RE: playing at suicide

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sat Jan 12 2002 - 08:21:18 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: RE: playing at suicide
    Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 00:21:18 -0800
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    ><<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.>>
    >Dale Carnegie died in 1955, Grant, and no longer teaches courses. The
    >organization (mind virus) he created lives on and spreads certain memes,
    >including those necessary to perpetuate the organization. (This does not
    >imply any judgment on my part as to the value of the teachings.)

    You're right, I should have used the past tense. But he taught his students
    how to use people's names to win their friendship and influence their
    decisions. I don't see the viral nature of his teachings unless paying
    money to learn something is a way to catch a virus. I call it acquiring a
    meme for later use.

    ><<I am defending my theory because the only way to test it against other
    >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.>>
    >Why do you want to come up with your own theory, Grant, rather than learn
    >what other people are already excited about?

    Because it didn't excite me. I wasn't satisfied with the explanation and
    tried to come up with my own. Some of what I read of Dawkins and Dennett
    and Blackmore made sense and some of it didn't. It's the part that didn't
    that created an itch I feel a need to scratch.

    ><< 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 pleased I amuse you, Grant. After you're done being entertained,
    >suppose you think for a minute about what I might have meant when I said
    >"given names are a nice example of memes that spread without much regard to
    >their utility to the host." From that you somehow came up with "there's no
    >value in using people's names in sales situations." Do you think those two
    >statements are equivalent, Grant?
    But I don't think given names spread without utility to the host, which I
    define here as the person using the name rather than the person the name
    refers to. When I use my name for some purpose, I'm the host, and when
    someone else uses my name, they are the host. We may not be talking about
    the same thing here. I said there is a value in using people's names in a
    sales situation, as Dale Carnegie taught. That's why I mentioned his book.

    >Several times now, Grant, I've noticed you engaged in what I would
    >categorize as "level jumping." I was talking about specific given names,
    >like Grant and Richard, as memes. You responded by discussing the
    >distinction-meme "name." The first are examples or instances of the second.

    What I was saying applied to both first and last names. There are small
    differences in their use but the principle is the same.
    ><<I'm sorry
    >if my sense of irony offended you.>>
    >I take no offense at your irony, Grant, but I do object to your attempt to
    >hijack the word "meme."
    Hijack? As in steal? Does somebody own it? I'm just trying to pin down
    what the word refers to and how one is encoded and transmitted. Just
    because I don't agree with someone else's opinion on that subject doesn't
    mean I've taken something away from them. You still have your opinion and I
    still have mine. What has either of us lost?
    ><< You use your name to promote your
    >busines and your ideas every day of the week.>>
    >I see you spelled "busines" with one "s." What was your purpose in doing
    Sloth. I neglected to proof read and correct my mistake.

    >By the way, I think you have an inaccurate picture of who I am and how I
    >spend my time.

    You're probably right. It's been a while since I read your book and I
    haven't seen anything about you in the news lately. I did read somewhere
    that you quit Microsoft to start a company based on providing a service to
    clients built around the virus concept. I have no idea if that story was
    accurate or if that's what you're still doing. But I do some writing myself
    and I know that marketing a book is a hard job and takes as much or more of
    a person's time as writing it. I've seen some of the tools you use on the
    internet to keep your name in front of the public and I suspect we're using
    one of them right now. What you do in addition to or instead of the things
    I've mentioned are a complete mystery to me.

    ><< 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
    >have a purpose when you put your name on your book, on your posts, on your
    >mail, and on your advertisements.>>
    >And I have a purpose when I overeat, pick my nose, and drop heavy boxes on
    >my feet. So what? What does that have to do with cultural evolution?
    >everything has a purpose. Why do some memes spread more than others?
    A man uses a tool for a purpose. A carpenter uses a hammer to pound a nail.
      That's what makes it a tool. We use words for a purpose. That's why they
    are called a writer's tools. If you purposely drop books on your foot I
    find it hard to understand what you're trying to accomplish.

    Using grass to decorate my yard makes it a meme. The crabgrass I keep
    trying to eliminate is not part of that meme. It what I'm trying to do with
    the grass that separates them from a memetic point of view. The clothes I
    wear to make a statement are memes. The food I spill on them may tell
    people something about me but that doesn't make it a meme.

    Some memes spread more than others because people who use them imagine they
    will convey a greater benefit on the user. Having the greenest grass on the
    block gives me status. It seems worth investing time and money in. It also
    keeps my wife off my back. Growning grass in my yard is a tool that serves
    many purposes. The crab grass is merely a pain in the butt. But if I
    started cultivating crab grass with a goal in mind, that would give it meme
    status. That's whyI keep harping on purpose.

    ><<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.>>
    >You sure seem to know a lot about me. And there's that one-s "busines"
    >again. What is it that I sell again?

    Books and services. Am I wrong about that? If so, another apology is in

    ><<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).>>
    >Who's this "we"? Do you have a tapeworm? Or do you purport to speak for all
    >of humanity?

    I havent' met a human yet who doesn't have or use a name. I will admit
    there may be one somewhere, so I won't try to speak for him or her.

    >I took only mild offense and did not withdraw. I was using the
    >Communications Model ( )
    >designed to facilitate communication.
    I'm glad we were able to continue the conversation


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