Memetics as a personal philosophy
13-16 September, 1994
Number of articles: 3
I think most of the regular contributors to alt.memetics have a story about
their lives related to the theory of memetics.
They once 'lost their religion' or had a painful identity crisis, and now
think of it in memetic terms.
They feel they've failed in life, and look for a scapegoat-meme.
They have someone they should hate, but find it easier to hate an idea
instead of a person.
They are surrounded by religious people and need an instrument to both
protect themselves and justify their atheism.
Or they've had in their lives an overkill of memetic infection, and have
more and more become consciously aware of the never-ending meme war in
For these, memetics isn't merely a 'Nascent Science'.
It has become a part of their psychology, of their personal philosophy.
They use it to find answers to the questions of life, they let it interfere
with social-emotional processes.
My personal story is irrelevant, but I can tell you I've had my overdose at
a very early age. An elaborate, diverse list of '-isms' and '-ophies'.
Very virulent memes, many mutually intolerant.
They trained my mental immune system to an unhealthy level, shaped my
They made me into a suspicious, sceptic being. Safely protected from
manipulation. Unable to accept facts on authority. Perhaps unable to
learn anything from anyone else but myself.
Nowadays I'm not a succesful host of any of the memes that infected me when
I was a kid. I won't spread them -- that is, I won't spread them
But the debris of their presence is still there. Who's gonna clean it up?
Should I build a memetic vacuum cleaner? Or is there one available on the
memetic market? And if so, WHAT'S THE PRICE?
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric Watt Forste)
Subject: Re: Memetics as a personal philosophy?
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 1994 02:40:31 GMT
Marc (JUH@stpc.wi.LeidenUniv.nl) wrote:
: I think most of the regular readers of alt.memetics have a story about
: their lives related to the theory of memetics.
Interesting. Most of my encounters with powerful ideas that I've thought
of as "memes" (but I now think of *all* ideas as memes) have been very
pleasant. Yours seem to have been very unpleasant.
Some enjoyable memes I've encountered include: space colonization, free
love, voluntarism ("that government is best which governs least"),
hypertext, e-mail, bisexuality, life extension, cryonics, etc etc
etc. And a couple of years ago, I even found that most of these pleasant
memes had gathered together in a big happy friendly "meme complex"
(namely, the extropy meme).
Rather than worrying about how to stamp out all the evil, bad, nasty
memes out there, I spend my time looking for fun new memes, which I can
husband and propagate, cherish and grow, and disseminate among my friends,
in the hope that my friends will enjoy these interesting new memes as
much as I do.
This even makes sense if I evaporate the illusion of my "self" and
just talk about "myself" as a process instantiating genes and
memes... my "original meme-set" (if it makes sense to imagine such a
thing) was "lucky" enough to find new memes that were compatible with
and enriching of most of my "original memes"... some of my original
memes got left by the wayside, but on the whole the structure has
improved and been enriched. The memes I have now seem more stable and
self-enhancing, capable of more growth and integration as a meme-set,
than the memes I had when I was fifteen, say.
Eric Watt Forste || finger email@example.com || http://www.c2.org/~arkuat
"" : I think most of the regular readers of alt.memetics have a story about
"" : their lives related to the theory of memetics.
"" : (...losts of nasty things...)
"" Interesting. Most of my encounters with powerful ideas that I've thought
"" of as "memes" (but I now think of *all* ideas as memes) have been very
"" pleasant. Yours seem to have been very unpleasant.
"" (...losts of nice things...)
Clearly, this is a matter of age.
A young child does not have the integrated meme-set that is able to give
direction to a stable and fruitful personal evolution.
Its mind is quite literaly an arena for the manipulative games of memes,
especially the memes from its parents or educators.
If I'm right, in psychoanalysis this phenomenon is called *introjection*,
and connected with the narcissist personality type. Perhaps our friends at
alt.psycho* can help us fill in some more details?
Can we find more links between personality types and "memetic infection
Are psychologists/psychoanalists familiar with the metaphor of autonomous
'mental organisms' propagating from mind to mind?