Joyfire Book Review with quotes and commentary
Introduction: Crisis of the Mind ...................................................xiii
Viruses of the mind have been with us throughout history, but they are constantly evolving and changing. They are infectious pieces of our culture that spread rapidly throughout a population, altering people's thoughts and lives in their wake. Mind viruses include everything from the relatively harmless examples, such as miniskirts and slang phrases, to those that seriously derail people's lives, [...] viruses of the mind can program us to think and behave in ways that are destructive to our lives.
This is the most surprising and most profound insight from the science of memetics: your thoughts are not always your own original ideas. You catch thoughts—you get infected with them, both directly from other people and indirectly from viruses of the mind. People don't seem to like the idea that they aren't in control of their thoughts. The reluctance of people to even consider this notion is probably the main reason the scientific work done so far is not better known. As we'll see, ideas people don't like have a hard time catching on. pg xiv
Every so often, the world of science experiences something called a paradigm shift. That happens when one of the basic, underlying assumptions we've been living with changes, such as when we shifted from looking at the universe as revolving around the earth to the earth revolving around the sun. Another shift occurred when Einstein discovered the relationships between space and time and between energy and matter. Each of these paradigm shifts took some time to penetrate the scientific community and even longer to become accepted by the general public. pg xv
Viruses of the mind, and the whole science of memetics, represent a major paradigm shift in the science of the mind.
Because understanding this new science involves a significant change in the way people think about the mind and culture, it has been difficult for them to grasp. As with any paradigm shift, memetics doesn't fit into our existing way of looking at things, of understanding the world.
The trick to learning a new paradigm is to set aside your current one while you're learning rather than attempt to fit the new knowledge into your existing model. It won't fit! If you're willing to set aside your current thinking long enough to consider four concepts, some or all of which may be new to you, you'll be rewarded with an understanding of memetics. With that understanding, I hope, comes a call to action for anyone concerned with the future of human life. pg xv
Let me tell you right now—I have an agenda in writing this book, and that is to make a difference in people's lives. Some of the content found herein could be used for self-improvement. You might not expect a book about science to include ideas from the self-development field, but the science of memetics deals with the mind, with people's lives. Understanding memetics can naturally help increase the quality of people's lives.
In the first place, I would never have written this book—or my first one, Getting Past OK—if I had not intentionally disinfected myself of many of the memes that I got as I grew up and then reprogrammed myself with new memes. What new memes would you choose to reprogram yourself with, given the chance? That's entirely up to you. I had no idea what that even meant when I started this research. Now that I do, I choose to program myself with memes that support my values in life rather than ones that support the agendas of viruses of the mind. pg xix
Consciously spreading ideas you consider important is one
way to combat mind viruses.
Joyfire Comment: For those who are consciously evolving, being quickly able to work out who the serious mind virus programmers are is essential... Since, I regularly get chased by people who think they found their next cult member, over a thousand hours of research in the last 5 years has provided me with sufficient knowledge to enable me to disinfect myself from cult memes. What's more, I personally don't believe there is any other way to spiritually evolve without understanding the cult programming going on in the Cultic Milieu. If you don't understand this, then you cannot consider yourself as a true spiritual or evolutionary leader. Hence, I agree with Brodie, Memetics matter to anyone concerned with the future of human life. It's that serious.
Chapter 1: Memes ...................................................................1
Memes and Memetics
The meme is the secret code of human behavior, a Rosetta stone finally giving us the key to understanding religion, politics, psychology, and cultural evolution. That key, though, also unlocks Pandora's box, opening up such sophisticated new techniques for mass manipulation that we may soon look on today's manipulative TV commercials, political speeches, and televangelists as fond remembrances of the good old days. pg 4.
This book is a collection of ideas about memes. When you read and understand it, you'll have memes about memes in your head—metamemes! If you write a book about memes, tell someone else about memetics, or lend your copy of Virus of the Mind to someone who reads and understands it, then the metamemes in your mind will have self-replicated. pg 12
The science of memetics, like all sciences, is a set of memes designed to give you access to and power over some aspect of the universe. Remember, I didn't say, "Memetics is the way the universe actually works," or "We now know memetics is the Truth about the functioning of the human mind." It's not the Truth; it's a model, like all sciences—like all memes. Once you start believing memes are True, you lose your power to pick and choose which memes you're programmed with, and you become more subject to infection by mind viruses.
A virus of the mind is something out in the world that
infects people with memes. Those memes, in turn, influence
the infected people's behavior so that they help perpetuate and
spread the virus.
Joyfire Comment: We are given a selection of meme definitions here and a reminder that memes are building blocks of the mind and we can actively remove those blocks that hinder our spiritual progression.
Chapter 2: Mind and Behavior .............................................17
Memes spread by influencing people's minds, and thus their behavior, so that eventually someone else gets infected with the meme. If a meme is in your mind, it can greatly or subtly influence your behavior.
In this book, I'm going to write as though all your behavior is dictated by a combination of the instructions in your DNA and the mental programming you acquired as you grew up: your genes and your memes. Some people believe there's a third factor in there: a soul, a spirit, a little "me! me! me!" demanding recognition as something more than machinery. This "me!" factor is, according to your beliefs, either a divinely injected spark or simply a biological trait like an opposable thumb or a high IQ: some combination of genes and memes. Fortunately, we don't have to resolve thatparticular philosophical issue right here, since either belief works fine for understanding memetics and this book. pg 17-18
The world is full of memes spread by mind viruses, all competing for a share of your mind, your perception, your attention. They care nothing for your well-being, but instead add to your confusion and subtract from your fulfillment.
Do you obey rules or any form of authority other than yourself? Laws, your superiors at work, doctors, parents . . . ? I hope you are respectful of your fellow inhabitants of the planet, but I also hope you realize that anytime you're obeying instructions, you're ripe for exploitation by mind viruses. As you'll see in Chapter 3, viruses work by taking instruction-obeying mechanisms and co-opting them. If you are an instruction-obeying mechanism, you will be co-opted, no doubt about it.
What can we do about it? For most of us, it doesn't work to shut ourselves out of all cultural institutions. Participating in jobs, relationships, clubs, and judicial systems seems essential or at least practical in our attempts to make lives for ourselves. But to avoid becoming enslaved by mind viruses, we need to pick and choose. pg 30 - 31
The point is to understand that you have memetic programming so you can reprogram yourself when mind-virus infections are interfering with your life!
A mind virus thrives on your belief that its memes are True. People defend the memes they're programmed with like they were protecting their own lives! It's the mind virus's paradise: it has co-opted your intelligence and problem-solving ability in order to preserve itself.
The only way we learn and grow is by changing our belief systems—changing our memetic programming. Yet, paradoxically, we tend to hang on to that programming as if it would kill us to be wrong about any of our memes. pg 33
Joyfire Comment: Here, we are given a definition of different types of memes; Distinction-memes, Strategy-memes and Association-memes. The chapter finishes by reminding us that cultural memes are designed to exploit people with mind viruses and certainly do not exist to benefit the individual.
Chapter 3: Viruses .................................................................35
Viruses exist in three universes that we know of:
— The first is the universe of biology, of organisms . . . of people, plants, and animals. It's where viruses were first discovered: tobacco plants get them, and so do we. There are countless varieties of biological viruses on Earth and countless copies of each. They remain the cause of some of our most deadly and least curable or understood diseases, ranging from the common cold to AIDS or worse.
— The second universe where viruses exist is the man-made world of computers, networks, data, and programming. Viruses weren't discovered in this world; rather, they were invented— programmed.
— The third universe is the main subject of this book: the universe of the mind, of culture, of thought. This is the universe in which the paradigm shift is taking place. From an old model of cultural evolution based on innovation and conquest, we are shifting to a new model based on memetics and viruses of the mind. Mind viruses are both discovered and invented: they can evolve naturally or be created consciously. pg 35 - 37
What Is a Virus?
Keeping in mind that the virus concept applies to all three realms—biology, computer, and mind—let's start by looking at the workings of biological viruses.
We can't talk about viruses without talking about copying. That's what a virus does, after all: it makes copies of itself. That wouldn't be of much more than intellectual interest to us if it were not for one fact: a virus uses us as its laboratory for making copies of itself, frequently leaving a mess behind.
A virus is more than a parasite, more than an infiltrator, more than an unchecked self-copier. A virus is all of these at the same time. pg 38
A virus is anything that takes external copying equipment
and puts it to work making copies of itself.
One reason to take viruses seriously is that making copies of yourself—self-replicating—is the most powerful force in the universe.* Notes* If you had the thought that perhaps God is the most powerful force in the universe—remember: He created us in His own image. Self-replication!
Anywhere there is copying machinery, there can be viruses. Modern computer networks, designed specifically to copy and transmit data, were a natural target for malicious or mischievous hackers to create man-made viruses, which they in fact did relatively quickly. Unlike their biological counterparts, all known computer viruses are man-made, which is to be expected since computers are designed especially to minimize mutations, or corruption of data.
A mutation is an error in copying. It produces a defective—
or possibly improved in some sense—copy instead of an exact
duplicate of the original.
What Makes a Good Virus?
A successful virus must let its host live long enough to spread the virus. That's odd, though—wouldn't it follow that the most successful viruses would let the host keep living and spreading them as long as possible? Wouldn't that mean we should expect viruses to be on our side in general, since our health is linked to their survival?
That depends on what you mean by "on our side." The success of a virus in the long run depends on its ability to replicate without killing its hosts.
Looking at things from the point of view of a virus just gives us insight into what's interesting about viruses: how and why they spread.
When I say a virus's mission in life is to spread, I mean only that when we examine viruses, the interesting thing about them is that they spread. If they didn't spread, we wouldn't call them viruses and we wouldn't be interested in them. We are interested in viruses because their penetrating, copying, issuing of instructions, and especially spreading is a powerful force in our universe. It's fascinating, exciting, and even scary to discover something that, once released, goes off on its own and spreads itself to the world with no further effort on the part of its creator.
Saying a virus has a mission in life is a trick to make it easy to understand how it works. It would be equally correct to reverse points of view:
The universe contains many mechanisms for copying and
dispersing information, and viruses are some of the things that
are often copied and dispersed.
Our minds excel both at copying information and at following instructions. Remember the four characteristics of a virus: penetration, copying, possibly issuing instructions, and spreading. As horrifying as the thought may be initially, our minds are ideally susceptible to infection by mind viruses. They can penetrate our minds because we are so adept at learning new ideas and information. They are copied by us communicating with each other, something we are getting better and better at. Mind viruses issue instructions by programming us with new memes that affect our behavior. They spread when the chain of events stemming from that new behavior reaches an uninfected mind.
Examples of viruses of the mind range from fashion fads to religious cults. They can be any bit of culture whose existence touches people, causing them to shift their thinking and thus their behavior, eventually causing reinforcement or proliferation of that same bit of culture.
Joyfire Comment: This chapter explains what a virus is and emphasises the important replication and copying aspects of a virus. I was quite stunned by the author's claim that self-replicating—is the most powerful force in the universe. Hmmm.... Since I have spent a lot of time investigating narcissists and psychopaths who like to make copies of themselves, program and control, making a comparison with God sent a chill down my spine... I agree with the author that religion is manmade but made up of memes/mind viruses and so humans beings created in God's own image, says a lot about the type of humans that created and perpetuated myths about God. The discussion of designer viruses and cultural viruses is important for those people who are being hand picked to spread the next big mind virus for someone else to profit from...
Chapter 4: Evolution .............................................................47
The study of evolution is the study of making copies. A replicator is anything that gets copied. Sometimes a replicator seems to do more than just "get copied" passively; it seems to take a more active role. Perhaps it could be said to "make copies of itself." The difference is merely a matter of point of view. Sometimes it will seem more natural to think of a replicator as making copies of itself, as when cells split and DNA duplicates. At other times, it will make more sense to think of a replicator as something that just happens to get copied, as when people hum a catchy tune or the idea of democracy spreads throughout the world. In all cases, the copying happens, which is what evolution needs.
Anything at all that gets copied—no matter what the copying mechanism, and whether or not there is a conscious intention to copy—is a replicator.
This chapter fails as far as I am concerned because the author does not explain the new discovery of how bacteria purposely allows for evolution, this is fully explained in my book Tuning the Diamonds because it is directly related to copying and replicating DNA driven by a need to comply with changes in the environment now called the science of epigenetics. We now know that bacteria that are stressed can purposely engage in a survival mechanism where they utilize a unique error prone DNA copying enzyme to make many mutated versions of their genes. This is referred to as somatic hypermutation — the rapid or excessive alterations of the genes, a process that allows for at least one of the gene variants to be used as a suitable gene replacement to effectively relieve the stress. The implications are staggering, as it reveals that organisms have the ability to quickly adapt to environmental stress and if given the opportunity, they will intentionally change their genetics. This was first revealed in 1988, by the internationally recognized geneticist John Cairns who wrote the paper, “The Origin of Mutants” that was published in the prestigious British journal Nature. Since, this research was a serious challenge to prevailing beliefs of random mutations espoused by Darwin followers and was immediately condemned as complete heresy. Of course, after 10 years of replication, scientists were forced to admit that an alternative mechanism for evolution existed. The major implication being that bacteria have a way of engaging with the environment that could produce beneficial results and ensure survival. What this means is there is a chance that new Light Codes could be associated with viruses that deliberately attach themselves to DNA and cause a slight variant in copying and therefore be directly responsible for the evolution of DNA. The fact that DNA is full of dead viruses (not fully explained or understood by evolutionary biologists) should at least give some pause for thought... We must also consider a mind virus to be an additional environmental electromagnetic component (epigenetic) and therefore is certain to have some impact on the processing of DNA. Therefore all these considerations really make you wonder what is really happening when some use intent in order to modify their own DNA and therefore 'evolve'. Basically, are attempts to work with Light Codes the makings of a pernicious mind virus or something useful?
Chapter 5: The Evolution of Memes .....................................65
Once our brains evolved to the point where we could receive, store, modify, and communicate ideas, there suddenly appeared a new environment that had the two characteristics needed for evolution: copying and innovating. Our brains, which arose out of increasing usefulness in the process of keeping DNA hosts (that's us) alive and breeding, suddenly were thrust into the spotlight of evolution.
The brand-new innovation of the human mind was not just another arena for evolution besides the cell, it was a far better arena, simply because evolution takes place far more quickly. The biological forces that evolved our brains to the point where we had minds were now outdone a million times over by the new memetic forces evolving our thoughts, our society, and our culture. Evolution of the meme was assured.
A meme is a replicator that uses the medium of our minds
to replicate. Meme evolution happens because our minds are
good at copying and innovating—ideas, behaviors, tunes,
shapes, structures, and so on.
Instead of looking at meme evolution from our own point of view as we normally do, we need to look at it from the point of view of the meme, as if the meme were acting in its own selfish interests and doing whatever it takes to replicate and become widespread. The "selfish meme" concept does not, of course, ascribe any consciousness or motivation to the meme; it simply means we can understand better by looking at evolution from the meme's point of view.
The evolution of ideas, culture, and society revolves around
the selfish meme just as the evolution of species revolves around
the selfish gene. pg 68
Before consciousness, we had no way of coming about these strategies logically or rationally, but we did have feelings, instincts, and drives, as we suspect other animals do, too.
All animals have four basic instinctual drives: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and mating. So in addition to paying attention to danger, food, and sex, our brains come equipped with two ways of dealing with danger and one each for food and sex, with no conscious thought necessary. These drives work by firing up appropriate parts of our brains, which, if we don't consciously intervene, will drive us to satisfy the need. Even if we do consciously refrain from acting on impulse, we can feel this all going on quite easily and in fact have names for the distinct feelings that go along with the drives to fight, flee, feed, and mate: anger, fear, hunger, and lust.
The "wiring" in our brains evolved over millions of years. During that time, our environment changed very little, as we can verify by examining archaeological digs. It is only very, very recently in the timescale of genetic evolution that our environment started to change so fast that day-to-day routines could be altered significantly within a single lifetime. To understand memes, we need to realize that our brains, which evolved to support our survival in a relatively unchanging world, remain essentially the same even though we have transformed our world many times over since we evolved to the point of consciousness.
Meme evolution selects for the ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and myths that we pay the most attention to and broadcast the loudest. And without conscious intervention, what we pay attention to and broadcast the loudest is determined by that complex web of feelings and drives, cravings and fears, that evolved to keep us alive and mating.
Joyfire Comment: Here Brodie cannot help but contradict himself by the way he discusses mind viruses as "selfish" but then claim they are not conscious, presumably to at least prevent some criticism. From a metaphysical point of view, everything has consciousness that requires some form of energy to exist. Therefore, I am of the opinion that these mind viruses have a life of their own. I am helped in my reasoning by others who have seen these 'black astral spiders' and can describe them as being 'alive'. The only debate in my mind is that I don't think they are spiders or insects, rather they are viruses because it makes it far easier to explain that these entities exist as energetic parasites and humans are somehow cooperating by feeding them with mental energy... By the way, I don't care to entertain intellectual arguments about whether these things are real. I know what I saw and so do plenty of others.... Anyway, this chapter discusses the origin of memes that all center around survival; Crisis, Mission, Problem, Danger and Opportunity. Brodie speculates on how increased consciousness works to facilitate new memes and secondary strategies to make us better not only at survival and reproduction, but also at satisfying the four first-order urges that he defines as: Belonging, Distinguishing yourself, Caring, Approval and Obeying authority. Next, Brodie explains how memes are spread: Tradition, Evangelism, Faith, Skepticism, Familiarity, and Making sense. I was surprised by the view that skepticism was just another meme, but that is correct. Some people do not think but are automatically skeptical of anything new or different. Of course, that is sheer programming.... The chapter finishes by discussing chain letters and computer viruses.
Chapter 6: Sex: The Root of All Evolution ............................89
The most fascinating discovery of the new field of evolutionary psychology is the central role that sex plays, and has played, in shaping our modern behavior and culture. Weaving a twisted path connecting Freud, male chauvinism, puritanism, and womanizing, evolutionary psychology explains the complexity and contradiction inherent in human behavior as never before.
Viewed through memetics, all values, morals, traditions,
and ideas with respect to God and rights are the result of meme
evolution. And meme evolution is guided by our genetic tendencies, which in turn evolved around sex.
Evolutionary psychology can help explain why people are hypocritical about sex. While spreading memes that decrease others' promiscuity, such as Adultery is wrong, the hypocrite takes advantage of the very mating opportunities he speaks against. The DNA of people who do that spreads faster than the DNA of honest folk.
But life doesn't have to be about spreading DNA at all.
All these buttons and tendencies can be recognized and
overcome. Life can be about something bigger. But unless we
understand how we're wired, we can't begin to program ourselves for whatever purpose we want for our lives. pg 110
Joyfire Comment: At the end of the previous chapter Brodie explains that there is a controversial new field of evolutionary psychology—the study of how and why our minds evolved to be the way they are today. Evolutionary psychology is introduced in the discussion of our four basic drives and the nature of communication, but the subject that forms the core of evolutionary psychology is the topic of sex. Quite frankly, I disliked being forced to read this chapter that did not explain much about memes... I did think it was interesting that Brodie pointed out the hypocrisy amongst men of the church regarding sex but the subject of the evolution of cheating was extremely nauseating to me... However, that is EXACTLY where many people are in their evolution...
Chapter 7: Survival and Fear ...............................................111
Many myths and religions have some kind of threat of retribution from their god or gods, and their doctrines warn of the dangers of doing various forbidden things. Why? Because memes involving danger are the ones we pay attention to! As oral tradi- tions developed, our brains were set up to amplify the dangers and give them greater significance than the rest.
Overcoming fear requires you to train yourself to think every time you feel fear, rather than just reacting instinctively. The thought process I go through goes like this:
I'm scared. Is it physical danger? No. Well, when I make
a decision based on fear, it's often a bad one, so I'm going to
put the fear aside and ask myself, "What is my purpose in this
situation?" I'll make my decision consciously based on what
helps achieve my purpose better, rather than unconsciously on
my instinctive desire to run away from fear.
pg 123 - 124
Joyfire Comment: I think I beg to differ with the conclusions in this chapter. Some fear is useful because some intelligent people will work to mitigate possible threats. Yet, today, many people who watch TV and movies seem to want to be force fed with trauma and fear. I think this has reached the point that some people are so numbed to fear and real life danger that they ignore real threats. I will even go as far as stating some people are succumbing to designer mind viruses and are not responding to basic fear and survival memes. This is really obvious when we come up against those brainwashed to the point they become mentally ill due to their exploits in the Cultic Milieu. A relevant example is how many were mislead by 'researchers' and alarmists pushing 2012 fear based memes or the opposite fairy tale memes. Most completely failed to comprehend or ignored genuine messages preserved over thousands of years concerning the threats associated with space weather to our modern technological infrastructure caused by changes in the cosmic environment that has induced the arrival of a high energy plasma environment. Despite confirmation by space agencies of dramatic astronomical changes over many decades that validate astronomical calendars retained by indigenous groups, most preferred to pay attention to those spreading designer mind viruses rather than doing a proper analysis of what was happening to our world. Thankfully, there have been enough people who refused to accept the memes of global warming or climate change and slowly this is being replaced with the truth of space weather, space climate change and the reality of cosmoclimatology. Now, it is possible for the survival memes to kick in and operate as they should.
Chapter 8: How We Get Programmed ................................125
Memes enter our minds without our permission. They
become part of our mental programming and influence our
lives without our even being aware of it.
You can be conditioned, through repetition, to acquire
new distinction-memes that make reality look different to you
and provide reinforcing evidence that keeps those distinction-
memes in place.
In psychology, the word conditioning often refers to implanting association-memes. Pavlov's dog was conditioned to associate the ringing bell with yummy food. When the Coca-Cola Company pays millions of dollars to show you young people in bathing suits having a good time drinking their products, they are conditioning you to associate good feelings with their brands. The repetition of that commercial creates association-memes in your mind so that when you push your shopping cart down the soft-drink aisle, you get an irrational urge to buy Coke. pg 128 - 129
Cognitive dissonance can be used to create a meme of submission and loyalty to whatever authority is causing the dissonance. Fraternity hazings, boot camp, and some religious or spiritual disciplines put people through difficult tests and may demand demonstrations of loyalty before releasing the pressure. That creates an association-meme between the demonstration of loyalty and the good feeling caused by the release of pressure.
With cognitive dissonance, people end up believing they
have received something valuable, something deserving of
their loyalty, when in reality all that has happened is that the
people who were torturing them have stopped. pg 131
Prisoners of war have been programmed to submit and be loyal to their captors through this method.
The questionable memes at the end of the bundle ride into
your mind inside the Trojan horse of the acceptable memes at
the beginning. pg 133
Bundling the statements together like that is one form of a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique known as embedding, or packaging memes to make people more susceptible to them.
A related NLP technique is anchoring: taking some image, sound, or sensation and linking it to an unrelated idea. For example, a political candidate who gestures at himself when talking about a rosy future and at his opponent when preaching doom and gloom is actually anchoring good feelings to himself and bad feelings to his opponent. The repeated bundling of the gestures with the good and bad feelings creates association-memes in your mind, which will later influence the way you vote.
Joyfire Comment: Here we are told the primary methods of infecting people with memes and pushing genetic buttons. Conditioning (aka Pavlov's dogs style), Cognitive Dissonance (confusion) and Trojan horses. OK, I laughed hard at the so-called feel good factor after submission to people who have been torturing you in order to get what they want.... That is until I remembered James Ray’s Spiritual Warrior and sweat lodge retreat in October 2009, where he managed to kill three people. James Ray tortured his followers in order to lower people's resistance to mind control and to create an artifical 'enlightenment' experience so that his followers would think they had gotten their money's worth... Instead after years of getting away with this scam, he managed to kill a few followers and injure many others. Interestingly, the term 'Prisoners of war' is often used as a comparison by social scientists to describe those conditioned by the programming used by cult leaders. Thus, most of the techniques mentioned in this section are used by cult leaders to program their followers.
Chapter 9: Cultural Viruses .................................................147
Television and Advertising
Television is a particularly efficient medium for meme evolution. New shows or commercials can reach hundreds of millions of people at once. If the shows catch on—if they have good memes— the producers are rewarded with inpourings of sponsors' money, the advertising agencies are rewarded with more business, and the sponsors themselves sell more of their product. All this happens relatively quickly, perhaps in a matter of weeks or months, as opposed to the old days when culture spread mostly by countries trading with and conquering one another over the course of decades or centuries.
The evolution of commercial television programming has been toward a combination of the memes that push viewers' buttons and the memes that people want to promote.* One way this shows up is in the phenomenon of the talk show.
While it might not be apparent to the casual viewer, most of the people who appear as experts or celebrities on talk shows are there in order to promote themselves or their agenda—to spread memes. To illustrate how important this is, a hardcover book generally needs to sell 5,000 copies in a week to make the New York Times bestseller list. A single appearance by an author on America's top talk show, Oprah, commonly sells 100,000 copies of a book. But you have to write a book that Oprah wants on her show. That may not necessarily be the book you want to write.**
Truth is not one of the strong selectors for memes.
Joyfire Comment: This is a whole chapter on appealing to the lowest common denominator, i.e. the masses. The message here is that sophistication is not merited or required but pushing the basic buttons of the primitives is the way to go.... Personally, I am sick of everything being geared towards satisfying the primitives.... What's more, because of this continuous appeal to primitives, the primitives assume everybody is exactly the same as them... Please note that Brodie writes: "Truth is not one of the strong selectors for memes." Well, most people think that exaggerating and telling lies is good enough for marketing purposes... We live in bullshit societies and primitives expect to be fed large amounts of bullshit... Sadly, most comply.... This chapter finishes off by talking about journalism and government that are forced to to appeal to the lowest levels for the highest ratings. This whole chapter is nauseating, but realistic.
Chapter 10: The Memetics of Religion .................................181
The long-standing religious memes around today are the
ones that survived memetic evolution. Like any memes, you
get to choose whether programming yourself with them aids
or hinders your life purpose.
A religion formed in this way, as a cultural virus (evolved without conscious human intention), evolves not toward truth, not even toward the betterment of its adherents, but toward more effective memes. This is the most crucial point in this entire book:
Meme evolution is not designed to benefit the individual.
So for religions that were not created by individuals with the conscious intent to start a designer mind virus—which I would imagine accounts for most of the religions on Earth—the belief systems are not guaranteed either to be True or to be good ways to live life. They are, however, guaranteed to be self-perpetuating.
Joyfire Comment: The discussion of the origins of religion here is extremely poor but Brodie identifies the meme themes that explain why religions persist.
Chapter 11: Designer Viruses (How to Start a Cult) .................................195
Throughout history, there have always been those who would manipulate others in order to gain sex, money, or power. We have not yet put that era behind us. The new science of memetics provides extraordinarily powerful tools for manipulation: designer viruses that, once unleashed, self-replicate and channel people's lives toward some self-serving end. Unlike cultural viruses, which simply evolve to perpetuate themselves, these Machiavellian designer viruses serve their creators' agendas.
Now, if I was the only one who knew about these, I might not write about them. Why put more tools in the hands of the bad guys? Why risk going down in history as the new Machiavelli? I've already had a few cautions from people who fear what will happen when this technology becomes well known.
But the point is, there are already designer mind viruses out there. Telling the whole world about how they work is my attempt to level the playing field. In the same way you'd warn an innocent young virgin about a slick suitor with a philandering reputation, I feel compelled to expose the hidden workings of designer viruses. My intent is to help people keep themselves from being taken advantage of, from being unwittingly programmed by designer virus memes. pg 195 - 196
Joyfire Comment: This chapter focuses on profit viruses and some vague stuff about cults, but it is another wasted opportunity... There are plenty of websites by the disaffected that provide ample examples of those creating designer viruses in order to run cults... Maybe, the publishers did not want to be sued, but really, this chapter is poor.
Chapter 12: Disinfection .......................................................211
Scientific revolutions often bring with them profound philosophical questions. The memetics revolution is no different. We can't even talk about disinfecting ourselves and society from mind viruses without bringing up two very important ethical questions.
Here's the first: I've named this chapter "disinfection," but given that our minds are made up of genetic hardware and memetic software, what does it even mean to be disinfected? Certainly not to wipe out all of our memes! What memes do you want to be programmed with? This is the classic philosophical question: How should I behave? brought to a new level: How should I program myself?
The second ethical question is one already being pondered by psychologists and NLP practitioners. What memes do you want to program other people with? What memes should I spread? The knowledge that you can actually have a huge impact on other people through the memes you spread carries with it a correspondingly huge responsibility.
pg 211 - 212
The Quest for truth
What memes should you program yourself with, now that you have the chance? The second-most-popular answer (after punting) is: With the truth. It's hard to see how there could be any problem with programming yourself with memes that are true. But remember Alfred North Whitehead: all truths are half-truths.
Zen and the Art of Devirusing
Although Zen masters never heard of the word meme, becoming aware of the memes that program one is the essence of the Zen discipline. There is incredible value in learning how to free yourself from the prison of thoughts and mind programs anytime you want to.
Zen practitioners meditate and ponder riddle-lessons called koans in an effort to retrain their minds to do just that. They learn to take in exactly what their senses perceive and to dissolve the artificial distinction-memes of human ideas and concepts.
Joyfire Comment: I think this book points people in the right direction but I realise the need for seeking truth and some form of inner reflection sounds too spiritual for many people but I don't think there is any other way to rid yourself of mind viruses. I believe this is why old mystics separated themselves from society by going off and living in caves. I have done the inner reflection work for decades and I believe it helps you to become an antenna that can more easily distinguish truth from lies. These days I can even smell people, locations and even websites where there are issues. The mention for the need for evangelism is important. It is now my strong belief that designer mind viruses have got too strong and people are losing basic fear and survival memes. What I mean by this is that most who are awake will react if they realised they were in a building that was on fire, at the very least they would shout FIRE! Our world is on cosmic fire but too many people due to ignorance and being numbed by designer mind viruses cannot detect that anything of significance is happening. So, this chapter ends by discussing the need for education and encouraging people to think.... In terms of evolution, how the mind links up information by metaphors is a sure sign of evolution and is often associated with synaesthesia, another sign of evolution. Those who are spreading the designer mind virus of 'not thinking' are those who benefit from having easily manipulated and mind controlled slaves. If you come across these people, my designer mind virus advises you to run like hell.
Joyfire Commentary Conclusion
The book Virus of the Mind is aimed at non academics but there is enough useful information and ideas to make this a worthwhile read for anyone interesting in progressing with their spiritual development. For those who have seen what have been called 'astral spiders' or even 'insects' that inhabit the astral planes, some may want to reconsider exactly what these beings represent. Personally, I think the evidence is that the human mind can be co-opted by mind viruses and those viruses are real living entities. Since so many people are desperate for power and control, it is not a stretch to imagine that malignant narcissists filled with greed and a need to control others around them would conjure up a parasitic mind virus and then foist this on those around them, if they think it will give them the power and control they seek. Even if you can't believe that mind viruses exist in the ethers, mind viruses do exist as bad memes. Cults can only exist because people can be manipulated through the use of powerful memes that encourage people to give up their time and energy to a cult leader in order to pursue some mission. Whatever, due to Memetics being an important subject to understand in terms of spiritual evolution, my recommendation is BUY!