RE: Darwinian/Neo-Darwinian, and codes (was Memes and Things)

Richard Brodie (
Wed, 10 Feb 1999 08:13:52 -0800

From: "Richard Brodie" <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: Darwinian/Neo-Darwinian, and codes (was Memes and Things)
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 08:13:52 -0800
In-Reply-To: <>

Mario wrote:
> And what PACKAGES of ideas -- memeplexes -- social organisms -- viruses of
> the mind -- have the potential for becoming self-replicating and thus
> prevalent?

<<None, because viruses and ideas do not self replicate. Just like ideas and
behaviours they depend upon the acitivity of replication machinery. All you
ask is: "Which characteristics do viruses (biological resp. viruses of the
have that cells resp. humans are so eager to replicate them?">>

Well, by that token nothing really self-replicates. But don't you agree that
you can take the intentional stance effectively with cultural viruses such
as evangelistic religions, multilevel marketing groups, and chain letters.
You would still ask the question you suggest, although I wouldn't use the
word "eager"---more frequently it a matter of unconscious "hot buttons"
being pushed or simple infection through conditioning.

<<Well, when we gain insight in the relationship between our psychology and
memes populating our society, we might educate our children with the
insights in
how memes influence our behaviour, and such companies will no longer be very
successful. Who knows we might stop this crazy tredmill of overconsumption,
reinforced by commercials.>>

Hear hear.

I wish I had your faith though.

Richard Brodie
Author, "Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme"
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