Re: virus: A parable

Eric Boyd (
Mon, 7 Jun 1999 15:50:54 -0400


KMO <> writes:
I had a friend of mine sit down at my computer and read the parable. He did not know the theme of the site on which it occurs, and he had a very negative reaction to that parable from almost the very outset. It was identical in tone and structure to the parables that religious evangelicals had used on him in conversion attempts so many times in the past that it instantly raised his resistance to full strength. He was particularly offended by the one-dimensional obtuseness of the man who bought the house. He read it such that the visiting brother was the Christian trying to open his brother's eyes to the futility of defining his self-image and staking his happiness on earthly things such as houses and willfully closing his eyes to the possibility of eternal bliss and salvation through Christ. Even after he finished reading the parable and I explained its intent, he was hostile towards it.

I had exactly the same negative response for the first few minutes, KMO. I think it's a good feature, however -- that response means that the parable is tailored to that type of mind set. i.e. the people who need to read it most will have a favorable response to it initially, becuase it's got that kind of tone. I wonder if the true message of the parable would get through?

It would be an interesting experiment to try distributing it to a christian organization. If I can get the authors permission, perhaps I'll try that come next feburary, during "Jesus Awareness Week". (which is basically a week where christians of all stripes come out the closet around here...) That event really reveals the _apathy_ of most christians here in Canada -- suddenly, you find out that all these people you've known for years actually think they are christians! I always get a good kick out of the sad attempts to justify religion with science (... "come see a lecture showing how science has proved the existence of god!"). It is fairly obvious that such lectures only convince those who are already convinced.

Yes. This group doesn't seem to particularly suited to creative work. As individuals we are extraordinarily creative. We write books, cut CDs, draw comics, and create websites, but as a group, we tend to fall into loops of endless analysis and criticism. Better that you, Dylan or Eric, craft your own parable-virus, propagate it, and then, AFTER it's out in the world doing its thing, present your project to the Virus list for feedback. Some of the feedback may be of use to you in crafting parable-virus 2.0.

I'm trying that type of thing with my MemeWars game. (I just thought of a revolutationary change which may improve the two-player version). But in addition to that, I'm still working on my Epistemology of Email, which promisses to help us work on collaborative knowledge creation projects via email (i.e. on the list). Version two of the essay (a major rewriting) is nearly complete.

Once those projects are off my front burners, I may turn to "propaganda" for Virus and it's memes, and this would be a good test project. The only real problem is that my writing style isn't particulairly suited to the task...