Sunday, 27 October 2013

Memetic hazard

Memetic hazards are extreme bad memes - or collections of bad memes. They are sources of culturally-induced harm.

I don't have much to add to Aetheric Research's description of a "memetic hazard" - so I'll just quote it:

A memetic hazard is defined as information with three main attributes. The first attribute is that it spreads from person to person, whether through personal contact or some form of recording. The second attribute is that this information causes some form of distress, whether as benign as mental stress to the individual or as dangerous as societal dysfunction. The third attribute is that it must cause preoccupation–that is to say, it maintains sufficient presence in the host’s mind that either a significant portion of his attention remains focused on it, or it plays a significant part in his decision-making process.
I might be inclined to play down the significance of the last attribute. One important way of measuring memetic hazards is by their severity. Some memetic hazards waste a small quantity of time. Others take over people's lives and ruin them.

Propaganda represents a memetic hazard on a national scale.

One academic source that covers memetic hazards is Nick Bostrom's Information Hazards: A Typology of. Potential Harms from Knowledge. Nick focuses on harm from accurate knowledge. Of course, most memetic hazards are not of this kind.

Memetic hazards are a type of information hazard. Want to be specific? Use the term 'memetic hazard'. Want a more general term that also covers individual learning? Use the term 'information hazard'.

Memetic hazards are not necessarily harmful to all. Some will have strong memetic immune systems. Some may actively benefit in some way from propagating them.


  1. With the background colour of BLACK, it is impossible to read the text.
    Cannot even FORCE myself to read the text. Goodbye

    1. It's easy to read -_-

    2. Agreed, it's easy to read, however, it is possible that some peoples eyes have been over exposed to other tones, causing this contrast to be a hindrance. I recommend the publisher use a neutral background, like myself, I like to use a dark gray.

    3. It might help to highlight it with your mouse.

    4. There must be an ulterior motive behind your criticism, since this sort of computer background is often suggested for people who are visually challenged.


  2. Once upon a time, there was no snake, there was no scorpion,
    There was no hyena, there was no lion,
    There was no wild dog, no wolf,
    There was no fear, no terror,
    Man had no rival.

    In those days, the land Shubur-Hamazi,
    Harmony-tongued Sumer, the great land of the me of princeship,
    Uri, the land having all that is appropriate,
    The land Martu, resting in security,
    The whole universe, the people well cared for,

    To Enlil in one tongue gave speech.
    Then the lord defiant, the prince defiant, the king defiant,
    Enki, the lord of abundance, whose commands are trustworthy,
    The lord of wisdom, who scans the land,
    The leader of the gods,
    The lord of Eridu, endowed with wisdom,
    Changed the speech in their mouths, put contention into it,
    Into the speech of man that had been one.

    1. [Guttural Call followed by ETERNAL silence]

  3. I believe that "Pain Olympics", "Lemon Party", and "Two Girls, One Cup" are all memetic hazards. (If you're reading this comment and don't actually know what these are, do yourself a favor and don't look them up. You will regret it.)

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  5. Blue waffle is a good memetic hazard.

  6. Occam's razor: just call it a viral lie, a fake, memetic disinformation or like.

    1. I mean why invent a new term which requires elaborate definition.