Don 't forget notions like ' my genes made me do it ', may be nowadays
    sound stupid but in a sense those are already part of our legal system.
    The notion, at least here in Belgium ', of " having an irresistable urge "
    to kill, to commit fraud etc is often seen as a bias for acquittal.
    If we could find more genes and why not meme((s)complexes) to
    substain such a position in court I think we should !
    And those notions are already applied succesfully in the USA.

    In a way, by not using the principles of evolution as our ethical system,
    you deny people their birthrights, whatever they may be and whatever
    kind of behavior they include !!
    Of course, and I do understand, we can 't let people running loose who
    will commit murder every time they see a good looking female passing
    by. So, in order to solve the problem, I already suggested on this
    list,possible solutions like Holodeck- technology and cyber dolls like Kyoto
    Date and
    Lara Croft to act as substitutes for the real thing. And there again,
    problems have to be dealt with.

    Another possibility is the launch of " sensitive campagnes " whereby
    information is supplied to the public concerning those problems we' ll
    have to solve. This demands a greater linkage of the public to the
    society they are living in, mush more than nowadays, and again in this
    we' ll be confronted with specific problems.
    Memetics can help, on the one hand you can change people by affecting
    their perceptions ( and than you will be confronted by the ethical aspects
    of the problem) and on the other hand you can change the technology
    by which memes of that kind get distributated. Again, ethics are just
    around the corner.
    IMO, you have to deal with the following,
    If you want a certain stability in your society you can accomplish that in
    two ways,
    1) by force and you will have no problem with ethics whatsoever, or
    2) by linking principles of evolution, genetic and memetic, to our ethical

    If you choose for the last, and I think you do, ethics will be always
    And than, IMO, you have to leave fanaticism where it is at, the only thing
    you can do is to change people's perception and that is anyway a process
    which will take a long time....

    > again, I might be discovering warm water. But I was provoked by the
    > discussion on ethics of releasing the knowledge of how the human mind
    > is manipulated to the general public. If we extoll the principles of
    > evoultion to be the elegant truth behind our existence, why should we
    > not accept them as our ethical system, too?



    ( I am, because we are) complex systems

    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 archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Apr 23 2001 - 15:04:38 BST