Re: Email virus spreads memetically

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Thu May 31 2001 - 13:12:49 BST

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    From: Chris Taylor <>
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    > Because, yes, I view chain mail propagation as a mark of gullibility.

    Yeah - there are certainly some 'hard-of-everything' types out there (I
    have known people who have bought things because the label said
    'quality' in what was to me a simple trademark (e.g. 'Quality Clothing
    Ltd.' etc.).

    However, some of this (especially for chain letters) is fear, akin to
    the kinds of secret wagers kids engage in (e.g. if I don't beat that car
    past that street light, my whole family will die etc. etc.). Chain
    letters either (a) scare you (as the kid does itself) with something you
    don't know, so hey, why not comply because the effort of compliance is
    far outweighed by the 'risk' - there's a good tradeoff to study - how
    easy to do, versus how scary not to do; (b) do you a favour that you'd
    want to for do others; (c) appeal to your greed (pyramid schemes).
    Religions go for (a) and (b) mostly, plus peer pressure. Actually
    Jehovahs go for (c) - recruit to make it to heaven, with an all-time
    hall of fame.

    Ignorance is fear, and fear is very useful, so I don't hate these
    people; we just need Symantec to start warning us about culture (seeing
    as we didn't believe Hume, Kant, Marshall McLuhan (spelled..?), blah
    blah blah).

    I think it all comes back to one principle: Something is better than
    In organic life, after mass extinctions, you see the biggest bursts of
    novelty because there are so many gaps in the market that any old thing
    can make a living, so the most unlikely organisms survive (whoever wrote
    'survival of the fittest' soundbit all the meaning out of evolution -
    the real rule is 'survival of the *fit enough*'). In a mind, any
    explanation will do if it's the best on offer, be it (mis)interpretation
    of visual cues, or rationalising weird shit; our brains just stick with
    the best so far.

    So in comes religion with it's half-arsed worldview, but a helluva son
    et lumiere...

     Chris Taylor ( »people»chris

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