From "Viruses of the Mind' by Dawkins, a contributor to meme theory.
Dawkins wrote with some asperity for he'd found that his ex-wife sent their 6 year old daughter for Roman Catholic instruction without her father's knowledge or consent. Dawkins used Catholicism as an example of a memetic 'virus of the mind'. Roman Catholics and devout Christians will probably find his article painful and offensive.
Despite his rancor, Dr Dawkins' paper offers us a powerful framework that some might find helpful in demystifying the process of LGAT recruitment and indoctrination.
'A human child is shaped by evolution to soak up the culture of her people...When you are pre-programmed to absorb useful information at a high rate, it is hard to shut out pernicious or damaging information at the same time...Like immune-deficient patients, children are wide open to mental infections that adults might brush off without effort.'
(This is analogous to formatting a computer's hard-drive, to free up 'disk space' so that a new set of programs can be rapidly installed. Sleep deprivation, music, lovebombing, shame, ridicule, peer pressure, NLP, trance induction can be used in various combinations to reduce a collection of adult minds to a state of regressed childlike receptivity.
Perhaps without full awareness of doing so, Leaders doing this profess to be your buddies while covertly acting from a position of power, refusing to be vulnerable and open minded themselves while demanding that YOU be vulnerable and 'open minded' relation to [i:023896db3c]them[/i:023896db3c].
They demand that you be open minded want to scrub your 'hard drive' clean so they can download LGAT viruses and reduce your inner life to dreary, robotic uniformity.
Remember: problematic LGATs are profit driven--these are not mental health professionals who are accountable to codes of ethics.
Do you let just anyone re-format your PC?
Yet there seems to be a strange bias in the New Age/Human Potential crowd: in the name of 'being spiritual' 'open-minded' 'enlightenment' or 'God' we are commanded to allow any and every Tom Dick and Harry to reformat our minds-and not check their credentials!
Back to Dr. Dawkins:
'Progressive evolution of more effective mind-parasites will have two aspects. New ``mutants'' (either random or designed by humans) that are better at spreading will become more numerous.
' And there will be a ganging up of ideas that flourish in one another's presence, ideas that mutually support one another just as genes do ...We expect that replicators will go around together from brain to brain in mutually compatible gangs. These gangs will come to constitute a package, which may be sufficiently stable to deserve a collective name such as Roman Catholicism or Voodoo....
'What matters is that minds are friendly environments to parasitic, self-replicating ideas or information, and that minds are typically massively infected.
'Like computer viruses, successful mind viruses will tend to be hard for their victims to detect. If you are the victim of one, the chances are that you won't know it, and may even vigorously deny it.
'Accepting that a virus might be difficult to detect in your own mind, what tell-tale signs might you look out for?
1. The patient typically finds himself impelled by some deep, inner conviction that something is true, or right, or virtuous: a conviction that doesn't seem to owe anything to evidence or reason, but which, nevertheless, he feels as totally compelling and convincing. We doctors refer to such a belief as ``faith.''
2. Patients typically make a positive virtue of faith's being strong and unshakable, in spite of not being based upon evidence. Indeed, they may feel that the less evidence there is, the more virtuous the belief . (!!!)
***This paradoxical idea that lack of evidence is a positive virtue where faith is concerned has something of the quality of a program that is self-sustaining, because it is self-referential (see the chapter ``On Viral Sentences and Self-Replicating Structures'' in Hofstadter, 1985).
***Once the proposition is believed, it automatically undermines opposition to itself. The ``lack of evidence is a virtue'' idea could be an admirable sidekick, ganging up with faith itself in a clique of mutually supportive viral programs.
3. A related symptom, which a faith-sufferer may also present, is the conviction that ``mystery,'' per se, is a good thing**. It is not a virtue to solve mysteries. Rather we should enjoy them, even revel in their insolubility.
***Any impulse to solve mysteries could be serious inimical to the spread of a mind virus. It would not, therefore, be surprising if the idea that ``mysteries are better not solved'' was a favored member of a mutually supporting gang of viruses.
Let us return to our list of symptoms that someone afflicted with the mental virus of faith, and its accompanying gang of secondary infections, may expect to experience.
4. The sufferer may find himself behaving intolerantly towards vectors of rival faiths, in extreme cases even killing ... He may be similarly violent in his disposition towards apostates** (people who once held the faith but have renounced it); or towards heretics (people who espouse a different --- often, perhaps significantly, only very slightly different --- version of the faith). He may also feel hostile towards other modes of thought that are potentially inimical to his faith, such as the method of scientific reason which may function rather like a piece of anti-viral software.***
Further on, Dawkins notes
'The internal sensations of the patient may be startlingly reminiscent of those more ordinarily associated with sexual love. This is an extremely potent force in the brain, and it is not surprising that some viruses have evolved to exploit it.
Is Science a Virus (that is, is science just another meme?)
'No. (Dawkins replies) Not unless all computer programs are viruses. Good, useful programs spread because people evaluate them, recommend them and pass them on. Computer viruses spread solely because they embody the coded instructions:
'Scientific ideas, like all memes, are subject to a kind of natural selection, and this might look superficially virus-like. But the selective forces that scrutinize scientific ideas are not arbitrary and capricious. They are exacting, well-honed rules, and they do not favor pointless self-serving behavior. (AHEM!!!)
'They (the rules of science) favor all the virtues laid out in textbooks of standard methodology: testability, evidential support, precision, quantifiability, consistency, intersubjectivity, repeatability, universality, progressiveness, independence of cultural milieu, and so on. Faith spreads despite a total lack of every single one of these virtues.
'You may find elements of epidemiology in the spread of scientific ideas, but it will be largely descriptive epidemiology. The rapid spread of a good idea through the scientific community may even look like a description of a measles epidemic. But when you examine the underlying reasons you find that they are good ones, satisfying the demanding standards of scientific method.
'In the history of the spread of faith (or cults--my note) you will find little else but epidemiology, and causal epidemiology at that. The reason why person A believes one thing and B believes another is simply and solely that A was born on one continent and B on another. Testability, evidential support and the rest aren't even remotely considered. For scientific belief, epidemiology merely comes along afterwards and describes the history of its acceptance. For religious belief, epidemiology is the root cause.'
Today is Thanksgiving. I want to thank Rick Ross, Hope, elena, Adrienne, and all who contribute their wealth of experience to this board.