Symbiotic Wars

by lsusr1 min read4th Dec 20196 comments

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Memetics
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A meme is a self-replicating pattern of information. Some change. Some survive. Some die out.

The most virulent memes often reproduce themselves via their own inverses. Talking about how Flat Earthers are wrong increases awareness of the Flat Earther meme. Increasing awareness of the Flat Earther meme equals proliferating the Flat Earther meme. Anti Flat Earthers[1] spawn Flat Earthers. Flat Earthers spawn Anti Flat Earthers. Every Anti Flat Earther contains a dormant Flat Earther meme.

A scholar is just a library's way of making another library.

— Daniel Dennett

In this way Flat Earthers and Anti Flat Earthers are different stages of a single meme's lifecycle. If the Anti Flat Earthers' objective is to spread the Anti Flat Earth meme then this information reverb benefits the Anti Flat Earthers.

Capitalism and Communism are two halves of the most successful meme in history, the Cold War. Capitalism was defined by its opposition to Communism. Communism is defined by its opposition to Capitalism. It doesn't matter that Communist states spread a twisted version of Capitalism and Capitalist states spread a twisted version of Communism. During the Cold War, the title of your economic ideology mattered more than than your real-world economy.

Fighting a meme makes it stronger. The best way to kill a meme is to ignore it.

This presents a collective action problem. If you tell everyone to ignore the X meme then you've told everyone about X thereby spreading the X meme. Attacking a meme wins you Pyrrhic victories. To kill a meme you have to make the meme irrelevant by transcending it.

The Cold War meme died when the divide between Capitalism and Communism ceased to be meaningful. The Chinese Communist Party manages the world's largest capitalist economy. By 1901 Bolshevik standards, NATO is an alliance socialist nations.


  1. "Anti Flat Earther" is a different meme from "physics". Anti Flat Earthers refute Flat Earthers' arguments. The physics meme ignores quibble. ↩︎

Memetics1
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" The Cold War meme died when the divide between Capitalism and Communism ceased to be meaningful. The Chinese Communist Party manages the world's largest capitalist economy. "

Neither of these claims really seems to be correct to me. They strike me more a memenic statement than a true representation of history or the state of the world today.

I do agree that the terms socialism, capitalism and communism all are poorly defined and enjoy a lot of equivicational use where speakers are talking past one another.

I would say the cold war meme "died" not due to labels having meaning or clearly separating form of governance but because the "radical" communist disappear -- by that I mean the communist regimes (USSR, primarily, and China) both stopped acting in as empires bent on extending imperial reach and dominance and expanding their borders.

This reminds me of the SSC post toxoplasma of rage (see especially section V).

I was thinking about toxoplasma while writing this post, but didn't know what it was called. I even used the War on Terror as an example in my rough draft before editing it out.

With ramifications for psychotherapy, especially if self directed.

Also a major theme of the Bhagavad Gita.

I feel like this was rendered its own explicit meme in the form of The Game.

Other mutations of "don't think of a white bear" (Dostoevsky) include rules 1 and 2 of Fight Club, the card game Mao which disallows any discussion of its rules, The Streisand Effect, and "Milhouse isn't a meme" (4chan).