memetic war

Lyle Burkhead (
Sun, 18 Apr 1999 00:37:09 -0700

Michael Lorrey wrote,

> a person on the bleeding edge will be far more likely to consider
> primitive humans to be included in their perception of 'humanity'
> than a primitive human is to consider the transhuman being
> to be 'human', simply because the individual primitive's
> slope of perception is much less steep than that of a transhuman.

You may be right. If so, it would be prudent not to call yourself a "transhuman." That's just asking for trouble. I don't want to be part of God's Chosen Transhumanity, or the Transhuman Master Race (which are two sides of the same coin), I just want to be a ridiculously healthy bodybuilder. I don't think primitive humans will have a problem with that.

> If the future is to be a land of plenty, then there is
> no reason to use force to make sure everyone gets
> what somebody considers to be everyone's 'fair' share.

No reason... well, maybe there is no reason. The world is already a land of plenty for those who choose to make use of opportunities. Some people make other choices, and some people always will. Why is force being used in Yugoslavia, Palestine, Kashmir, Tibet, and South Africa? Why do narks use force against people who smoke pot? There are many "reasons" for using force, and in the future force will still be used for the same "reasons." As I browse through the list archives, I find that some people want to be Powers, and wipe out everybody else; and others say "If YOU get anywhere close to being a Power, I'll nuke your lab!" There may be an element of teenage silliness in this, but grownups play these games too, with real nukes.

I don't want to be a Power, but the situation leaves me no choice. In the coming decades I intend to build an elaborate bodyguard around myself, to protect myself from violence of all kinds. The external immune system is just as important as the internal immune system.

Going back a couple of weeks, I wrote,
> This kind of thinking weakens you. This is not the way to see reality
> clearly. On a battlefield, in business, or anywhere, the one who sees
> clearly wins. Our way of thinking (“calibration”) is exemplified by the
> geniebusters site. It strengthens us. It does lead to clear perceptions.

to which Lee Daniel Crocker replied
> I can think of a much better measure of clear-headed thinking: poker.
> In war, technology and physical skills have a big impact,
> and the game is very negative-sum. Business is so positive-sum
> that even those with fuzzy minds can make money.
> Poker, on the other hand, is a pure zero-sum contest of minds
> rationally evaluating the exact odds of possible outcomes, the gain and
> of each, investing ("raise") and liquidating ("fold") as appropriate,
> winner take all. In many years of experience -- including 6 months
> as a pro -- I can confidently state that all misconceptions,
> and emotional attachments are quickly punished by the clear-headed.

My experience of poker is much more limited, but it tends to confirm your experience. However, poker is basically a waste of time. It doesn't lead anywhere, and you can't make real money (hundreds of millions of dollars) playing poker. Poker tests your perception of your immediate surroundings, but the real challenge is to decide which game to play. That's the real test of your perception of reality.

In war, technology and physical skills do have a big impact, and they depend on planning. You have to foresee years or decades in advance that you need technology and physical skills, and get ready for the moment when those things are needed. The technology that you bring to the battlefield reflects your perception of reality. In business, you have to decide years or decades in advance which business to go into, and how to prepare for it, and then implement your plan. It may be true that even those with fuzzy minds can make money, but it is also true that a lot of people lose money., for example, is in debt. There is no money to be made in propagating memes. That's the wrong business to go into.

We are entering the age of memetic competition. What kind of meme can create a phenotype around itself that has the strength to survive and become immortal? An ism? A corporation? or some new kind of meme?