Re: virus: A Peek Behind Enemy Lines

Sat, 06 Feb 1999 00:38:42 -0800

Tim Rhodes wrote:
> KMO wrote:
> >I have to say that I share the SRSC's dislike for the materialistic
> >focus of our culture, so I can't honestly wish them complete failure in
> >their task.
> True enough, although I suspect that your use of the term "materialistic"
> and their meaning when speaking of the "Materialists" are not the same.

That's true. They probably mean to emphasize the lack of supernatural agencies in a materialisitic world-view, while I'm more concerned with materialism as a focus on objects and the status and identity they provide to the exclusion of what my personal bias would catagorize as more "soulful" and "worthy" concerns.

That said, I expect that there is still significant overlap between their concerns over the materialistic nature of our (and the emerging global) society and my own.

> >Tim, you say that they are intelligent, educated, (and I
> >would add, "connected"), and I certainly agree. Still, I don't see much
> >danger that they will be successful in their efforts.
> They've said the same about all of us, I assure you.

About all of us? Do you mean about the CoV or about each of us with respect to our individual goals? If you mean they said it about the CoV (assuming the mission here is to create an actual church with a sizeable membership and to incline the population in general towards the adoption of a more adaptive memeset) then I would add that they may well be right in saying that about us.

If you mean each of us individually, I think we have a much better shot at our goals than does the SRSC. For the most part, there won't be much in the way of organized resistance to our specific individual agendas (other than the war on drugs ;-) ) and we live in a time of serious oportunity.

> Why do you think they would ever come at odds with consumerism?

Consumerism competes with religious consciousness in a couple of ways. First, we use objects and our positions in consumer society to some degree, to define us in terms of our individual identity and our relationship to the community. (Those of us who are enlightened just let a tiny part of our self-images be defined and expressed through consumerism--just enough to let us participate in the same society with the sheep.) If someone has strong religious convictions and participates in a religious community, i.e. they're God-fearing, church-going folk, then that someone's actions will express (and propagate) a different set of memes than would be expressed by someone who defines her identity and finds her place in the community by virture of the stuff she got at the mall.

Second, the SRSC's ultimate aim is not just to get people to alter their worldview by eliminating evolution and substituting the belief that all life forms exist as they were created by an intelligent designer. Given what hoi poloi occupy their minds with (sex, money, Oprah), making just that one change amounts to a very small and insignificant alteration of John Q. Public's cognitive landscape. Hell, there may be no functional difference at all.

No, I think the scope of SRSC's ambition is a bit broader than that. They want to undue the damage that scientific materialism has done to our society in the 20th century. Sure, I can imagine a "Handmaid's Tale" scenario in which religious fundamentalists have reshaped society so that folks think good Christian thoughts but still want a new refridgerator every three years, but do give your typical religious reconstructionist a bit more credit than that. If they want to fix the damage that scientific materialism has done to our culture, I'm pretty sure that they would want people to spend more time together as families. This is diametircally opposed to consumerism. If the SRSC got their way, don't you think they'd want kids to be watching less tv, playing Nintendo and listening to music their parents don't approve of? That scenario is anathema to the mall-cuture profiteers.

> >Also, I think that with the rapid multiplication and fragmentation of
> >media, the SRSC could get their message on the air and in print often
> >enough to make them think that they are really penetrating the public
> >consciousness without actually getting the message out to people who
> >aren't already sympathetic to it.
> Sounds like you could be taking about Memetics here. ;-)
> I do not agree with your phrase, the "fragmentation of media" however. Last
> time I checked, just the opposite was at work.

By "fragmentation" I meant the proliferation of channels and the resulting niche-oriented nature of media. I agree that the corporate org-chart is getting simpler. It ought to fit readibly on a postcard before long.

> For myself, when I need healing I focus inward, and when I feel strong and
> healthy my focus moves outward from myself. In some ways, I would prefer
> never to have to produce another piece of art again.

Perhaps guerilla action in the culture war is what engages you most meaningfully and utilizes and developes the skills you most value in yourself, and if that's the case I would say only, "Go, man! Go!"

And can you believe that I hadn't made a connection between the break-up and the fact that I've been posting to the list more frequently until you mentioned it at Belltown Billiards?

Nutty, I tell ya.