memetic engineering

Bruce Howlett (
Sat, 28 Mar 1998 23:25:32 +0000

Date: Sat, 28 Mar 1998 23:25:32 +0000
From: Bruce Howlett <>
Subject: memetic engineering

Ton Maas wrote:
> As a civilization we're bent on shortcut solutions - invariably underestimating
> the long-term implications of our own actions, hence our increasing
> environmental problems. On the other hand our technology also emodies a lot
> of implicit wisdom, so it would be very unwise to just dump it and return
> to the "naivete" of the "primitive". We'd only be repeating ourselves. So
> instead of making grand moves forward or backward, we should move ahead
> very very carefully and preferrably not rely on our consciousness alone.
> One big problem is that on the whole we've lost religion (as a coherent
> social fabric), which anthropologically speaking is no small disaster,
> since such things are almost impossible to resore once lost. How does one
> go about "inventing" rituals and myths? The tragedy of modern myth-makers
> is that they end up producing fiction.

Edward de Bono describes untrained thought processes as pattern
identification. Even very intelligent people may fall into the trap of
defending perceptions rather than thinking rationally. Granted we
should move ahead carefully, but why re-invent religion? Irrationality
resulting from religious beliefs is one of the major problems facing the
world today. If there is a constructive use for memetics, it is the
engineering of culture to produce a society that not only is tolerant
and just, but values ecological and spiritual balance as highly as the
material comforts enjoyed by the few affluent individuals in the
info/techno/material rich world which includes anybody who owns a
computer and can afford the technology to connect to the internet.

Before anyone suggests it is some kind of sin to want to control
culture, please explain why "accidental" or "evolutionary" culture
development is prefereable


Bruce Howlett

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