The "mind virus" meme

t (levy@Oswego.EDU)
Wed, 18 Mar 1998 20:39:14 -0500 (EST)

From: <levy@Oswego.EDU>
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 20:39:14 -0500 (EST)
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
Subject: The "mind virus" meme
In-Reply-To: <199803180902.JAA03276@alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk>

I notice a trend in a lot of the brief introductions to the "meme" memes
that the "mind virus" meme is emphasized, rather than the more general
definition of memes as a "second replicator". Does this bother anyone
else? I suppose my main objection to this is that it does not easily lend
itself to the possibility that memetics is evolving into a discipline
which could unify the social sciences. Instead it seems to imply
(assuming that not much more thought or research is done by the casual
encounterer of the "meme" meme) that memes are nasty little constructs
that we may or may not be susceptible or vunerable to. In other words, it
lends itself more easily to urban legends, exclusively among those sci-fi
or paranoid enough to contract such memes. I read a book called "viruses
of the mind" which was definitely geared toward the same audience that
reads "megatrends", "chariots of the gods", and other light popular
philosophy books. It was a fun read though. Has anyone encountered any
literature on memes as acausal connectors, or memes as organizing society
into particular organic patterns? I suppose convincing arguments could be
made that memetic engineering of culture is possible and that a science of
influencing the memetic evolution of society is possible.

Rob

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"The universe has a habit of deleting anachronisms."
-P K Dick
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