Re: Fw: -=-Snowball War '96-=-

Sean Hastings (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 01:44:15 -0600

Paul Wakfer wrote:
> ...
> In fact, I would assume that
> the very ones Sean finds interesting to study must have *some* valid or
> persuasive meme or they wouldn't be working. Of course, it is true that such a
> meme may only have value in appealing to, and resonating with the negative
> qualities of individuals.

I have given this matter some consideration, and I think the reason that
a "chain letter resistant" meme has started to spread is because the
basic nature of a chain letter is to attach a meme of any type to a
Parasitic Class meme. The "copy me" meme is a fairly benign and easily
resisted parasite by itself but when the usual superstitions are added
in ("Break the chain and bad luck follows.") it becomes more persuasive.

The natural reaction of a meme construct (a mind) to defend itself
against parasites comes into play when a parasitic meme is detected by
its self aware processes. When a catchy tune or advertising jingle is
making its way through the population you will sometimes find people
saying "Don't humm that around me, it gets stuck in my head!" The same
process is at work here. People read one chain letter, and find
themselves thinking "What if the bad luck part is true? Its so easy to
copy it and send it to friends..." Then, sometimes, a self aware
processes kick in before they act, and says "You idiot, it's a parasite!
Don't read anymore of these chain letters, and tell your friends not to
send them!" From then on, the content is ignored when such blatant
parasitic replication is recognized, and the sender gets scolded.

I would love to see a world where every mind recognizes that all ideas
are replicaters and simply analyzes them for symbiotic content before
hosting them. Such minds would recognize parasitic memes for what they
are, but could also disentangle symbiotic information from a parasitic
carrier. I grant that most memes carried by such a parasite are
themselves parasitic, because good symbiotes don't usually need to
evolve such vehicles. Still I think people should be aware of the nature
of their basic ideological imuno-reactions, and be able to suppress them
when it is beneficial.

> Just thought about the possibilities and came up with the following idea.
> How about *using* the chain letter approach to reward people for propagating an
> important idea or other piece of information which we find highly valuable to
> spread (say, my Prometheus Project information). It would work this way. I
> start the letter which contains the information which I which to propagate and
> at the bottom states, that if you cross off the first name on the list, add
> your own to the bottom, and send me the name that was at the top of the list. I
> will pay that person (say between $0.50 and $1.00) for each time that I receive
> his name. Apart from the fact that most people (especially the ones that I
> would want to attract) are *so* against chain letters that they would not even
> begin to read it (unless they don't realize until the end that it is a chain
> letter), what do readers think of this idea?

To avoid the imuno-reaction, you might want to disguise the chain letter
aspect of it more. I have simply offered clients 5% of my profits on any
new clients they bring to me with some degree of success. As long as you
don't specifically say "Send this to 10 friends!", you may not trigger
the wrong reaction.

--Sean H.
--V-mail: (504)825-1232 or (800)WHY-SEAN
--S-mail: 5500 Prytania St. #414/New Orleans, LA/70115