MEMETICS: The Triumph of Reason

David Musick (
Mon, 20 Jan 97 02:31:48 UT

Dan Fabulich brought up the concern that dogmatic people, working together for
their cause may be more dedicated and more powerful than non-dogmatic, more
tolerant and rational people, such as ourselves. Dan likes the Extropian
ideas, but he is concerned with how successful they can be, competing against
more dogmatic and irrational belief systems. Is there any reason to be
optimistic that Reason will finally prevail? Are the memes which encourage
rationality and non-dogmatism inherently more attractive than those which
encourage the opposite?

First of all, we have to consider what's so good about rationality and
non-dogmatism in the first place. Does being rational and non-dogmatic really
help us accomplish our goals? Well, yes, of course, rationality helps us
accomplish goals; that is the whole point of it. Acting irrationally is
seldom successful in accomplishing goals. What about non-dogmatism? Well, a
dogmatic frame of mind is closed to new ideas, ideas which may be better or
worse than current ones. If one is open to lots of new ideas, one can test
them out and pick the best among them and thus be more successful at
accomplishing one's goals than if one had relentlessly stuck with poorer

Those who are rational and non-dogmatic think clearly and utilize the best
ideas available to them. This helps them be more successful at accomplishing
their goals. Rationality and non-dogmatism are attractive to people, such as
ourselves, because the ideas *work*. That is the whole *point* of them, and
when we find ideas which work better, we eagerly adopt them. This committment
to what actually works and willingness to alter one's approach in a continual
search for what works better is what makes rational and non-dogmatic people so
successful in their lives.

A group of dogmatic people may be very *committed* to their ideas, but if
their ideas are faulty, that will be their downfall. In the real world, one
must be responsive to reality, and that means being rational and non-dogmatic.
Those who are more rational and open to new ideas will tend to be much more
successful than those who are less responsive to reality.

Our ideas our superior because they work. And they work because that is the
criteria for them to be our ideas. If they didn't work, we would discard them
in favor of ideas that *do* work, or that at least work better. We are more
adaptable and nimble than irrational dogmatists. Our flexible ways of
thinking will ultimately prevail, because their very nature is to find and
utilize the best ideas available. If others have better strategies than us,
we adopt their strategies and reap that success also.

As irrational and dogmatic as so many humans are, we all still want and are
attracted to what works, what helps us accomplish our goals. We are
goal-seeking creatures, and we tend to repeat behavior which has helped
accomplish our goals before, and what doesn't work tends to fall away. Even
though many doom-sayers say things are getting worse, all the evidence I see
indicates that everything is getting better. People *are* becoming more
rational and open-minded and are consequently seeing more success in their
lives and setting an example for others to follow.

Reason will ultimately triumph; it's nature is to succeed.

- David Musick

-- The flexible, adaptive mind is the most powerful. --