Re: Memetic engineering challenge

Lawrence H. de Bivort (
Wed, 7 Jul 1999 09:53:43 -0400 (EDT)

Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 09:53:43 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Lawrence H. de Bivort" <>
Subject: Re: Memetic engineering challenge
In-Reply-To: <000001bec839$446344c0$abc3fea9@agassi>

On Wed, 7 Jul 1999, Aaron Agassi wrote:

>> Agassi:
>> >Shall I offer a meme design challenge?

de Bivort:
>> Excellent, please do.
>> (Reservation: if the response calls for discussion that is best not done
>> publicly, I'll avoid doing so.)
>I will be nothing less than thrilled to get anywhere near a point where
>secrecy is either warranted or desired!

We've been concerned about the public discussion of memes from day one,
but that may be because our immediate interest was in their practical
applications. I worry enormously about several aspects:

1. That the 'bad guys' will end up possessing memetic engineering

2. That poorly designed or destructive memes will end up being released
though not with ill intention

3. That so many memes will be released that the memes _we_ release will
have a tougher time disseminating themselves.

>enablers. Resistance to evil, however, networks ineffectually. The proposed
>set of meme must be an organizational principle to resist, expose,
>undermine, and denounce malice and domination, from the petty to the
>flagrant. It should also be an organizational principle for constructive
>play, that includes resistance to jealous sabotage.

OK, this seems clear enough. We may end up with two memes, acting in

Now, by what measure would you want to have the success of these memes

Also, some additional questions for you to answer:

- What is your target population?

- Who do you want NOT to 'get' the meme?

- Might there be any down-side to accomplishing the goal of the meme?
Would anything of value be lost?

- Might the meme, defined as you have done so and nothing more, create any
secondary or tertiary impacts that would be undesirable?

- Is the goal of the meme sufficiently worthy to justify the effort needed
to develop, release and monitor it?

Lawrence de Bivort
The Memetics Group

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