View Full Version : How do you kill an idea?
11-15-2002, 01:07 PM
I got to wondering. Say that you wanted to stamp out an idea. How could you do so?
1) Kill everyone and everything associated with it
2) Create a better idea that serves the purpose of the first, and let natural selection take over.
3) Wait it out.
Does anyone else have any (hah) ideas?
11-15-2002, 01:14 PM
Tell Your wife about Your idea.
She will stomp You into reality again. ;)
11-15-2002, 01:14 PM
You'll need to at least give a context for the idea. If you must remaing generic I'd say marketing. Having a better idea is often not as important as having one that is well presented.
11-15-2002, 01:37 PM
You find a way for everyone to ignore it for one reason or another. Ideas can not survive without an audience. Aristarchus believed the sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe in ancient times. He was ignored because that simply didnt make sense with the knowledge of the time. Roger Bacon (not Francis) stated that people should do experimentation to study nature in the 13th or 14th (or around then) century, but nobody really needed or cared (or even wanted) to know about that type of knowledge about the universe. You can find a lot of ideas that may be in tune with what we currently deem as the correct view of the world, but were simply ignored as crackpot or not useful. An idea is nothing without an audience, at least from the viewpoint of intellectual history.
11-15-2002, 02:34 PM
The best way to kill an idea is with a better idea. Religion is a prime example of this. History shows that polytheism (the belief in many gods) was once the prime religion of the world and while it still exists, most of the world is now monotheistic (the belief in only one god). The best example of this is the Roman Empire. It had a pantheon of gods, and then came Christianity and while it took 400 years, the Roman Empire finally changed to that religion. Sometimes this does not work; bad ideas that seem better are really not. Communism is an example of this. It did not work for the people of Russia, and I believe that in time it will fall in countries that continue to use that form of government, like China.
11-15-2002, 02:41 PM
The best way to kill an idea is with a better idea. It's called memetics and this battling of ideas for space in our heads has resulted in much human conflict and suffering under the guises of religion and patriotism.
11-15-2002, 02:51 PM
...tell it to a Democrat.
11-15-2002, 02:52 PM
It is intolerance, greed and/or the lust for power that causes conflict. Ideas in and of themselves are not bad or good, but the use to which they are put that is the cause of conflict. Our judicial system is based on conflict; with a prosecutor and a defender, does that mean it should not be used to determine the facts of a given event? Evolution occurs in ideas as well as in nature and sometimes this can cause conflict; but does that mean that a new idea should be ignored because it can be used to cause human suffering or war?
11-15-2002, 03:07 PM
Evolution occurs in ideas as well as in nature and sometimes this can cause conflict; but does that mean that a new idea should be ignored because it can be used to cause human suffering or war?No, it means we have to be aware and protect against acting as a part of a memetic super-organism to the effect of sacrificing what would otherwise seem blatantly clear. I'm talking about classic Us against Them mentalities. You can't murder people, or rape people, or burn people, as long as they are one of "Us". But when it's one of "Them" all bets are off. Basically, it means not just living consciously, but consciously choosing the memes I allow to program me.
For a great read on the history of this effect read "The Lucifer Principal" by Howard Bloom in which he attempts to describe a biological and memetic theory on the origins of evil. He also delves deep into group mentality and super organism theory.
11-15-2002, 03:38 PM
I'm talking about classic Us against Them mentalities.
That is intolerance and history is full of examples of that mentality, but that was not my point, which is that the best way to kill an idea is with a better idea. It is human nature to think that your group is superior to another group; that is the basis for prejudice, which is bad, and patriotism, which is good. Even intolerance can lead to progress by motivating those who are unjustly treated, as in the case of civil rights or burning people at the stake for daring to believe that the Earth is not the center of the universe (as Giordano Bruno was in 1614) motivated others like Johannes Kempler to prove that Bruno was right. I submit that the debate over ideas is good, even if it causes conflict, and that is how we progress.
11-15-2002, 04:19 PM
No, no no 'The Best Way to Kill an Idea' is to steal it.
Make it your own, promise that you'll embrace it, that you think it's important. Then, when you have people convinced, do bugger all. Or just a little bit, for show.
Impose taxes for phony implementations and tell the people it's really up to themselves to make it actually work.
Happens all the time.
11-15-2002, 04:23 PM
It is human nature to think that your group is superior to another group; that is the basis for prejudice, which is bad, and patriotism, which is good. Patriotism is not always good. How many attrocities have been committed for one's country? Herein lies the danger of memes (ideas). To grow and thrive they use tactics that demean and attempt to destroy competing memes. The problem is that qualities like truth and overall goodness do not dictate a particular meme's success. If they did then having a "better" idea would be enough to kill poor ideas. But meme's are tricky bastards and they build in defenses that are not about quality, morality, nor rationality, but rather are soley devised to protect the existence of the meme.
Take many world religions for example. To maintain there existence they rely on several tactics that I would say are bad:
They promise rewards/threaten punishment after you are dead.
This is a neat little trick that makes all material rewards essentially intangible. They can't be proved or disproved. Why I otta . . .
They require Faith (dogmatic virtue)
They typically make the very act of questioning the religion a sin. In this way they protect themselves from intense scrutiny. If the subject is convinced he will burn with a lack of faith (a claim which is totally without reasonable evidence or rationality) the meme threatens pain if a person tries to give it the boot.
Now these tricks are awful in my book and a much "better" idea is the Church of Virus (http://virus.lucifer.com/about.html) philosophy:Virus was originally created to compete with the traditional (irrational) religions in the human ideosphere with the idea that it would introduce and propagate memes which would ensure the survival and evolution of our species. The main advantage conferred upon adherents is Virus provides a conceptual framework for leading a truly meaningful life and attaining immortality without resorting to mystical delusions. But will such an idea triumph in modern days? Probably not given that much of the world is awash in mystical ancient memes that have been pounded into them since childhood which use fear and circular reasoning to perpetuate their existence.
The memes aren't only passive is the real problem. Part of ensuring their survival is destroying competing memes. So you will find it very common for people to feel a real hatred and desire to destroy those who are different. This, theoretically, is the result of the selfish memes and the phenomenon that we must defend against.
In the end it seems that the most effective way to destroy an idea is to force humans to wipe out and destroy the others who posess the idea. Selfish memes result in conflicts for this reason. Rational debate, intelligent conversation, logic, reason, and testability are all good things, but unfortunately they are nothing in the face of memes willing to cheat. If only an ideas goodness would ensure that it replaced primitive memes, but alas, the defenses are dug deep into our culture and our psyche. I dream of the day when magic gods and superstitious prayer fall to reason, but we are far, far, away. I fear that nationality and religion may just end up destroying us all.
11-15-2002, 04:26 PM
Ridicule helps a lot.
11-15-2002, 04:28 PM
come out with a new idea that makes the old idea look REALLY STUPID.
spread it among high school students. old foagies hate being laughed at by kids.
11-15-2002, 05:17 PM
Originally posted by Scylla
...tell it to a Democrat. Ain't that the truth; the Democrats will adopt it, and the Republicans will pass a law against it.
11-15-2002, 05:18 PM
Bad ideas will fall to better ones, it just might take time. Even if the time needed is to allow those who hold the old idea to fade away, like the Soviet Union, or to use force like that necessary to form this country. Someone once said that “democracy was the worst possible form of government, except for all the others”. As the ideas about the best way to govern ourselves evolve there will be conflict. Of course there has been evil done in the name of patriotism, but that idea is the basis for our existence as a country and without it our lives would be worse, so when taken in total, patriotism is good. Ideas that cheat, like communism, do not last. I will agree with dalovindj about religion, but I think that the reason religion exits is that most people cannot accept that when they die, they are dead and the only immortality is the DNA they leave behind in their children. But is that bad? As I have stated before ideas like religion are not bad or good, it is how those ideas are used that are bad or good. Until human nature changes the only way to progress is by conflict because most people will not willingly give up a long held idea.
11-15-2002, 05:30 PM
so when taken in total, patriotism is good.Informed patriotism can be good. Blind patriotism is not. Just agreeing with your countries politics because you live there is not what I would consider a "good" idea. Too often these days challenges to the positions of those in power are demonized with the label "unpatriotic". It is a memetic trick to establish a morally high ground which the "Us" stand on and anyone who opposes becomes "Them". We must maintain our individual sense of what is right and wrong regardless of what the "leaders" tell us. Blind patriotism can all too easily lead to things like genocide.One poignant photo said it all: Georgia's defeated Democratic Senator, Max Cleland, sitting in a wheelchair, missing both legs and an arm lost in combat in Vietnam. This highly decorated hero was defeated by a Vietnam War draft-dodger who had the audacity to accuse Cleland of being `unpatriotic' after the senator courageously voted against giving Bush unlimited war powers. I do not recall a more shameful moment in American politics. DaLovin' Dj
11-15-2002, 05:52 PM
Have someone that is widely detested and/or thought of as a crackpot adopt the idea and spread it far and wide....It worked to stamp out the idea that one of the Tellitubies is gay, right?
11-15-2002, 07:20 PM
Informed patriotism can be good. Blind patriotism is not. Just agreeing with your countries politics because you live there is not what I would consider a "good" idea.
I would tend to associate that sort of blind adherence more with nationalism than with patriotism.
11-15-2002, 11:16 PM
Laugh at them. Then think new thoughts, and have new ideas. If you really spend time fighting old ideas, they just move around in the fringes of the whole human mind, among those who nurture disparate ideas for the sole purpose of being noticed by someone. Ideas only really grow when people start paying attention to them again.
"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other." ~ Eric Hoffer ~
11-16-2002, 08:36 AM
Sell the idea to Carrottop. The resulting collect call commercial should kill the idea rather quickly.
Or, kill the idea by putting it into practice poorly. Ideas themself have no intrinsic value, their merit is based on their practical application (or lack thereof).
11-16-2002, 09:01 PM
poison it through association with another, negative idea. For example, if you want to kill off the idea of "state's rights," you argue that it's been used to support racism in the past.
11-16-2002, 09:40 PM
How is Christianity and it's monotheism better than Hindu and its Polytheism? How is Socialism better than Democracy? What ideas are good ones? Which are bad? How do you tell for an entire people, or do you? Does feeding a more socially acceptable idea into a populace weed out the unacceptable ideas? Is Mars red, or is it just the dirt?
11-17-2002, 10:01 AM
Assign the idea to a special committee for its study. The reports and counter reports will drag on for years and possibly after the issue the idea addressed exists.
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