Sunday, December 28, 2008

Interesting comments on the MEME THEME...


In his Foundation Trilogy (later to be extended in additional books), the
prolific science fiction/fact writer Isaac Asimov told a story of a small
group of people who secretly steered the course of history using technology
that we would now recognize as an outgrowth of memetics. By recognizing
group psychology and the effect of various memes on populations, they were
able (Asimov creates) to shorten the intergalactic Dark Ages by millennia.

Is such a thing possible? We are seeing the beginnings of attempts at
memetic engineering today. Advertisers are designing memes that are
becoming fairly effective at penetrating populations, in hope that they
will carry with them a message influencing consumer buying behavior. Have
you heard someone say "I love ya, man!" lately? Anheuser-Busch is delighted
if you have.

More broadly, I'm seeing a steady trickle of organizations copying and
mutating successful Profit Viruses (MLMs) and Power Viruses (cults). It's
an interesting question whether the population as a whole will ever build
up an "immunity" to this kind of thing, or whether the
evolutionary-psychology buttons of lust, power, fear, and so on are too
powerful to overcome.

Who knows? There may have been a small group of Illuminati steering us for
millennia past without us even knowing...

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