An Introduction to The Art of Memetics

An Introduction to The Art of Memetics
by Wes Unruh on 2008-03-31 22:57:22
tags: egregore, magic, marketing, mastermind, meme, memetics, social engineering

’The Art of Memetics’ flows through every version of who you were, are and will be, with a strength and purity of signal that is eager to assist you in becoming all you were born to be.

John Harrigan
Artistic Director

When Michael asked if we wanted to present a portion of the book, the Introduction immediately came to mind, in part because I know it will benefit from live hyperlinks, in part because the chapters do build on each other, and the best stand-alone portion of the text for Key64 was already excerpted (see Talismatic Texts).

We wanted people to use this book effectively, and pass the book along to others who will find it engaging as well… and we've tried to make this preliminary time between the book being written and the first edition a period in which to launch a discussion about these ideas. We're looking to see what people have to say about the book, because we want other perspectives on these phenomena by which to broaden our own insights as well as clarifying the more occult points throughout the text.

Eventually we'd like to publish a revised, expanded second edition based on the feedback from this Mastermind Edition. Reading the Mastermind Edition brings you in on the discussion toward creating the revised, second edition, which will (we hope) become something of a fool-proof cookbook for personal branding, manipulation of egregores, and trans-media narrative magic, (something I've been thinking of it as logomancy for the last few days).

For now, though, Edward and I would love it if you'd read this book. Buying this book gives us much needed funds to purchase an ISBN and work out a distribution method via booksurge while printing up promo copies to land a Revised, Second Edition publishing contract getting this out into more places.

We feel this book is important, so does Joseph Matheny.

Chapter 0: Introduction:

The last 15 years have been a most formative time for magick. We have seen the rise and assimilation of “technoshamanism”, we have seen cyber-guerrilla and culture jamming tactics co-opted and “rebranded” as viral marketing. Seth Godin has replaced Joey Skaggs. Is any of this bad news? No. I quote the poet Diane DiPrima, who answered a similar question I posed to her in 1992*:

JM: It seems to me that rebellion itself has become a commodity, the media has co opted rebellions like rock-n-roll, Dada, Surrealism, poetry, the rebel figure. Do you feel that this co option has succeeded in making rebellion somewhat ineffectual?

DD: No. What your seeing is an old problem in the arts. Everything is always co opted, and as soon as possible. As Cocteau used to talk about, you have to be a kind of acrobat or a tightrope walker. Stay 3 jumps ahead of what they can figure out about what your doing, so by the time the media figures out that your writing, say, women and wolves, your on to finishing your Alchemical poems or something. It's not just a point of view of rebellion or outdoing them, or anything like that. It's more a point of view of how long can you stay with one thing. Where do you want to go? You don't want to do anything you already know or that you've already figured out. So it comes naturally to the artist to keep making those jumps, that is ,if they don't fall into the old “jeez, I still don't own a microwave” programs.

JM: Do you feel that there's a somewhat centralized or conscious attempt to defuse radical art or rebellion through co option or is it just “the nature of the beast”, so to speak.

DD: I think it goes back and forth. There are times when it's conscious, but not a single hierarchical conspiracy but rather a hydra headed conspiracy. Then there are other times that it doesn't need to be conscious anymore, because that 's the mold, that pattern has been set, so everyone goes right on doing things that way. I'm not quite sure which point we're at right now in history. It's so transitional and crazy that I wouldn't hazard a guess. Just check your COINTELPRO history to see an example of a conscious conspiracy to stop us. Other times it was just a repetition of what has gone on before. Like the ants going back to where the garbage used to be. (laughs)

I couldn't agree more. Back in the day, when I first started disseminating the Incunabula Papers via xerox, BBS, Gopher, FTP and eventually Web, eBook, print and audiobook* I was part of a new culture of on-line tricksters, mages, clowns, and poets, known collectively as “culture jammers” (Mark Dery's claim to ownership of the term not withstanding). 10 years later, I was being contacted by representatives of corporate brands to 'do that thing' for their products. Eventually, someone dubbed 'that thing' as viral marketing, which was to morph in a few directions, one of which was Alternate Reality Gaming and a myriad of other 'services' and methods of hawking wares. I give you this thumbnail look at the history of on-line meme tennis for a reason. For a few years, I actually resisted using the power of 'that thing' to push commercial products and quite honestly, I still get a mild case of willies when I think about it (accusations of mind control techniques and black ops notwithstanding), however lately, I think I'm more in Diane's camp. Time to get on to the next thing. The book you hold in your hands represents the budding first wave of the thousand flowers that are about to bloom. Wes and Edward go to the next phase of what I was hacking at with the equivalent of a stone axe when I was working on primitive experiments like the MetaMachine* (circa 1997), in which I attempted to divine the alchemical essences of the cyber-noosphere using cyborganics.

Moving far ahead of such Rube Goldberg attempts, Wes and Edward have drawn up a capable roadmap which leads…where? The good news is, they don't know anymore than you or I do. The even better news is, they don't pretend to know. Most people hammer your mind with Thesis>Antithesis>Synthesis or as my my old friend the late Robert Anton Wilson said: “Here's what is is, here's what it isn't, now here's why you need to go tell everyone how smart I am.” I can't tell you how much that tired old formula skeeves me. When I do see people brave enough to (god forbid!) put the onus of drawing a conclusion back on the reader (heresy!), I am not only relived (what, me have to think?) my faith in humanity has it's execution stayed another day.

When the late Dr. Hyatt asked me for a pull quote for The Psychopath' Bible I chose to say: “Do not take anything in this book literally! Wait, on second thought, take it all literally!” to which many people said, “hah-hah” or “typical Matheny” but I actually put a lot of thought into that recommendation and came to the conclusion that it was the most accurate advice I could give someone who was about to read that book. Now I am faced with a similar conundrum. What to say? How many pages could I go on about what you're about to read? In the end, why should I? (word count quotas not withstanding). I think we live in a time where we often use too many words to say too little. This is why my old friend Hakim Bey said, in the TAZ Tapes, “Sometimes in bookstores I experience moments of nausea when I think about adding one more word to all that fucking print.*” Therefore- Reductio ad absurdum . I am left with this:

Open your mind. Try not to know too much. Read this book.

Beyond that, what you do with the knowledge, tactics, world views and revelations that it will inevitably open up, is, as it has always been, up to you. The clock is ticking. What are you going to do with the time?

Joseph Matheny
Munich, Germany

*. 21

For the book itself, click here: