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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belief Structures & Erasing Personal History
I first flicked through a copy of 'Virus of the Mind' in a secondhand bookshop in Flagstaff, Arizona. At that stage the part that caught my attention was the chapter on disinfection and particularly the piece entitled 'zen and the art of devirusing'. Here Richard Brodie states, "if you switch off your internal dialogue, you've made the first big step towards freeing...
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by G. Wilson

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Extreme Case of Meme Disease
The back of this book classes this book as "Popular Science". It would be far more accurate to describe it as "Religion / New Age".

The renowned evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, defines a meme as "a unit of information in a mind whose existence influences events, such that more copies of itself get created in other minds". It is "the basic unit of...
Published on July 11 2006 by Too Soon Old


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belief Structures & Erasing Personal History, Jan. 13 2004
By 
G. Wilson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I first flicked through a copy of 'Virus of the Mind' in a secondhand bookshop in Flagstaff, Arizona. At that stage the part that caught my attention was the chapter on disinfection and particularly the piece entitled 'zen and the art of devirusing'. Here Richard Brodie states, "if you switch off your internal dialogue, you've made the first big step towards freeing yourself of the tyranny of mind viruses." The technique he suggests is a simple meditation, "thought watching".
This brought to mind two other, seemingly unrelated, schools of thought. One is 'speed reading'; the Evelyn Wood Reading dynamics system suggests the only way to increase your speed significantly is to stop repeating the words in your head. The second is Carlos Castaneda, who talks of 'stopping the world' - more on the technique is given in Victor Sanchez's book 'The Teachings of Don Carlos' where techniques for 'Stopping Inner Dialogue' are given.
More recently, I was reminded of this book when I began a course of study in Psychosynthesis. One of the key concepts our tutor talked about was "Belief Structures." Belief structures and memes are for all intents and purposes the same thing. Our course involved looking at where we gained many of our beliefs, including a project entitled 'Family of Origin' where the main aim is to trace beliefs (memes) and traits through our parents and grand-parents, along with our siblings.
Psychosynthesis itself (as a "psychotherapy") works heavily on breaking down belief structures, and allowing an individual to recreate new beliefs which are more appropriate for their needs. For those interested in following up this line of thought, check out the works of Roberto Assagioli and Piero Ferrucci.
An important concept in Psychosynthesis is the sub-personality. Each sub-personality has a core belief (meme). Therefore, work with sub-personalities is work with memes, although not always directly. It can however lead to discovery of the core belief (meme), when and how it came about, which parent it was programmed by (as often our main beliefs come from parent's and parent figures in early childhood).
So it is with this background in mind I discovered a copy of 'Virus of the Mind' in the Public Library and decided to read it. I consider it well worth a read for anyone interested in the subject of memes, as well as anyone interested in fields such as Psychosynthesis (or Psychotherapy in general), psychology, or self-development.
This book is a thought-provoking read, which may indeed lead to a decision to be less 'thought-provoked' by the mind viruses spread by marketing companies, the mass media, and politicians.
So, read this book, turn off that inner dialogue, and tune in to your intuition!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well written, June 12 2004
The author has a nice writing style and interesting theory on cultural evolution that would have major implications if one accepted it wholeheartedly. (Some complex issues seem to be oversimplified)
Particularly meaningful are the political uses of memetics, though less space is devoted to it than to discussions about sexual roles and motives. Just when it's getting interesting, this book seems to abruptly end. There is an extensive bibliography, however for further research on memetics.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Extreme Case of Meme Disease, July 11 2006
By 
Too Soon Old (Rothesay, New Brunswick Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme (Paperback)
The back of this book classes this book as "Popular Science". It would be far more accurate to describe it as "Religion / New Age".

The renowned evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, defines a meme as "a unit of information in a mind whose existence influences events, such that more copies of itself get created in other minds". It is "the basic unit of cultural transmission or imitation". It is an idea or unit of cultural knowledge that is analogous to a gene, in that it gets replicated and can evolve.

The idea of memes being the genes of culture seems to me to be a very original idea. Richard Brodie's title implies that memes can be virus like in nature, and is a great metaphor with which to sell this book about the nature of memes.

However it turns out to be quite ironical that the author has become so "infected" by the meme of "meme as virus" analogy, that he becomes obsessed to the point where the idea turns into a kind of religion for him, and he becomes an evangelist in the promotion of the theory of memes.

In his mind everything in our society are memes, but he himself has been able to get off the "cow path" as he calls it, and follow his own course. He doesn't realize he has just taken the "meme path", which has just as much manure on it (produced by bulls) as any regular cow path.

The book mainly consists of his rant on politics, advertising, education, religion and other things, which he feels mostly consist of malicious memes which subvert we unthinking humans. The only salvation is to practice the art of Zen like thinking (or non-thinking) to free ourselves from these "Virus(es) of the Mind".

Paradoxically, he wants to find a mind virus that disinfects people from mind viruses. This is from a guy who used to work for Microsoft! I now have a better understanding of why my computer crashes so often and why programs are so awkward to use at times.

I think Dawkins original idea of memes is a very useful concept, and have read several of the references that Richard Brodie cites in his recommended reading. I also think that anyone of them is better than this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Intro to the Subject, Nov. 23 2002
By 
Citris1 (Dania Beach, Florida USA) - See all my reviews
Just finished reading Virus of the Mind. It is a fairly good book. I like it because it introduces well a new subject area and is easy to understand. However I wish that it had been worked on more before it was published. For example, several sentences were not clear. They would have been more understandable if spoken rather then read. I suspect that the author dictated the book into a word processor.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Take the hints...don't buy the book, Nov. 12 2002
By A Customer
From the dust jacket - "Richard Brodie was Microsoft chairman Bill Gates' personal technical assistant and the original author of Microsoft Word...Educated at Harvard, he is also the best-selling author of 'Getting Past OK.' An accomplished speaker, he has appeared on more than 70 television and radio shows..."
I wondered from the start what this was about. What exactly is a "personal technical assistant?" Is he claiming that he alone wrote Word? "Educated at Harvard" you quickly learn means "didn't graduate," and "accomplished speaker" means "not a scientist."
This is a book that claims to be about a "new science," and yet is unencumbered by footnotes, empirical evidence, or reference to any of its concepts alternately explained in linguistics, psychology or sociology, for starters. In a representative section early in the book, Brodie cites "mind viruses" as explanations for cult religions, elections, mass market branding, "hopelessness, single motherhood, and gang warfare." All in 4 modest paragraphs.
As other reviewers have said, this isn't remotely a science book, or even an interesting bar discussion - I think you get beaten up these days if you try to talk about "paradigm shifts." So 90s. Save your money and your time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good first step, Dec 25 2002
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dnalias (Darien, CT United States) - See all my reviews
i recommend following this book with Ian McFadyen's Mind Wars which places memes in a more complete context of 'tenetics'.
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Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme
Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme by Richard Brodie (Paperback - March 2004)
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