Re: MEMETICS: Memetic engineering

James Rogers (
Sat, 28 Dec 1996 00:58:30 -0800

At 11:11 PM 12/26/96 +0000, you wrote:
>>Just as a general line of thought, specifically what is involved in memetic
>>engineering? What are the steps and procedures involved?
>One model of memetic engineering, focusing specifically on
>propogation, goes under the informal name of "activism". I
>introduced the topic of memetics amongst a group of organizers last
>summer, and they enthusiastically adopted it as a way of explaining
>what they do (one of the few times I have successfully connected
>progressives to a transhumanist subject!).
>To mount a successful meme propogation campaign takes advance planning
>and tactical knowledge. This is rarely attempted by an individual;
>usually a team is set up based on individual expertise and training.
>Having a central visionary is also helpful--someone who where the
>campaign fits into a movement overall, someone who connects well to
>other people through an understanding of their hopes and fears.

I may be looking at this in a more abstract sense. Consider the world as a
chaotic system. In chaotic systems, subtle exertions of influence can have
far ranging impacts that scale far beyond the initial triggers. There are
many heuristics for why this happens in societies and how to propagate
memes, but no concrete models. In this case it may be a matter of
complexity more than anything. Truly understanding the why and how of
memetic propagation would be akin to truly understanding all aspects of
human behavior and possibly cognitive psychology.

>One of the major reference books in the area is _Organizing for Social
>Change_ by Kim Bobo, Jackie Kendall and Steve Max of Midwest Academy.

Thanks for the reference. I will check it out and see what information I
can glean from it. Studying the historical propagation of religions might
also give me some clues to the reasons for memetic susceptibility.

-James Rogers