Clarifying PEMES

Freespeak (
Thu, 19 Mar 1998 18:27:22 -0700

At 04:45 PM 3/17/98 GMT, "L. Reichard White"
<> wrote:
>As I understand "meme" it is a term applying
>to any mental construct which we are not born
>with. A meme may be self-created from experience
>-- "the best short news clips are on BTV" --
>or, through "infection" (acquired from others)
>-- you may now find yourself checking BTV
>(Bloomberg TV) for short news clips. It is
>transmitted memes that have the most impact
>since they affect more of us, and thus it is
>these transimtted memes that we usually discuss.
>Memes are usually but not necessarily transmitted
>in verbal form. They may be passed by reference --
>"See pg. 28 of 'Thought Contagion' by Aaron Lynch,"
>as an example. (On pg. 28, you'll find Lynch passing
>further memes by reference. Is this recursion?)
>A meme may or may not have direct behavioral
>implications -- "You must send in your taxes
>today," vs. "I signed my name in the guest
>register in that Sri Lankan castle." (Nearly
>all information has some _indirect_ behavioral
>Have I missed anything important here?

The following is from

"Memes are the basic building blocks of our
minds and culture, in the same way that genes
are the basic building blocks of biological life."

"The breakthrough in memetics is in extending
Darwinian evolution to culture. There are several
exciting conclusions from doing that, one of which
is the ability to predict that ideas will spread
not because they are "good ideas," but because they
contain "good memes" such as danger, food and sex
that push our evolutionary buttons and force us to
pay attention to them."

We are probably born with many memes relating to
survival and propagation.

>Let me see if I can clarify my notion of "pemes."
>As I understand it, the term "peme" is a term coined
>as a useful convenience in differentiating so-called
>"political memes," ("I must obey the 'authorities,'"
>"It's for the good of 'society,", "We must protect
>the children," etc.) from memes in general. Pemes,
>in the context of this discussion at least, seem to
>be seen as having the purpose of facilitating the
>"political means" to wealth, that is, conning,
>extorting, or stealing (rather than negotiating and
>trading) value from the people living in a particular
>arbitrarily defined geographical area, and also of
>satisfying the genetic inclinations of those with
>[coercive] hierarchical tendencies.
>That is, in this discussion one of the things we
>are (or should be) attempting to do is expose and/or
>identify as many "memes" as possible that probably
>have direct behavioral implications, are widely
>transmitted, usually but not always verbal in nature,
>and have the effect of manipulating people infected
>by them to support the local "territorial mafia."
>Have I missed anything important here?
Surface pemes like "I must obey the 'authorities'"
are relatively weak, relatively easy to spot, and
relatively easy to invalidate and dislodge. The
"man in the street" clings to surface pemes. Most
Egoists, Libertarians, Extropians, Objectivists,
Anarchists, etc. have little difficulty dislodging
surcace pemes.

Deep pemes are vastly more powerful. For most
people, they are vastly more difficult to spot,
invalidate, and dislodge -- virtually impossible.
For most Egoists, Libertarians, Extropians,
Objectivists, Anarchists, etc., deep pemes are
extremely difficult to spot, invalidate, and
dislodge. From the time that I identified my first
deep peme in 1977, it took seven years to clear out
all the deep pemes I've found so far. I haven't
found any new ones since 1984. For an example of
someone who almost instantly cleared out all his deep
pemes, see <>.

>If indeed memes are largely transmitted verbally,
>we should attempt to approximate the verbal
>content -- even if non-verbal, the equivalent
>verbal content would be useful.
No! Most people, including practically all Egoists,
Libertarians, Extropians, Objectivists, Anarchists,
etc., will run a mile if you confront them with any
one deep peme.

They need to be presented very carefully, one at a
time. Remember the Peme Rules:

"9. Under no circumstances shall any human be
allowed to question, attack, or expose any deep

10. Any humans who have cleared a few surface
pemes from their brains shall deceive themselves
into believing that they've cleared all pemes
from their brains and that they're "politically

11. Any humans who attempt to clear any deep
pemes from their brains shall experience a
strong and compelling inner voice telling them,
"I've got to stop this or I'll go crazy!"

12. Any human who attempts to question, attack,
or expose any deep peme shall be ignored,
ridiculed, or vilified by other humans."

>A note about non-verbal pemes: THEY CAN BE
>EXTREMELY POWERFUL! Saluting der Fuhrer,
>the flag, etc. are examples.
>To the extent we can expose/identify and
>de-bunk such pemes, we may free ourselves
>and others from their effects.
>One thing that makes the goverment situation
>so intractable, I believe, is that it is a jumble
>of intertwined "pemes," which, on their own would
>be relatively weak, but they are combined with:
>1. Threats of force, violence, and ultimately,
>pain, -- and
>2. Appeals to our underlying small-group
>genetically specified instinctive tendancies
>(soldiers don't die or sacrifice themselves for
>their "governments," they do it for their kids
>and families at home and they do it to protect
>their immediate buddies).
>It is my suggestion that it is this complex
>which combines pemes, threats of pain, and
>connections to our genetic tendancies which
>makes the "government-peme complex" so pernicious,
>sort of like the bio-war cocktail reportedly
>developed by the Russians composed of anthrax,
>bubonic plague, and smallpox.
A good analogy! In my opinion, deep pemes are
vastly more powerful in apparently "controlling"
people than "threats of force, violence, and
ultimately, pain."

In a way, most people, much of the time,
unknowingly "control" themselves through their
deep pemes in ways harmful to themselves and
beneficial to phobocrats, specifically obeying
Peme Rule 19:
"Whenever pro-freedom humans (secondary peme
purveyors) communicate -- although they may
question, attack, and expose a few surface
pemes -- they shall make a special effort to
use deep pemes in their language -- in order
to maximize peme survival and propagation."

>The strength of a meme is often related to how
>well it's hidden -- the Dianetics process of
>auditing demonstrates this nicely. Exposing memes
>often has a similar effect to Toto pulling back
>the curtain and exposing the Wizard of Oz for
>what he really is.
>It seems to me that in this context:
>1. "Deep pemes" may merely be pemes that haven't
>had their equivalent verbal content recently and
>objectively exposed to the infected person and/or,
>2. haven't had their exposed verbal content suitably
>Here's an example of how an identification - debunk
>equence might work:
>Clinton or some other piece of government-clique
>fertilizer claims they're doing something for the
>children. You ask a "patient" infected with the
>"government helps/protects, etc. the kids" peme,
>"So you believe you should support 'the government'
>because they do good things for the kids? Is that
>right?" Assuming they agree with this verbalization
>of the peme, you then proceed to the debunking phase.
>You say something like, "Hmm. That's interesting.
>I used to believe that myself. But if 'the government'
>really helps the kids, how do you explain these things?"
<List of "bad conditions" snipped>

>Now sometimes you will put the "patient" into denial.
>But as I learned while teaching (we all have our
>keletons), there's often a long-term effect. The
>above "innoculation," if proprely administered, will
>produce the "maybe government doesn't help the kids"
>anti-body meme, which will prophilactically cause
>the bearer to gather supporting evidence hirself,
>often leading to spontaneous recovery from the
>"governments help the kids" peme in a few weeks,
>months or years. Don't expect to see immediate
>results however, although sometimes there *are*
>"miracle" cures. And remember, you've only treated
>one of the many "pemes" this patient probably
suffers from.

The above reflects how a libertrian might go about
helping "the man in the street" clear out some
surface pemes. No deep pemes are addressed above.
Actually, deep pemes "hide in plain sight," but
most are blind to them and the consequences of
using them.

[[>At 11:50 AM 3/5/98 -0800, Yak Wax
><> wrote:
>>Frederick Mann wrote:
>>> 9. Under no circumstances shall any human be
>>> allowed to question, attack, or expose any deep
>>> pemes.
>>Been there, done that.
>>> 11. Any humans who attempt to clear any deep
>>> pemes from their brains shall experience a
>>> strong and compelling inner voice telling them,
>>> "I've got to stop this or I'll go crazy!"
>>Been there too - I enjoyed being crazy.
>>I have not been infected by any "pemes" deep or
>>otherwise. I'm quite sure it's a genetic thing,
>>I've just never been able to adapt to centralist
>>thinking (which actually helps when dealing with
>>people who are infested with these ideas.)
>>If you think that's impossible, go ahead and
>>prove me wrong.
>I don't think this thread should be about proving
>anyone "right" or "wrong." It should rather be
>about determining the validity or otherwise of
>my peme theory. If valid, then the next step
>would be to identify all the pemes and to discover
>how people can clear them from their brains.
>Maybe you could make a list of all the pemes
>you've either cleared from your brain, or were
>never infected by in the first place.]

I'm still waiting for a response from Yak Wax
<>. It's, off course, possible
that he's a deep anarchist and that this entire
debate is for him such a bore that it's not worth
spending any more time on. (A deep anarchist has
cleared out all or most of his or her deep pemes
and is not subject to the Peme Rules.)

Earlier definitions:

>Pemes are political memes. They consist of ideas, concepts,
>phrases, and terms, the use of which increases the power of
>the "masters" who operate coercive political systems; while
>their use reduces the power of the "subjects" of coercive
>political systems.
>There are surface pemes and deep pemes. Surface pemes are
>relatively easy to identify and invalidate. An example of
>a surface peme is "mandate from the people." This is used
>by politicians and bureaucrats to "justify" their coercive
>actions. It increases their power. "Subjects" who accept
>the "mandate from the people" peme, effectively reduce their
>own power because they "authorize" politicians and bureaucrats
>to take coercive actions against "subjects."
>Deep pemes are much more difficult to identify as such and
>to invalidate. Deep pemes are generally accepted as valid
>by practically all people, including freedom lovers. If you
>try to question, attack, or invalidate a deep peme, most
>people will think you're crazy.

>Two questions may help us identify pemes:
>(1) Which words/concepts -- if I accept and use
>them the way most people habitually do -- place
>me at a disadvantage in relation to the political
>"masters?" (Which words tend to increase the power
>of politicians and bureaucrats, while reducing the
>power of their victims?)
>(2) Which words, if the political "masters" didn't
>have them nor any equivalents for them, would
>dramatically reduce the power of politicians and
If the "typical" Egoist, Libertarian, Extropian,
Objectivist, Anarchist, etc. is asked to make a
list of items that satisfies the above, he or
she will probably come up with a number of surface
pemes, but not one single deep peme.

A deep anarchist needs a special process for
helping someone shed his or her deep pemes.
There's a little obstacle to overcome: Peme
Rule 9: "Under no circumstances shall any human
be allowed to question, attack, or expose any
deep pemes."

Around 1981 I had dinner with a close "near-libertarian"
friend in the Atomium restaurant in Brussels. I tried
an experiment. Every time he used a deep peme, I
relentlessly challenged it: "What do you mean by
[deep peme]?"; "What are you talking about when you
say [deep peme]?" After about 20 minutes he became
quite ill, had to go to the bathroom, and puked his
guts out. He returned to the table after about five
minutes, but couldn't continue his gourmet meal.
Our friendship ceased that night and I haven't seen
him since.

Deep pemes need to be carefully and gingerly presented
one at a time.

Frederick Mann
"The [one] who knows what freedom is will find a way to be free."
-- Robert LeFevre
"We are free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it."
-- William Faulkner
"The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
-- Steve Biko
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