An old schtick with a new name

Karthik Swaminathan (
Fri, 03 Apr 1998 11:55:43 -0500

Date: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 11:55:43 -0500
From: Karthik Swaminathan <>
Subject: An old schtick with a new name

Karthik Swaminathan wrote:

> It is natural for humans to produce and engineer 'memes' in our
> environment. Politics, economics, philosophy, art and coca-cola are all
> human inventions. We are constantly engineering our own 'meme' set via
> repetition and pairing of imaginary stimuli, a unique and naturally evolved
> talent of the human species. If the 'memes' connect possitivively with
> biological drives and the environment than they are reinforced. ie, if you
> are convinced more girls look at you admiringly in a new sports car, you
> have now made a possitive connection to 'sports car.' We are constantly
> bombarded by 'wild memes' and are also unawaringly constant bombarders of
> these 'wild memes' ourselves. In this way most desires beyond survival and
> reproduction can be considered manufactured.
> In using your definition of a "bad" meme set, smoking is a considerable
> unhealthy habit that persists. But for the person smoking it is
> considered, at least momentarily, as a good meme as it supplants nicotine
> receptors and puts one up a notch in the 'sexy' status all in one puff.

Actually, besides using a behaviorist/connectionist approach to memetic
engineering, what I am trying to say is that memetic engineering has exhisted
all along, as long as humans started making tools and developing language.
You don't even have to be aware of it to use it, it is inate. Humans don't
just 'go with the flow' (at least not the ones who are smart enough to be
considered human), they plan and scheme and think in advance and convince and
compete for cooperation. That is the natural state of human beings.

Karthik Swaminathan

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