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On The Warrior Prophet posted 28 February 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionOn The Warrior Prophet by Skyfell, Commoner

Let's drag in another science and get back to the books at once.

Memetics is the study and theory of the spread of ideas and behaviors between people. One of the basic concepts is to view memes (units of transferable information (pronounced like 'genes' which inspired the term)) as entities which are subject to evoltionary pressures. Which means that the ideas you're most likely to find in a random person's head are those that are best able to spread from person to person.

Also, obviously, what ideas are already established in a person's brain affects the spread of other ideas. The idea that Kellhus was more than human was able to spread through the Holy War because the Men of the Tusk believed that gods sometimes walk the world as men.

In sf I've read, memetics is weaponized/made terrible by presenting it as some sort of alien sound or image that completely takes over the mind of anyone that encounters it. I don't think that's probable because everyone has a slightly different mind by nature, before nuture steps in.

More realistic and more worrisome is that if that underlying state and the noosphere (idea-space) of a person can be quantified, then a computer could be programed to do just what the Dunyain do to the world-born: come up with a flawed/directed idea-chain that someone will believe. (Actually, I've read sf that take that approach too, but it was writen before memetics became cool.)

So, since it does seem to be possible, let's consider: How responsible should Cnaiur be held for his part in the murder of his father, Skiotha? Without outside influence, he would never have done it.

People choose (assuming they do) based on what they believe. Right? Insanity and temporary insanity are accepted by most legal systems as reason for not being responsible. Truly believing bizarre things, against evidence, is often classified as insanity. But when your beliefs can be altered..?

Jonathan view post


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