Coffeehouse Thread

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Meme wars

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  • User profile image
    Massif

    Watching this talk, I got to wondering.

    Is there a sort of war of ideas going on all around us, with various ideas battling it out for occupancy of the majority? All taking place with us humans as vectors for these ideas to mutate, propagate and conquer their hosts? (To the exclusion of competing ideas.)

    There's a seductive thought there: that it's our belief systems, not us which leads us into conflict, and that as such it's our beliefs which are culpable, independant of us. (In the same way we shouldn't be blamed for infecting people with diseases that we're immune to and unaware of.)

    So, perhaps we shouldn't blame corona_coder, beer et al. we should blame the meme-virus OSS - H5N1 (aggressive pro GPL virus.)

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    Massif wrote:
    Watching this talk, I got to wondering.

    Is there a sort of war of ideas going on all around us, with various ideas battling it out for occupancy of the majority? All taking place with us humans as vectors for these ideas to mutate, propagate and conquer their hosts? (To the exclusion of competing ideas.)

    There's a seductive thought there: that it's our belief systems, not us which leads us into conflict, and that as such it's our beliefs which are culpable, independant of us. (In the same way we shouldn't be blamed for infecting people with diseases that we're immune to and unaware of.)

    So, perhaps we shouldn't blame corona_coder, beer et al. we should blame the meme-virus OSS - H5N1 (aggressive pro GPL virus.)



    They're not battling it out -- they're being put through a sieve just like the evolution of genes.

    And they're not conquering their hosts any more that your genes conquer you.

    And like your genes, you can use common sense to override their effects (genetic disposition to heart disease? lead a healthier life, memetic disposition to war?  try thinking)


    So I'm happy to 'blame' corona, beer eta l. Big Smile
    (just to be clear, I don't really have a problem with trolls, I find them quite entertaining when they take the trouble to troll properly)

    Herbie

  • User profile image
    billh

    Massif wrote:
    There's a seductive thought there: that it's our belief systems, not us which leads us into conflict, and that as such it's our beliefs which are culpable, independant of us.
    Yes and no. Yes, because belief systems do drive people to do lots of things. No, because suggesting such an absolute answer takes away from the concept of personal responsibility (i.e. free will, remorse, etc.).

  • User profile image
    Massif

    Dr Herbie wrote:
    

    They're not battling it out -- they're being put through a sieve just like the evolution of genes.

    And they're not conquering their hosts any more that your genes conquer you.


    But "memes" aren't the information equivalent of genes, they're the information equivalent of virii.

    Would you be blamed if you met someone from a different part of town and they contracted the cold you never knew you had? (In which case students at all universities are all to blame for the dreaded Fresher's Flu. Especially the ones who inflicted themselves with "flu" via the medium of alcohol.)

    If these information virii are using you as a host are you culpable for actions they inspire? (which boils down to, "is there free will?" an age-old and classic debate, to which many people have decided the answer is "no")

  • User profile image
    Dr Herbie

    Massif wrote:
    
    Dr Herbie wrote:
    

    They're not battling it out -- they're being put through a sieve just like the evolution of genes.

    And they're not conquering their hosts any more that your genes conquer you.


    But "memes" aren't the information equivalent of genes, they're the information equivalent of virii.


    Then someone changed Dawkins' definition : I think it was in The Selfish Gene that he coined the phrase as an idea that spreads like a gene (hence the similarity of name).


    Herbie

  • User profile image
    billh

    Massif wrote:
    If these information virii are using you as a host are you culpable for actions they inspire? (which boils down to, "is there free will?" an age-old and classic debate, to which many people have decided the answer is "no")
    There is free will. Not choosing to believe in it doesn't change the fact that it exists...it's just a cop out for irresponsible actions.

    This reminds me of a discussion I heard recently where someone asked "is sin solely based on your genes?"

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