Quote of the Day

“Not a fan of Christians professor?”

“Fucking vermin. Spreading a plague. It’s amazing really. Ideological infection was perfected two thousand years ago. Nothing’s been better at in than Christianity.”

-Injection #3 - Warren Ellis

It’s important to note that the professor here is not a character that the reader is intended to sympathize with. So this quote does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ellis. However, with the current problems our society is experiencing with viral ideas, I think we should spend at least some time looking at the history of the viruses that have come before. The Abrahamic religions, less so Judaism and more Christianity and Islam, are the greatest memes in human history. It is easy to recognize their effects and even track their spread. Since they have been somewhat all consuming, it is less easy to see what positive and negative impacts they have created. After all, the victors write history and so we have much less evidence of what a non-Abrahamic track would have looked like.

One of the more obvious impacts of the spread of these religions is that they have done their best to stamp out diversity. Christianity has destroyed whole cultures through supplanting less viral religions. It has dictated the behaviors of its adherents in large and small ways. Most recently Islam is seen strictly controlling the behavior of women in very public ways, while Christianity does the same in America from the shadows. Abrahamic religions continue to suppress homosexuality, gender non-conformity, and other behaviors that deviate from their accepted norms.

Now we have a whole new generation of viruses that are poking and proding our behavior in increasingly sophisticated ways. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple, and many others are getting mainline access to our brains. The newest viruses are burning hot, ripping through the population, and then burning out before they can affect meaningful change. Crazes like Pokemon Go, fidget spinners, and Fortnite are all taking advantage of the internet as a rapid attack vector. But the big tech companies are sticking around, occasionally creating rapid change, but otherwise quietly experimenting.

I’m increasingly of the opinion that anything that spreads faster than a certain rate is inherently bad. That’s a hard statement to make. Nothing in this world is definitively “bad” or “good”. The outcomes of any action, however small, are complex and immeasurable. But these viruses, both old and new, are twisting our society in ways that scare me. So I guess I’m asking you to be wary.

Warren Ellis always ends his newsletter with some instructions for his readers. This is actually my favorite part of his work.

“Keep your head clear, keep shit at bay, turn off the poison feeds, work when you can, take five minutes a day to be where you are, and live your damn life your way and without apology. Hold on tight. See you next week.”

-Orbital Operations 6 May 18 - Warren Ellis

My added advice is this: Be mindful. Be weird. Avoid the easy safety of the common path. Go out and make something.