RE: playing at suicide

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri Jan 11 2002 - 19:42:37 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: RE: playing at suicide
    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 11:42:37 -0800
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    > ><<give me an example
    > >of a meme that is NOT a tool.>>
    > >
    > >I suspect your definition of "tool" is broad enough to include
    > >but given names are a nice example of memes that spread without much
    > >to their utility to the host.
    > >
    ><<If a businessman like yourself can't see how given or any other names are
    >used to confer status and establish identity on a person or a product, you
    >must not be awake yet. ;-)> I refer you to HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND
    >INFLUENCE PEOPLE and what it has to say about names. If that's not using
    >them as a tool, I don't know what is.>>
    >When I read your response I thought you didn't bother to take the time to
    >figure out what I was driving at, but instead wrote back the first thing
    >that came to mind that you felt meshed with your theory. As a result I lost
    >some interest in the discussion.
    >You might search the archives a year or two ago for a long conversation
    >between a guy named Chuck and me, among others. He was another believer
    >utility was the sole selector of memes. He departed the list without ever
    >gaining a good understanding of the basics of memetic theory, I think. I
    >hope you have better results but you seem more interested in selling your
    >own theory than in the topic of this discussion list.


    I'm sorry to have disappointed you. I thought Dale Carnegie was very
    germane to the conversation as he teaches a course on the value of using a
    persons name to influence his behavior, which is one of the primary reasons
    why people use that meme.

    I am defending my theory because the only way to test it against other ideas
    is to defend it. My objective, though, is not to sell it, but to test it.
    The parts of it I can't defend I will discard. I did find it ironic that a
    man in business where a name is one of the most important commodities he
    owns would use that as an example of a meme that is not a tool. I'm sorry
    if my sense of irony offended you. You use your name to promote your
    busines and your ideas every day of the week. There's nothing wrong with
    that, but I feel it destroys your counter arguement. The people who use
    your name when they communicate with you are doing so with a purpose and you
    have a purpose when you put your name on your book, on your posts, on your
    mail, and on your advertisements.

    You call a man by his first name when you want him to feel you are close
    friends and you leave it out and add "Mr." when you want to display social
    distance. A salesman uses your name because he knows you will react to it
    and pay closer attention to what he is saying. It gives him a handle with
    which to manipulate you. But I feel silly having to explain it to you as I
    think you must know it already and make use of it on a daily basis. You
    are, after all, in the busines of selling.

    There are many other ways we use the name meme, but I only needed one
    example to counter your arguement. I notice you did not respond to my
    counter but chose instead to duck the issue by taking offense and
    withdrawing. That, too, is a debating technique and since you used it with
    the intent of accomplishing an objective, it can be classified as a meme
    (according to my theory).

    I appreciate the efforts you have made on my behalf thus far and I won't
    object if you don't want to continue. I have probably made you
    uncomfortable with some of my remarks. I'm not sure I have the time or
    energy to plow through years of back discussions on the net. I barely have
    time to go through the daily output on this one. Again, thank you for what
    you've given me already and I'll try to keep your name out of any future


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