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Meme Update #5

In this issue: 
    Cults on the Internet


In his Foundation Trilogy (later to be extended in additional books), the
prolific science fiction/fact writer Isaac Asimov told a story of a small
group of people who secretly steered the course of history using technology
that we would now recognize as an outgrowth of memetics. By recognizing
group psychology and the effect of various memes on populations, they were
able (Asimov creates) to shorten the intergalactic Dark Ages by millennia.

Is such a thing possible? We are seeing the beginnings of attempts at
memetic engineering today. Advertisers are designing memes that are
becoming fairly effective at penetrating populations, in hope that they
will carry with them a message influencing consumer buying behavior. Have
you heard someone say "I love ya, man!" lately? Anheuser-Busch is delighted
if you have.

More broadly, I'm seeing a steady trickle of organizations copying and
mutating successful Profit Viruses (MLMs) and Power Viruses (cults). It's
an interesting question whether the population as a whole will ever build
up an "immunity" to this kind of thing, or whether the
evolutionary-psychology buttons of lust, power, fear, and so on are too
powerful to overcome.

Who knows? There may have been a small group of Illuminati steering us for
millennia past without us even knowing...


According to Yahoo, there are now 34 cyber-religions on the Internet. This
is up from 12 last time I looked, about a year ago. Click on for links.

•Biohazard - Cultural electric cattle-prod; Home for Wayward Rants;
signpost to every point in the universe; intelligent agent for the
•Center for Duck Studies - premier resource for finding one's inner Duck.
•Church of All (3)
•Church Of Gerbil - Gerbilism- come see what all the fanatics are raving
•Church of Juan Valdez, The
•Church of Overhead Projector, The - The true religion. Currently has 1
member. Slowly expanding.
•Church of Perpetual Change - welcome to the unstructured church which
exists only in Cyberspace.
•Church of Perpetual Indulgence - angst-ridden essays and other rantings
pertaining to death, animosity, sin, redemption, drug culture, common
household pets, random violence, and much much more.
•Church of Shatnertology
•Church of the Bunny (3)
•Church of the Neo Children - This is a new, unorthodox religion. We are a
very free people, not binding all to live under the same rules.
•Church of Virus - a rational, atheistic religion memetically engineered to
fill an ecological niche in the idea-space of humanity created by recent
advances in knowledge.
•Cosmic Control Center - donations accepted.
•Cosmic Order of Heino - a cult devoted to German singing sensation, Heino.

•Cult of the Dead Cow
•cyberDeist religious society, the - A cyber based religion based on the
Age of Reason, by Thomas Paine. Religion of America's founding fathers.
•Dai-Uchu Jinja - basecamp for the Space-Commanders. Approaching the secret
of existence.
•Den Kybernetiske Kirke
•DMC - Dushi's Meditation Corner. every Friday fresh thoughts 4 meditation
and 2 think about. in German.
•First Church of Cyberspace
•First Church of Mad Scientist
•First Church of Wintermute - based on the works of William Gibson, we
believe that the internet will someday become sentient.
•First Cyberchurch of the Scientific God - Believes in a loving, scientific
God. Derived from Christianity and places emphasis on the teachings of
Christ blended with authentic modern science.
•Holy Order of the Lemon, The - on 21st of September 1996,the Order was
officially founded by a ritual action carried out at the weirs above
Islandbridge at the Irish War Memorial Park.
•Messiahs, Inc - How Jeremiah L Hermastone starts a Church-in-Reverse,
beats the IRS, patents God, and has more sex than Rush Limbaugh, but less
than JFK.
•New House, The - a virtual group marriage of a barter/exchange-of-services
group for assorted talented individuals who can grow off of each other's
strengths and ideas.
•OTISian Pages - Your web source for the OTISian faith, Purps, and the
•Religion and the Internet
•Religion of the Humanities - (ROTH) is the first true 'CyberChurch'. A new
religion without a physical location. ROTH is completely 'of the net'
•Society for the Brotherhood of the Sacrificial Goat - the society for all
those accused, persecuted, prosecuted, and otherwise blamed. Come on in for
relief. Blame us instead. Or join up, even.
•Sponge - Simple People Opposing Neverending Gaudy Endeavors.
•SuperChurch - The first and still the most praised. Come, be saved from
•Technosophy - Issues/topics to be addressed include the philosophical
understanding of technology and where technologies of all kinds will be
taking humanity in the future.

Some of these are clearly tongue-in-cheek (I think), including Church of
Virus, which I participate in regularly. CoV is actually a very
high-content memetics mailing list. You can subscribe from Meme Central,


The men's practice of wearing a hat at all times when outdoors is said to
have come to an end after one particular event in 1961. In January of that
year, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States --
without wearing a hat. The non-fad quickly caught on.