Re: META: Memes and War [was: Tomorrow is a new day]

From: Thomas Buckner (
Date: Sat Nov 13 2004 - 04:52:31 MST

--- Mikko Särelä <> wrote:

> I lived the first 18 years of my life in a cult
> and saw people doing some
> pretty nasty things to people. Now I don't
> think the actions were a result
> of evolutionary (genetic) behavior patterns. I
> find it much more plausible
> that they would be of memetic kind.
> Religions are good at that; they tend to create
> a system, which is
> uncriticisable and gives certain people (the
> cult leaders) power to
> control a lot of things within the system. It
> is the existence of
> uncriticisable premisses that allows all those
> montrosities to happen. Now
> evolutionary origins are needed in explaining
> them.

I would say that memetic (as in cult) viruses
exploit mechanisms which evolved genetically,
wherever an opening is found. For example, the
group cohesion which helps baboons or bonobos
survive has carried over into humans and can be
used for good (NASA) or ill (Nazis) and the
challenge is to identify and short-circuit the
It's actually not all that hard to spot the Nazis
once you are trained. I could give you a laundry
list of groups that need busting up. They will
cry "Persecution!" of course, and indeed make
heavy use of projection (accusing their opponents
of their own worst traits, even when the opponent
is a milquetoast). The mass of humans look upon
the dispute and start with the assumption that
"the truth lies somewhere in the middle" which is
often true when people of good will disagree, but
a dangerous fallacy when one group is predatory
(or sometimes both, as in Hitler vs. Stalin).
BTW, I mentioned this a long time ago: are we
sure a SAI would be immune to memetic viruses?
I'm not.

Tom Buckner

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