X-Message-Number: 90
From arpa!cs.cmu.edu!tsf Fri May 26 16:22:03 EDT 1989

Received: from PROOF.ERGO.CS.CMU.EDU by PROOF.ERGO.CS.CMU.EDU; 26 May 89 
16:22:06 EDT
To: kqb%
Reply-to: Tim Freeman <>
Subject: CRYONICS; Deathoid Meme
Date: Fri, 26 May 89 16:22:03 EDT
Message-ID: <>
Status: R

I'll try answering some of the questions.  I'm shooting from the hip
here, so don't take me too seriously.

  What niche does this meme occupy?  

How one thinks about death.

  What other memes occupy this niche?

The cryonics/immortalist meme, reincarnation, belief in an afterlife,
maybe others.

  What are the symptoms of being infected by this meme?

A passive response to failing health, old age, and impending death,
assuming the person doesn't immediately commit suicide.

  How does this meme reject competing memes and retain control of the host?

The usual scheme is for one meme to make the host feel bad while
contemplating the competing memes.  Each competitor for this site
(immortalism, reincarnation, afterlife, deathoid) makes the host feel
bad when contemplating the other competitors for this site.  If I
subjunctively believe each of the choices and consider the others, it
seems that reincarnation could easily lose control to the immortalist
or afterlife memes, but all of the others are quite stable.

  What natural defense mechanisms do we have against this meme?

I'm not aware of anything "natural" that is in my head, other than
instincts.  It would seem that fear of death is instinctive, which
would give immortalism an advantage over this pro-death idea.

  What kinds of vaccinations can one get to protect one from this meme?

One vaccination is to reject all new ideas.  Of course, that
vaccination has a bad side effect, namely obsolescence.

The vaccination I use is a part of Neuro-Linguistic Programming called
the meta-model (my apologies for the jargon).  This is basically a
procedure that, given a vague utterance, returns questions you can ask
to resolve the vagueness.  Each question challenges a specific vague
word in the utterance.  This is described in The Structure of Magic by
Bandler and Grinder (Volume 1, chapter 4 is about the only useful part
of the book).  If I run this procedure on the sentence "Death provides
life with all its meaning", I get the questions:

1. How does death give life meaning?  (challenging the word "provides")
2. What does life mean in the presence of death? ("meaning")
3. Whose death? ("death")
4. Whose life? ("life")
5. Is there really no meaning at all to life without death? ("all")

Some of these questions are stupid (3 and 4), but others firmly point
to flaws in the belief (1, 2, and 5).  Despite loud protestations of
rationality, people usually believe what feels good.  I find that my
feelings are more accurate when I know all of the answers to the
questions that the meta-model brings up.

Some of NLP is pretty weird, but the meta-model is one part of it that
works very well for me.

(Note: Asking yourself the questions generated by the meta-model is a
very good idea.  Asking your friends these questions may piss them
off, especially if you don't edit out the stupid questions, or if they
have contradictions in their head they would rather not deal with.)

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