on explosive memes: ideas have implications

meme as idea virus

This blog is all about passing along some of the stuff I'm learning, in the hope that it well be helpful to others trying to figure out how the world works.

Naturally, I have favorite sources that help me do that, and Dave Pollard is high on this list.

So, I wasn't all that surprised to find Pollard's post today deeply resonating with my own sense of peace that comes from knowing something important (via how to save the world).

Says Pollard, "I'm very quiet these days." Me too.

Pollard continues:

"I've become the person I said those 'too far ahead' must become: accepting, responsible (without laying guilt or blame), joyful (alive in the moment) and purposeful (towards a full, natural life). And quiet, reflective, thoughtful, attentive, even patient."

Take the initial discussions last evening at Kauai's new Global Warming Task Force, catalyzed by Keone Kealoha and Malama Kauai. In earlier times, I might have jumped in to rescue weak thinkers from themselves, flogging them with factoids for further fabrication of their fervor.

Instead, I let pass unremarked the self-congratulatory chat about the large share of hybrids in the parking lot.

Okay, there was one moment when I couldn't help myself: As the group wrangled over whether to call it 'global warming' or 'climate change', I lofted the notion that 'sustainability' might suffice, as that's how we're gonna fix the anthropogenic excess.

Still, like Pollard, I'm less and less inclined to proselytize these days. Never mind how difficult it is to explain, within the attention span of the average listener, how we have arrived at hard-won conclusions.

Says Pollard:

"I'm delighted at the number of people, readers of my work and composers of their own, who seem to be on the same wavelength that I am on, but they've reached that point by their own arduous and tortuous journey.

We are, all of us who concede that our civilization's time is probably running out and the best approach now is local, community-based, model-creating actions, not a new political, economic or social movement or revolution, too far ahead to be able to explain to others, easily or simply, how we have arrived at the philosophical space we currently occupy.

And we are, as well, too far ahead to go back, or to wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

So we shut up and, in the company of those not yet ready for what we believe and what we have to say, we say nothing.

We have given up arguing with the deniers, the apologists, the technophiles and rhapsodists who still think our manifest destiny is to be 'saved', by our own ingenuity or some higher power."

Resonate with you? Go read Pollard's full-on make-ya-cry kine essay.

Okay, so, what's this got to do with memes? And wot is a meme, anyway? (meme /meem/ n. An idea considered as a replicator, esp. with the connotation that memes parasitize people into propagating them much as viruses do.)

Want an example of a meme? Here's an infectious, explosive meme that seems to have caught on:

"Seeking 'solutions' as 'ways to keep things mostly the way they are'." (borrowed from this riff by James Howard Kunstler)

Never mind that this is completely mistaken...it's got legs, somehow.

Published by Ken on June 1st, 2007 tagged HI-specific, Systems Thinking

2 Responses to “on explosive memes: ideas have implications”

  1. Keone Says:


    Thanks for the mention Ken (I think). I believe we'll parlay the best bits of last night's meeting towards the obvious intention of reducing global warming. I posted this story in the Malama Kaua'i Newsletter that went out this morning and wanted to share another perspective on the same gathering:

    "Leadership Kaua'i Group Seeks a Global Warming Strategy for Kaua'i"

    The same group from Leadership Kaua'i that organized the showing last December of "An Inconvenient Truth" at KCC's Performing Arts Theater hosted the kick off meeting for a Kaua'i based Global Warming Task Force on Thursday, May 31 at the Kapa'a Neighborhood Center.

    Indeed global warming is a time sensitive issue that will take changes in lifestyle from everyone to overcome. So what was the next step proposed by those in attendance last evening? To gain consensus on the best message that will motivate large scale, community action and self responsibility.

    The approach?

    To cast a net to groups that are already organized and concerned about global warming, as well as any individuals, and utilize the power of coalition to solidify, in one meeting, the public message and short list of strategy points to best motivate our community towards reducing our global warming impact on the Earth. As an example, existing coalitions, like the Eco-Roundtable, that bring together many groups are effective networking forums that harness the power of collaboration for positive change. The feeling was that a new group is not needed to motivate Kaua'i towards change, rather, we just need to inspire existing groups to focus on this issue for the term of one meeting to reach a shared position on global warming. With consensus in hand, each group can disseminate that position to their own networks and start to build a unified approach towards the most immediate, most responsible choices.

    As a follow up to producing a shared global warming strategy, the idea to organize an event that appealed to the majority of residents, an informational yet entertaining event, where the refined message and short list of action steps could be presented was proposed. While a downstream intention, events to rally the general public in a way that everyone can easily participate in a grand solution are great ways to deliver and motivate.

    We all know the window for talking about global warming is closing, we need to mobilize and act!

    If you know of an organization or individual that should participate in the message and strategy meeting please have them email keone@malamakauai.org to be notified on the details.

  2. Ken Stokes Says:

    You go guy! As I blogged about your efforts previously, I'm totally into followership here. And your efforts last evening were greatly appreciated. You give great facilitation, dude! And I tho't you had just the right touch for a catalytic kind of meeting. We're there. Lead on!