about 'memetic engineering'

Kastytis Beitas (kastytis.beitas@gf.vu.lt)
Tue, 24 Mar 1998 21:57:20 +0200

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 21:57:20 +0200
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
From: Kastytis Beitas <kastytis.beitas@gf.vu.lt>
Subject: about 'memetic engineering'
In-Reply-To: <>

I must ask Josip Pajk to pardon me for making a mix from his response to
levy@Oswego.EDU idea.
But I think some Josip's ideas are not well-considered.

At 09:27 1998.03.23 +0100, you wrote:
>>levy@Oswego.EDU wrote:
>>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.
>What are we talking about here?
>Is "Memetic engineering" possible? The question should be: "Do we actually
>need it?"
>Is it really the main reason for the existence of memetics? If the
>evolution of memetics should bring us to the "cloning" point where genetic
>engineering brought us today,

What bad do you see in cloning?
Do you think that surgery, for example, must be forbidden, because the
is possible? Vivisection is evil, non-ethical thing, of course. In some
countries humans
sell their kidneys -- do we must to forbid all surgery and transplantology?
The cloning
of human beings as sets of spare parts for transplantology is evil. But the
cloning of
human embryonic tissues for use as transplantants is necessary and ethical

The cloning of individuals of rare animal species is useful in restoration
of some
ecosystems. The genetic-engineered microorganisms may be beneficial in
cleaning of
polluted waters.

>it is better to give up now and not to spend
>precious time and scientific "gray matter" on this issue anymore. Why?
>We humans have to be aware of the fact that there are things we can not
>control. Control means that there is a goal, a point where the controller
>"wants" to bring the state of the process it controls. Who is the
>controller, and what would be the goal of (memetic and genetic)
>engineering? Are we attempting to play the Gods role here?
>Look what we have done with our air, water, animals, plants. Is it not
>enough? We have to much work to do to preserve our environment because at
>the point when we will struggle for the last few drops of water, no
>memetics engineering will help to preserve our society.

Why the preservation of our environment can not be the goal for 'memetic
There are many various forms of propaganda for environment protection. But
all they
are product of ‘wild’, uncontrolled in memetic sense and maybe non-optimal
Who can say that the ‘memetic engineering’ is not the main lack that enable
the predatory
point of view to nature and ineffective protection of environment today?
But we are full of pride (in the negative form):
>Are we attempting to play the Gods role here?
And we do not use such God-like things as antibiotics (it is impossible to
resist to God's
epidemics) (today antibiotics often are genetic engineering product), we
do not use
satellite photographs in meteorology (it is God-like to see entire
hemisphere and to know
tomorrow’s weather) and we do not use many other similar things.

‘Memetic engineering’ is tool/weapon with double-edged blade of course. It
can be used
to stop massacres as in Ruanda and Kampuchea, but it can be used to set
fire of national
or religious civil wars.
It is a tool of potentially huge power. And the goals for what it can
be used depends on humans that may by controlled by humans controlled by
means of
‘memetic engineering’ (ME), and the humans using ME in this level may be
controlled by other...
Something as in Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series: Foundation, and Second
Foundation etc.

>Is it not in
>fact the eternal struggle between the father and the son? The son is
>growing and thinks that he could do "better" than the father.
>How will evolution bring forward in such "controlled" environment? Until
>now it was doing well without our intervention.

Can it be so that 'memetic engineering' is foreseen by 'wise father' as
part of further evolution
of human societies? Who can answer to it?

Kastytis Beitas

Kastytis Beitas
Faculty of Natural Sciences, Vilnius University
Ciurlionio 21
2009 Vilnius, Lithuania

ph. (+370 2) 632 239
fax. (+370 2) 235 049

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