Memetic Demons

The darker side of memetic totems

memetic demon
Image from Bernd Helfert

Memetic Demons are self-perpetuating patterns which use mental and social processes as their hardware and software, propagating ideas and belief systems with negative social and psychological effects.

Where - as standard totemic memes often work to attain the best for all sentients they come in contact with, or at least maintain an equilibrium (happiness vs. suffering, life vs. death), memetic demons seem to promote their own group or cause at the expense of all others. This may include any number of clever and insidious behaviors that either attack sentients external to the group or coerce the initiation of individuals reasoned to be "strong" in some regard. Some would argue that whether a self-conscious meme is an angel or demon is a matter or perspective. But there are definitely commonalities between self-conscious memes that are held to be "demons" or "angels". It should also be stressed that the consciousness of a self-conscious meme lies not in the individuals so much as the group. Although having many individuals separated for long periods of time does take its toll on a totemic meme, they often recruit new members to replace their departed ranks. Also, it is not totally impossible for individuals to wrestle with the totemic meme for control or even personally disregard the totem completely.

Just as each mind involved at one time in a memetic totem can be a potential seed for a new totem, so too are there "demon seeds" waiting in various individual notes of conscious (brains, etc.) to be wreaked upon an unsuspecting group.
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Development Notes
Text by Peter Kisner
Initially published on 08 December 2001.