Sunday, June 10, 2007

How to Kill Memes…

Remember Math beats Faith?

That’s how to kill memes – by not allowing them to spread. And to prevent them from flying through history you do not have to stop them everywhere. You just have to find the “critical fraction p(c) of nodes”, but even “little knowledge of the well-connected sites is sufficient to strongly reduce p(c)”.

That’s the reason why the governments spy on their citizens by just counting phone calls and the time spent for.

So if you want to attack a meme, say something like “dark-skinned persons are less valuable than light-skinned ones”, don’t waste your energy by convincing followers. They may seem to agree, but when they meet their master, they will change their minds again like weathercocks.

You have to find the “opinion leaders”, the “critical fraction p(c) of nodes” by something like counting – because many people quote them or refer to something they said. Then you have two ways to continue: first) convince them, second) isolate them. Easy to see, that the first way is the most effective one, because you do not only prevent the meme from flourishing, you can use the “connections of the node” to spread the opposite, say “all people are equal”.

But alas, opinion leaders often love “the power to rule the spirit” and are not convincible – so the next advice given by the math of the scale-free network is: destroy their connections.

You see that all the time in politics or business, when they try to defame opponents.

And you can see the risk in this – if you want to kill memes just to better the world, you cannot act like governments or careerists, you cannot pretend, that your “divine end justifies the means” ...

oh, and not just because of some “moral considerations” – it is just about plausibility. To attack memes you have to attack their “plausibility”, their inner strength and coherence, and that inevitably means, that you must be able to offer “more of that”. Memes can only be spread due to their own inner logic. So “evil memes” you spread with evil persons, thoughts and actions and the “good memes” require good persons, thoughts and actions.

That is, how it works.


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