Many feel that memetics is too abstract to assist deconversion. Here's an outline for a ritual designed to integrate it with three other ideas for a more tangible social emotional impact.

Give me you feedback, please.

MemeOut Outline: Directions for ritual actions in color

 

Intro

We're gathered here to remember how we've been infected by Dominator religious mind viruses  and to celebrate our escape.

 

(1) Let us be grateful to Richard Dawkins for opening our eyes to memes.

Hold up The Selfish Gene

Passing the book around

Dominator Culture Religious Mind Viruses infect human hosts. They evolved to exploit exploiting our misperceptions, our longings, our pain and loss to drive their reproduction.

 

(2) Let us be grateful to Riane Eisler for opening our hands from fists.

Hold up The Chalice & The Blade

Passing the book around

Cultural Transformation Theory shows how violent  Dominator hierarchies justify adults abusing children, men abusing women, and a few powerful men abusing all others.

 

(3) Let us be grateful to Eric Berne for opening our minds to the Victim/Rescuer/Persecutor mind games built into Religious Dominator Memeplexes.

Hold up Games People Play

Passing the book around

 

People seduced by these mind games settle for self worth based on invidious comparison instead of authentic self worth, "I'm OK, You're Not OK" instead of "I'm OK, You're OK". In Group/Out Group self righteousness passes for self affirmation.

 

Reality's rich tapestry is twisted to reduce every action into one of these:

 

Victims who feel moral superiority to their persecutors.

Hold up a bitter food

Bitter food represents the self pity stamps victims save up.

Taste and pass around the bitter food

The bitter taste hides lies of omission, responsibility for provocation.

 

Hold up a "hot" food

Spicy food represents the anger stamps victims save up.

Taste and pass around the "hot" food

The heat makes blaming and shaming easier, anger and rage help us to demonize outsiders.

 

Rescuers who feel moral superiority to victims and persecutors.

 

Persecutors who feel moral superiority to those they persecute by the trick of "cashing in" self pity and anger stamps. They get a guilt free pass for cruelty and destruction, because the demonized "deserve it".

 

Religious Dominator Memeplexes infecting competing groups perpetrate cycles of mutual hatred and destruction in symbiosis with each other, dividing and conquering the host species.

 

(4) Let us be grateful to Chris Hedges...

Hold up War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

...for opening our hearts to the terrifying human depravity of war, the secret dungeon in Dominator Culture's foundation.

Passing the book around

 

Affirmation  (to music)

 

Cast off!!  Religious Dominator Memeplex lies of omission. Cast away motion

Cast off!!  their impossible promises. Cast away motion

Cast off!! their imaginary fears. Cast away motion

Cast off!! primitive (pause) Cast away motion

 past-obsessed (pause) Cast away motion

 magical (pause) Cast away motion

 thinking which impairs us. (hitting forehead)

Impairs us from comprehending today's complex real world.

Embrace all humans!!  Holding hands around the circle

Our small fragile Earth will either become a wasteland

wasteland (echoing)

for us all to perish,

or (raise arms together) it will be sustainable for people all races and ethnicities.

Views: 324

Replies to This Discussion

Ritual?

Or, Action?

I'd say yes and yes. One can prime people for the other; ritual can help us to truly emotionally "buy in" to ideas of what a better world entails, and actions to take to try to get there.

(I also like the Tim Minchin quote, btw!)

I don't understand, either, your last comment about the ACLU and the list of worthy organizations. Feeling morally superior to persecutors might play some role in such organizations, but is it their driving motive? Can't one feel good for doing good without feeling more worthy as a person than the individuals accepting support? I'm inclined to think that both religious and secular "worthy organizations" cover a range of personal motivation. The degree to which invidious comparison drives group action probably varies across time, rising or falling under different administrators and cohorts of volunteers, unless it's codified in group identity. Presumably a sociologist would be able to measure that variable.

The broader point is that Dominator Culture hierarchy is inherently unequal and naturally supports rescuing as a way to boost self esteem by unfavorable comparison. My point wasn't that every act of rescue has base motives.

"Can't one feel good for doing good without feeling more worthy as a person than the individuals accepting support?"

Well, perhaps "feeling" is the wrong word, as there is the empirical to consider, "thinking/knowing" one holds a morally superior position" based on an already provided secular framework; is probably more apropos.

"The degree to which invidious comparison drives group action probably varies across time, rising or falling under different administrators and cohorts of volunteers, unless it's codified in group identity."

With regard to codification, I believe that's covered by the Constitution (and its being an amendable "living document") already, provided one doesn't subscribe to Dominionist revisionism that it has Christian roots. Not one I subscribe to, nor see any evidence for. 

"The broader point is that Dominator Culture hierarchy is inherently unequal and naturally supports rescuing as a way to boost self esteem by unfavorable comparison."

Is "Dominator Culture" not just another name for authoritarianism? I think that's covered by the Constitution as well, which is a very good heuristic in favor of an egalitarian culture already.

I just think we need to act on, not ritualize what we already have. To me this just seems like a gilding of a lily, a distraction and a complacency as opposed to "doing something about it". Which is my purpose for being here, pretty much.

Again, if my "why" is not congruent with the stated goal of the site, …I'll have to go elsewhere. Otherwise, I'll continue to try to advocate activism before ritual and sanctuary for things other than: Coalition and action.

You asked for critique...

Just saying'

Richard, to me your elevation of the US Constitution as codification protecting us from authoritarianism seems curiously nieve. Please consider reading chapter 11 in David C. Korten's The Great Turning. An excerpt,

As history and a close reading of the original U.S. Constitution make clear, the intention of the architects of what we look to as American democracy was not to create a democracy; it was to create a plutocracy, a nation ruled by a wealthy elite - and they were very successful. [p 182]

I fail to comprehend why you seem to think that ritual and sanctuary somehow compete with activism. You see only "distraction and complacency opposed to" activism. While it's true that some people might use ritual, or chat about dogs they love, as a substitute for marching, organizing, and protesting, that looks only at short term time use. Please grasp people as whole human beings with needs and limits. People can only fight back for so long before becoming exhausted and despair. Communities have to be nurturing too, to restore our hope and energy, to celebrate meaning and inspiration.

I hate to say this, but I suspect your disdain for nurturing and bonding might reflect a masculine enculturation. Traditional men saw themselves as tough warriors untouched by soft emotions or needs. Nurturing was a women's role. Perhaps you feel that you won't ever need to hold hands and celebrate, you will never feel like you've given everything, run dry, and not accomplished enough, but consider that others might.

Would soldiers fight and fight, if they never got parades or medal ceremonies or held hands over hearts to pledge aloud their allegiance, if they never sang patriotic songs? Rituals address human needs. I'm not saying we should use ritual without examining exactly what they mean or how they work, without critique. But I don't comprehend how such activities interfere with action rather than supporting it.

"I fail to comprehend why you seem to think that ritual and sanctuary somehow compete with activism."

Ruth, that's not what I expressed (whether you realize it or not), this isn't a "better than" issue at all, it's a "flooded out" issue. I can't view a single profile on this site without finding you in the comments section, …shaping things to what you want things to be. You are actively selling your ideas and yourself to every new user here. THis isn't a mere "welcome", it's a first foot in the door, and you must realize it or you wouldn't be doing it.

You and Dr. Meaden, and Steph are a fixture of every single profile I view, even the ones that, …if you read the profile or checked activity, you would clearly see they were spammers, scammers or trolling.

I suppose I could do this as well, if it wan't for the principle of it, part of why I fight against is indoctrination and shilling so rampant in the theist ranks, …what would I be if I just said, "fuck it" and used the same means?

No, Ruth, I'm not wanting to compete, but seriously …an even playing field would be a start.

"I suspect your disdain for nurturing and bonding might reflect a masculine enculturation."

What disdain for nurturing and bonding? Seriously?

Oh, there is so much about me you don't know, …you couldn't possibly understand how so far off target you are, …so I'm not going to take offense. Nevertheless, I see what you're trying to do, …and I'm surprised actually. I don't think you hated to say it at all, it doesn't fit.

"Would soldiers fight and fight, if they never got parades or medal ceremonies or held hands over hearts to pledge aloud their allegiance, if they never sang patriotic songs?"

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm a firm proponent of the Saville Statement, …I don't really approve of wars, …or fighting, …or especially those things that are defined as jingoism.

Do you know the origin of "Jingo"? …it's from something called "The Great Game", …that game's resolution was "The Great War"

…and yes, I know about group dynamics, dad was a well known behavioral scientist after all, as well as an advocate, …for almost every down-trodden group you can imagine.

"Rituals address human needs."

So does reason, logic and critical thinking, …with passion and fellowship.

No ritual or rote or indoctrination need apply.

"I fail to comprehend why you seem to think that ritual and sanctuary somehow compete with activism."

Ruth, that's not what I expressed (whether you realize it or not), this isn't a "better than" issue at all, it's a "flooded out" issue. I can't view a single profile on this site without finding you in the comments section, …shaping things to what you want things to be. You are actively selling your ideas and yourself to every new user here. THis isn't a mere "welcome", it's a first foot in the door, and you must realize it or you wouldn't be doing it.

You and Dr. Meaden, and Steph are a fixture of every single profile I view...I suppose I could do this as well, if it wan't for the principle of it, part of why I fight against is indoctrination and shilling so rampant in the theist ranks, …what would I be if I just said, "fuck it" and used the same means?

 Richard, I'm glad to hear that you don't actually think ritual and sanctuary compete with activism.

 

As to feeling "flooded out", I never intended to schill or indoctrinate with my own point of view. On the other hand, isn't it legitimate discourse to talk a lot?

 

When I came here, I was happy to be welcomed by several people, including Dr Meaden. I was happy to be introduced to his very active group. I never felt as if he was trying to push anything on me. I perceive ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN as an important resource here. After I created a group of my own, I followed his example by welcoming new members and suggesting they consider my group. Of course it's a first foot in the door. What's wrong with promoting a group? Many groups are completely inactive and almost vestigial because members who might be interested don't know they exist. Not everyone has the time to spend three days digging through all of the groups to find the ones they like, the way I did when I first came. People have busy lives.

 

Yes, I can see how our welcomes might seem like flooding every newbie's comments section. Consider the alternative. When I looked back at people who had joined AN several months before I did, I was horrified to see that the vast majority never became active at all. No friends, no groups, no replies, nothing. I try to ease people into the community, so they don't feel ignored.

... , even the ones that, …if you read the profile or checked activity, you would clearly see they were spammers, scammers or trolling.

 

When you're trying to make new people feel at home, do you not give them the benefit of the doubt? I'm not omniscient, and might easily dismiss someone just because he or she comes from a country where internet fraud makes up one third of the national income. Isn't it better to let the folks who screen newcomers be the judge? Isn't it possible for an atheist to live in a developing country and have internet access? I don't feel competent to make offhand rejections that someone is one of the "spammers, scammers or trolling" based on the sparse profile information. It feels too much like profiling to me. I don't have time to do thorough internet searches on every new member, just to see if they're "worthy" of  a hello.

 

You see some of us posting frequently in many groups, and seem to interpret this as indoctrination and shilling. Are we not allowed to have opinions, Richard? There are far more folks who lurk, passively reading and never even making a short reply. They don't take emotional risks. They can never be castigated for putting forth their opinions or values. Would Atheist Nexus be a more vibrant, exciting social network if I, Dr. Meaden, and Steph became lurkers?

 

...what would I be if I just said, "fuck it" and used the same means? No, Ruth, I'm not wanting to compete, but seriously …an even playing field would be a start.

 

If you have the time, please do promote your own activism to new members. Or recruit a team of people who agree with you to entice every newby into your brand of activism. That would be great! This isn't a competition.

"As to feeling "flooded out", I never intended to schill or indoctrinate with my own point of view."

Firstly, the "flooding" isn't about how I feel, it's about how the site feeds work. As for shilling and indoctrination, meaning may have been misapplied here: those words were directed not at you or others here but at "the theist ranks", clearly this is not directed at you; "the principle of it" is the aspect of self-promotion. I'm all for welcomes, Steph does this without any promotion of her groups at all. A welcome without an agenda. Dr. Meaden's on the other hand is clearly self-promotion, the same presumptuous copy & paste to every profile...

Welcome to this world of rationality, truth and peace, where common sense helped by science leads to freethinking wisdom --- as you have found out as an atheist.

We invite you to make good friends by joining the busy group "ORIGINS: Universe, Astronomy, Life, Earth, Humans, Religion, Gods, Atheism, Evolution, Darwin..." with 680 discussion topics and 3400 members.

When this landed on my profile, the last thing that I thought of was a sincere welcome, this isn't cynicism, it's just observation.

After seeing first hand, Dr. Meaden's disregard of intellectual honesty in debate, I can't help but think that this resource is his, not ours, ...no we.

"When you're trying to make new people feel at home, do you not give them the benefit of the doubt?"

Absolutely, I leave it up to them to define their needs goals and intent through their words, their actions. After which, if I engage them I will treat them as an individual deserving of respect and sincere welcome, without the presumption that their needs and goals are the same as mine or that they are a raw resource for self-promotion. And, if through their words and actions they are scamming, spamming or are malicious trolls (none of these yet), I will make sure those who can do something about it, know about it ...and I have.

"I don't feel competent to make offhand rejections that someone is one of the "spammers, scammers or trolling" based on the sparse profile information."

Cookie-cutter copy & paste "Hi good to see you, you can have friends! go here and join us!"?...is based on what, besides opportunity and agenda?

"Isn't it better to let the folks who screen newcomers be the judge?"

Who would that be? From what I can see there are three people aware of every new profile, ...what is the priority? Welcoming, okay, ...I'm all for that. But, how is self-promotion as opposed to site-promotion the high-road here? That they are new they should be welcomed, sure... but why not give them the opportunity to choose for themselves, areas of the site to explore, or at least wait for a response before "closing the sale"?

"Isn't it possible for an atheist to live in a developing country and have internet access?"

Straw man Joan, ...please don't go there, I never said a single thing about "developing countries" and you know it.

"I don't feel competent to make offhand rejections that someone is one of the "spammers, scammers or trolling" based on the sparse profile information."

But, that they are "new" is enough profile information to get a foot in the door for your own goals and needs after a "how de do?".

"It feels too much like profiling to me. I don't have time to do thorough internet searches on every new member, just to see if they're "worthy" of  a hello."

Hold on, you do have a criteria that you profile, ...the "new", the "fresh to the site" ...sure they're worthy of a hello and a welcome, ...but how is this worthiness an invitation to impress your needs, goals and intents on them?

BTW, you don't need time and internet searches to discern whether a profile is scamming or spamming, you just have to actually consider them as more than just, "new", and observe what they do, ...or, their goals, needs and intent.

"You see some of us posting frequently in many groups, and seem to interpret this as indoctrination and shilling."

"Seem"? No, I don't interpret this as indoctrination and shilling, who I applied these things to aren't even welcome on this site at all by the site administration.

"Are we not allowed to have opinions, Richard?"

Where have I stated or even implied otherwise, ...and why the loaded questions, Ruth?

"There are far more folks who lurk, passively reading and never even making a short reply."

There are just as many who sign up and bounce off when they see the signal to noise ratio here as well, the flood issue has that effect. I was around for the tipping point on Usenet, a promising world-wide online community went from a vibrant growing topic-focused entity and crashed into being a cesspool of "look at me!", "spam" and "trolling". The very first to leave are always the most contributory of the membership. Same goes for forums, ...I've been involved in the building of a few of those as well, some very successful and world-class, and I've also watched as some of these descended into small fiefdoms of few users, almost always the same few users who thought the forum would be better if they actively steered it into something more to their liking.

"They don't take emotional risks. They can never be castigated for putting forth their opinions or values."

Am I to gather from this that dissent is a bad thing, as is staying true to purpose, ...if it hurts a few feelings? Really?

"Would Atheist Nexus be a more vibrant, exciting social network if I, Dr. Meaden, and Steph became lurkers?"

Did I suggest this, even remotely? No. But here is what I am suggesting, it would probably help if all here would keep in mind the rules and guidelines of the site, both the how and why, as well as the intended purpose... and respect those things and realize that those things are why people come here in the first place.

"If you have the time, please do promote your own activism to new members."

But Ruth, I do ...by example. Not by foot in the door manipulation.

"Or recruit a team of people who agree with you to entice every newby into your brand of activism."

That, would not be ethical Ruth.

"This isn't a competition."

This is the point I'm trying to get across here, it's supposed to be a "coalition", ...or so it says at the top of the page.

Richard, you asked

Cookie-cutter copy & paste "Hi good to see you, you can have friends! go here and join us!"?...is based on what, besides opportunity and agenda?

When I first began promoting my group, I looked at profiles of members who had joined in the months and years prior to me. I was shocked and saddened to see the vast majority never really entered the community. Most had virtually no friends or groups or activity, and just seemed to silently drop out.

Consider this Being Ignored Online or in Person, It's Still Exclusion.

The researchers compared face to face with on line "getting to know you" situations, in which people were ignored.

The team found that participants in both scenarios responded similarly to being excluded.

"Contrary to our expectation, the students' responses to rejection were not primarily characterized by severe distress, but rather characterized by numbness and distancing or withdrawal,"...

Being excluded, in the study, meant nobody spoke to them.

It takes a very assertive, outgoing person, who has some familiarity with social networking, to jump in the way you and I did. Many are confused or shy or don't know how to start. People juggling two jobs and kids, lawn care, fixing the roof, and getting the income tax filed on time don't always have time or energy to figure it out. There's a threshold, a learning curve, to overcome before the individual gets positive feedback. I try to make the very first connection easier, that's all.

The purpose of my group was to provide a safe social space where people could bring up any subject, instead of having to find the one group where their topic would not be considered spam because it wasn't that group's agenda. Sometimes people don't have time to hunt through hundreds of groups, and the group search here is finicky. If you use a capital instead of a lower case, or don't find the exact word, it's "not found". My group is for the members to be able to talk easily, without a f***ing learning curve! (I hate learning curves.) I thought it would be easier for new members, and everyone else, to have that option.

My group isn't about promoting an idea. I promote my own ideas all over AN in many groups.

Why do you think I'm promoting myself? Is there a Ruth fan club?

In case you didn't notice, I take the time to read every profile and if they share information about their interests I suggest appropriate groups. I "promote" Conservative Atheists to self-identified conservatives, though I am left/borderline radical myself. Most new members appreciate my attention as a sign that I care about them. I'm trying to prevent numbness, distancing, and withdrawal from AN.

I've never seen the text of Dr Meaden's welcome remarks as presumptuous. I don't know how many senior philosophers you've rubbed elbows with at conferences, but they tend to use erudite locution by default. Your complaint about cookie cutter comments seemed quaint to me, similar to a matron who would insist on 500 hand written invitations to a charity event instead of vulgar mass printed invites. You don't seriously expect anybody to individualize a welcome message to each and every new member, do you?

"I've never seen the text of Dr Meaden's welcome remarks as presumptuous."

Ah, it's self evident in the language used. As well, the presumption is re-enforced in his instance that he's a "better than" atheist than, for instance, Richard Dawkins. To the point that this purely arbitrary insistence isn't even up for debate. 

"You don't seriously expect anybody to individualize a welcome message to each and every new member, do you?"

Nope, I just don't think they should ever have even a hint of opportunism. At least then, there is plausible deniability in regards to intent and agenda.

It makes me sad that you seem to equate ritual to rote to indoctrination. Yes, yes, yes, that is the kind of ritual that saturates the Dominator Culture around us. No denying that. I'm just saying it doesn't have to be the only kind of ritual. *sigh*

Let's start with baby steps. Religions don't "own" ritual. You encounter nonreligious rituals every day. Every handshake is a ritual, every bar or living room sporting social event, every dance with your sweetie. Do your colleagues at work walk into the conference room and take the same seats for meetings? That's ritual behavior too. Proposing on bended knee. Giving candy and flowers on Valentine's day. Throwing out the first ball in baseball. Signing autographs. While "rote" or repetitive behavior is an inherent part of ritual, indoctrination isn't.

Exactly! Another common nonreligious ritual: singing a particular song to someone while carrying in a cake with lighted candles, to celebrate their birthday.

And another: drinking champagne, blowing noisemakers, and singing a particular song at the arrival of the new year.

"I'm just saying it doesn't have to be the only kind of ritual. *sigh*"

"*sigh*" ?

Really Ruth, condescension in this, of all threads?

"You encounternonreligious rituals every day…"

Let's not equivocate here, these are not ceremonial rituals, they are social customs -> not the same thing. 

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