RE: virus: RE:The Quest and I and We

Dan Plante (
Thu, 20 May 1999 01:48:23 -0700

At 04:11 AM 20/05/99 +0100, Dave Hall wrote:


>But the planet continues to spend $1T+ on military stuff ... a good 30 years
>after NASA took some conclusive photos proving that humans could get off the
>planet, it was definitly roundish enough to go off in multiple directions,
>after thousands of years of misguideness, there was no longer any need to
>fight over land like vultures over a carcass. Now call me a bleeding heart
>liberal or a neoluddite or whatever, they're all words in a world where
>action counts, but I'm of the opinion that that money could be more wisely
>allocated to project that would re-enthuse humans .. give humanity as a
>whole something seriously Grand to aspire to.


Thanks, Joe. A good post and a very good point. Folks, I don't know about you, but I've held this opinion for a long time now as well, and it occurs to me that, if you're looking for a noble goal for your memetic engineering aspirations, you could do far worse than attempting to change the prevailing world preocupation with intercine bickering and pathalogical navel-gazing, to one closely approximating the grand project and ambitions stated above.

It seems to me that it would be possible to co-opt the "memetic hooks" currently hoarded by the military-industrial complex; i.e. UTism, fear of the unknown, external challenges, team emotional dynamics, etc. For instance, UTism could be undermined by a campaign that replaces preoccupation with scary, dangerous "outsiders", with preoccupation with scary, dangerous "out-there-somewheres", providing something else to "attack and conquer". This
would, instead, capture the imagination, the awe, and the giddy feeling and social cohesion people have when sharing the experience of a great conflict, and provide something useful in the bargain (industrial and scientific benefits of space industry, not having all of humanity's "eggs in one basket", etc.).

I think I can see a way that might work, but it wouldn't be easy.

Naively ambitious? You bet. That's my middle name. :-)