RE: The Status of Memetics as a Science

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 23:49:23 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: RE: The Status of Memetics as a Science
    Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 18:49:23 -0400
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    >From: TJ Olney <>
    >Subject: RE: The Status of Memetics as a Science
    >Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 11:56:26 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
    >On Sun, 22 Apr 2001, Scott Chase wrote:
    > > Is marketing, sales, promotion, propaganda, advertizing or whatver
    > > going to become even more virulent due to the presence of the concept of
    > > memetics? People have been doing those sorts of things for years sans
    > > "memetic engineering". I fail to see any ethical crisis. Used car
    > > salespeople will still be used car salespeople (annoying local run
    > > commercials and all). Could knowledge of "memetic engineering"
    > > make televangelism any worse than it has been already?
    >I suggest that we have a classic case of two names for the same thing
    >here. There in no practical difference between the design of communication
    >for promotion of products, services, or ideas and "mimetic engineering."
    >What memetics provides is a meta-framework for looking at these as special
    >cases of a more general transmission of information patterns from mind to
    >mind. As part of this, it provides a new way to look at what happens to
    >these intentional (see Fog) messages once they have begun distribution. An
    >interesting thing that happens sometimes in the advertising world is that
    >"creatives" come up with extremely potent copy, they know it is potent, but
    >they can't tell you why.
    > >
    > > For politics, Niccolo Machiavelli scooped "memetic engineers" by several
    > > years at least.
    >An interesting aside on Machiavelli; there is a feminist analysis of "The
    >Prince" interpreting it as a sarcastic piece written for a disliked patron
    >with the intent of telling him what to do that would be sure to make him
    >unpopular and create more enemies for himself.
    >One policy prescription from memetics might involve creating a non-cynical
    >book of advice, "The Statesman" that could serve as a foundation for a
    >politics of "stewardship and responsibility" rather than power and rule.
    >course, the tome would have to be written with potent memes to compete with
    >"The Prince." Any takers?
    I started second guessing what I was thinking about Machiavelli after I
    posted that above there. Brodie linked the designer mind viruses with
    Machiavelli in my mind upon my recent read...has history been unkind to
    Machiavelli? His name carries some dark connotations. One could actually use
    such craftpersonship for good ends too. It's been a long while since I
    seriously delved into Machiavelli so I reserve judgement. I did manage to
    secure a copy of Dick Morris's _The *New* Prince_ recently. Morris was
    affiliated with Bill Clinton for a while and probably knows a thing or two
    about politics. I've got _The Prince_ and _The Discourses_ handy, but dunno
    if I can dig too deep with so many things going at one time.

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