RE: Memetic engineering challenge

Lawrence H. de Bivort (
Wed, 7 Jul 1999 17:52:47 -0400 (EDT)

Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 17:52:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Lawrence H. de Bivort" <>
Subject: RE: Memetic engineering challenge
In-Reply-To: <[]>

On Wed, 7 Jul 1999, Wade T.Smith wrote:

>>Bad people are memetic engineers

Meme 'engineers' are all 'bad people'? Is this what you are saying?

>Quite often the only effective ones, too. Bad things have been and
>continue to be territorially advantageous to perform. 'Feel good'
>policies have little consequence, whereas 'kill the other' policies are
>rather, um, effective.

I would have to disagree with this. I think that doing good things in the
world can be done effectively, and with consequence. I can think of a
million examples. Perhaps I'm just an optimist, and believe in human

>But memes are not just behavior modification devices- (we can go on and
>on wondering what they in fact are, of course)- but certainly the memetic
>model can be used to support and construct behavior modifying agendas and
>programs, which is what, it appears, ESI is in business to do.

No, ESI is not in the business of constructing behavior modifying agendas
and programs. The Memetics Group seeks to understand memes and their
architecture, and the way the work in society. We have constructed a
couple of memes and released them, mostly to test how the spread of a meme
can be limited. The memes accomplished beneficial results for those it was
intended, and produced no negative side-effects. (This is the main purpose
to looking at the kind of questions that I posed re. Aaron's challenge to
design a meme.

>But supposing that there could be some way to force memetics to offer its
>secrets only to a cognoscenti of do-good illuminati is, well, delirious
>thinking at best.


Lawrence de Bivort
The Memetics Group

| ESI |
| Evolutionary Services Institute |
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