Sunday, 14 November 2004

Viruses for the Mind

Kuro5hin has posted this article, titled "Coding Viruses for the Mind". I have stripped off the first word for this post's title.

Kuro5hin's article is an analysis of religions using the idea of mind virus:

  • It is a virus for the mind only. The host of mind virus are human mind.

  • Virus spreads from one host to another.

  • Virus has a payload. The effect of the mind virus on the host.

  • The article gives a rather thorough analysis of how religions spread, but the discussion of the payload is a bit shorter. This concept is not new. The recent term for this, I think, is meme. A definition from Google of meme is:

    /meem/ [coined on analogy with `gene' by Richard Dawkins] n. An idea considered as a {replicator}, esp. with the connotation that memes parasitize people into propagating them much as viruses do. Used esp. in the phrase `meme complex' denoting a group of mutually supporting memes that form an organized belief system, such as a religion. This lexicon is an (epidemiological) vector of the `hacker subculture' meme complex; each entry might be considered a meme. However, `meme' is often misused to mean `meme complex'. Use of the term connotes acceptance of the idea that in humans (and presumably other tool- and language-using sophonts) cultural evolution by selection of adaptive ideas has superseded biological evolution by selection of hereditary traits. Hackers find this idea congenial for tolerably obvious reasons.

    Is instructional design a way of spreading mind virus? or Is education a vaccine against meme?

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