The More You Know About Memetics, Propaganda Techniques, Social Engineering and All That Jazz……..The More You Thank Your Critical Thinking Skills, Unless, Like Li Po and Chuang Tzu,You Question Reality!!!!! — 08/12/13

For Your Entertainment (FYE)
“Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, originating from the popularization of Richard Dawkins‘ 1976 book The Selfish Gene.It purports to be an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer.”“The meme, analogous to a gene, was conceived as a “unit of culture” (an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour, etc.) which is “hosted” in one or more individual minds, and which can reproduce itself, thereby jumping from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen—when adopting the intentional stance—as an idea-replicator reproducing itself in a new host. As with genetics, particularly under a Dawkinsian interpretation, a meme’s success may be due to its contribution to the effectiveness of its host.”

“Memetics is also notable for sidestepping the traditional concern with the truth of ideas and beliefs. Instead, it is interested in their success.”

“Common media for transmitting propaganda messages include news reports, government reports, books, leaflets, movies, radio, television, and posters. In the case of radio and television, propaganda can exist on news, current-affairs or talk-show segments, as advertising or public-service announce “spots” or as long-running advertorials. Propaganda campaigns often follow a strategic transmission pattern to indoctrinate the target group. This may begin with a simple transmission such as a leaflet dropped from a plane or an advertisement. Generally these messages will contain directions on how to obtain more information, via a web site, hot line, radio program, etc. (as it is seen also for selling purposes among other goals). The strategy intends to initiate the individual from information recipient to information seeker through reinforcement, and then from information seeker to opinion leader through indoctrination.”

“A number of techniques based in social psychological research are used to generate propaganda. Many of these same techniques can be found under logical fallacies, since propagandists use arguments that, while sometimes convincing, are not necessarily valid.”

“Some time has been spent analyzing the means by which propaganda messages are transmitted. That work is important but it is clear that information dissemination strategies only become propaganda strategies when coupled with propagandistic messages. Identifying these messages is a necessary prerequisite to study the methods by which those messages are spread.”

“Social engineering is a discipline in social science that refers to efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, whether by governments or private groups.”

A social engineer is one who tries to influence popular attitudes, social behaviors, and resource management on a large scale. Social engineering is the application of the scientific method for social concern. Social engineers use the methods of science to analyze and understand social systems, so as to arrive at appropriate decisions as scientists, and not as politicians. In the political arena, the counterpart of social engineering is political engineering.

“Decision-making can affect the safety and survival of literally billions of people. As expressed by German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies in his study The Present Problems of Social Structure,society can no longer operate successfully using outmoded methods of social management. To achieve the best outcomes, all conclusions and decisions must use the most advanced techniques and include reliable statistical data, which can be applied to a social system. In other words, social engineering is a data-based scientific system used to develop a sustainable design so as to achieve the intelligent management of Earth’s resources with the highest levels of freedom, prosperity, and happiness within a population.”

“For various reasons, the term has been imbued with negative connotations. However, virtually all law and governance has the effect of seeking to change behavior and could be considered “social engineering” to some extent. Prohibitions on murder, rape, suicide and littering are all policies aimed at discouraging undesirable behaviors. In British and Canadian jurisprudence, changing public attitudes about a behaviour is accepted as one of the key functions of laws prohibiting it. Governments also influence behavior more subtly through incentives and disincentives built into economic policy and tax policy, for instance, and have done so for centuries.”

“Critical thinking is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false. It can be traced in the West to ancient Greece with its Socratic method and in the East to ancient India with the Buddhist kalama sutta and abhidharma literature. Critical thinking is an important component of most professions. It is a part of formal education and is increasingly significant as students progress through university to graduate education, although there is debate among educators about its precise meaning and scope.
Critical thinking includes identification of prejudice, bias, propaganda, self-deception, distortion, misinformation, etc. Given research in cognitive psychology, some educators believe that schools should focus on teaching their students critical thinking skills and cultivation of intellectual traits.
“There is currently a growing recognition that the Western emphasis on critical thinking has a broader and deeper impact than relates simply to cognitive skills. Le Cornu (2009) argues a case which links critical thinking to a heightened individualism which she considers is not so prevalent in the East, and suggests that education at all levels should train people in three principal types of thinking and reflection: receptive, appreciative and critical.”

“The Latin phrase cogito ergo sum; “l think, therefore l am”) is a philosophicalproposition by René Descartes. The simple meaning is that doubting one’s existence, in and of itself, proves that an “l” exists to do the doubting.”

“This proposition became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it was perceived to form a foundation for all knowledge. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception or mistake, the very act of doubting one’s own existence arguably serves as proof of the reality of one’s own existence, or at least of one’s thought.”

“Descartes’ original phrase, je pense, donc je suis, appeared in his Discourse on the Method (1637), which was written in French rather than Latin to reach a wider audience in his country than scholars. He used the Latin cogito ergo sum in the later Principles of Philosophy (1644).”

“The argument is popularly known in the English speaking world as “the cogito ergo sum argument” or, more briefly, as “the cogito“.”

“Kierkegaard argues that the value of the cogito is not its logical argument, but its psychological appeal: a thought must have something that exists to think the thought. It is psychologically difficult to think “I do not exist”. (A more correct version of this thought would be “I does not exist”.) But as Kierkegaard argues, the proper logical flow of argument is that existence is already assumed or presupposed in order for thinking to occur, not that existence is concluded from that thinking.”

“Unless like most readers educated in Chinese, Li Po’s poems are exceedingly popular; many are routinely memorized by schoolchildren. His “Quiet Night Thoughts,” in which he lies in bed and watches the bright moon, is perhaps the best known of all Chinese poems. Almost as familiar are his famous lines in an “Old Poem” describing the dream of the sage Chuang Tzu, who upon awakening remarked he did not know whether he had just dreamt he was a butterfly or if he was now a butterfly dreaming it was Chuang Tzu……..”

“A famous, yet simple, Taoistparable on the nature of reality, concerning the the philosopher Chuang Tzu, who was known, perhaps because of it, as “the butterfly philosopher“:

“One morning Chuang Tzu awoke from his sleep. Coming before his students, he said, “Last night I dreamt that I was a beautiful butterfly fluttering through the fields. Now I awaken. My question is this; how do I know if I am Chuang Tzu, who dreamt himself a butterfly, or if I am a butterfly, now dreaming itself Chuang Tzu?” “

“This story was the subject of a famous poem by Li Po. The basic issue raised by it is still relevant two-thousand-and-change years after the death of Chuang Tzu, perhaps now more than ever. How can we ever apprehend reality through our senses? When we spend a third of our lives dreaming, and now, many of our waking hours enveloped in what are essentially artfully manufactured waking dreams, how meaningful is our conception of an objective reality? “

“Whatever answer we come to, it’s somehow comforting to think that better thinkers have been perplexed by the same problems for thousands of years.” ;+)

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