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The Good

As explained elsewhere, the name “urticator” is appropriate because I want to sting the brain with ideas. However, these shouldn't be just any old ideas, but good ideas. To put it another way, one could say that I want to have a forum in which to present my ideas, or, best of all, that I want to collect and propagate what I consider to be good ideas.

Another part of my plan for propagating good ideas is to refer to the good works and ideas of others; hence the liberal use of quotations and the assignment of ratings to works. Of course, most of the ideas I present as essays are not originally mine, so in fact the majority of this site is about the ideas of others.

There is something else interesting going on here, however, which you can see if you go one step further and ask why I would want to propagate my ideas. As a first guess, I might say that it offends me that the dynamics of memes often leads to the propagation of stupid and useless ideas. Although these dynamics are interesting and worthy of study, I won't go into detail here, except to quote an example from Virus of the Mind so you know what I'm talking about.

In the first place, any successful reporter is biased against the status quo. Why? Because nobody would go out and buy a newspaper that said, day after day, “Things are fine. Nothing to worry about.” The things-are-fine meme is a very weak one, not pressing any of our major buttons.

Thinking back to the analogy between genes and memes, the above leads me to suggest the hypothesis that intolerance is the reproductive urge of ideas, or, conversely, that the idea of universal tolerance is no better as a long-term strategy than the idea of universal celibacy. So, you might say that one of the reasons I want to create this site is that I am intolerant of foolishness.

As usual, there's another way of looking at it. On the surface, stupid and useless ideas may flourish, but underneath the good ideas are working quietly away, keeping everything running. It is just the same as with real genetics—we are aware of the cold viruses that come and go, and not so much aware of the mitochondria that power the cells. This site, then, is dedicated to the good ideas, full of truth and beauty, which, although not always visible, keep everything running.

 

  See Also

  Antiviral Memes
  Favorite Things
  Flexibility
  Heuristics
  Not All Memes Are Viral
  On Handkerchiefs
  Personality Types
  Reaction Against Button-Pushing
  Rule of Correspondence, The
  Thought, The
  Urgent vs. Important
  What Is Best?

@ March (2000)