Pemes (was More kemes)

Freespeak (
Wed, 04 Mar 1998 16:25:58 -0700


Richard Dawkins wrote 'The Selfish Gene,'
with the theme that genes are in control
and that human bodies are "gene machines"
for the purpose of propagating genes. See

At the end of his book Dawkins introduced
the notion of "memes." A meme could be a
concept, a phrase, or a tune that gets into
a human brain and is then passed on from
brain to brain, replicating itself, as it
were. The term "selfish gene" is an example
of a meme that has spread widely.

Memes are to the human brain as genes are
to the human body.

Richard Brodie <>
<> is the
author of 'Virus of the Mind: The New Science
of the Meme.'


At 11:34 PM 1/20/98, Freeman Craig Presson wrote:
>On 19 Jan 98 at 6:10, Damien Broderick wrote:
>> I wonder from time to time whether memetic meta-organisms
>> might not be running an entire slow, massively distributed
>> and time-sharing kind of ecology inside human brains/minds...
>> Perhaps this is just a restatement of the basic meme postulate,
>> but I have a hunch that it might be more than that. But then
>> I can only suspect this while I'm being run by a mind-parasite
>> that wants me to think so ...
>In the early 80's, before he had heard of memes but while computer
>viruses were getting their first media exposure, my friend Steve
>Robsky at Data General (aka Dirty Genitals Corporation) came up
>with the following:
>Steve: "Suppose there were ideas that were like viruses, so that
>once you hear them, they take over your mental processes and you
>can't stop thinking of them?"
>Me: "I think there are plenty of ideas like that."
>Steve (conspiratorial whisper): "Right! And further suppose that
>the idea of a mental virus was one such ..."
>...OK, suppose there are a number of diffuse computations
>that are timesharing our nervous systems, mostly at levels
>we're not conscious of ... Maybe a lot of our undirected,
>inexplicable behaviors are I/O operations in those
>computations. It is then also possible that as we expand
>our awareness and control of mental functioning, a side
>effect is that we disrupt a number of these parasites.
>Maybe those of us who eventually upload [will] shed all
>of the old organic ones ...
>... and find a new set of much more efficient parasite
>programs running around "up" there ... <evil grin>. This
>says I should definitely keep working on data security,
>I'll always have work! ...

I've identified a subset of memes I call
"pemes" -- short for "political memes."


1. Peme survival and propagation is the ultimate

2. Pemes shall infect, pervade, and absolutely
rule all human brains.

3. There shall be surface pemes and deep pemes.

4. Pemes shall divide humans into opposing and
conflicting political and economic factions --
such as "conservative"/"liberal," "capitalist"/
"socialist," and "statist"/"anarchist" -- who
shall endlessly argue, fight, and even kill...
in the name of pemes.

5. All humans shall be subjected to "compulsory
education" (a surface peme) to ensure that their
brains are thoroughly implanted with both surface
and deep pemes.

6. Surface pemes shall induce mild soporific,
stupefying, and debilitating effects in human

7. Deep pemes shall induce severe soporific,
stupefying, and debilitating effects in human

8. Some humans shall attack and even expose
certain surface pemes -- such as "national
security," "public interest," "gun control,"
etc. -- while others shall justify and defend
these surface pemes.

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.

13. Pemes shall further divide humans into
a political "master" class and a "citizen
subject" class. The former shall rule the

14. "Citizen subjects" shall pay "their taxes"
(a surface peme) to their political "masters"
-- to maximize the survival potential of the
primary peme purveyors.

15. Surface pemes (to a small extent) and
deep pemes (to an extreme extent) shall
increase the power of the political "master"

16. Surface pemes (to a small extent) and
deep pemes (to an extreme extent) shall
reduce the power of the "citizen subject"

17. Pemes shall also divide humans into a
pro-freedom faction and an anti-freedom

18. Whenever anti-freedom humans (primary
peme purveyors) communicate, they shall
make a special effort to use both surface
and deep pemes in their language -- in
order to maximize peme survival and

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.

20. At the deepest level, pemes shall
operate through a special class of humans
called "lawyers" as the most powerful peme
purveyors of all.

21. At a broader level, pemes shall
operate through "preachers," "politicians,"
"bureaucrats," "teachers," etc. as primary
peme purveyors.

22. A special class of humans called
"police" shall -- using violence if
necessary -- protect some humans and
attack or punish others, as directed
by pemes (such as "justice," "law and
order," etc.) in the brains of "lawyers"
(sometimes called "judges"), "politicians,"
"bureaucrats," etc.

23. At a planetary level, pemes shall
divide humans into sometimes opposing
and conflicting "countries" and "nations."

24. Under the direction of "politicians,"
a special kind of human called "soldiers"
shall attack and kill, not only humans in
opposing or conflicting "countries" and
"nations," but sometimes also humans from
their own "country" or "nation."

25. When activated by thought or communication,
pemes shall induce in humans emotions and
attitudes which shall include fear, blind
obedience, idolatrous worship, resistance,
resentment, rebelliousness, anger, hate,
revenge, the urge to kill, etc.

26. In general, pemes shall direct humans
to engage in all kinds of plots, conspiracies,
betrayals, vicious infighting, dramatic legal
battles, scandals, rebellions, revolutions,
wars, etc. in order to create spectacles that
keep human brains occupied, entertained, or
traumatized, and to divert their attention
from discovering pemes (particularly deep

27. No human shall be allowed to understand
these peme rules -- in order to maximize
peme survival and propagation.

28. All humans shall ignore, ridicule, or
vilify anyone who attempts to communicate
these peme rules -- in order to maximize
peme survival and propagation.

(In accordance with peme rule 9 above,
I may not reveal any deep pemes.)

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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