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The Mind's Immune System

  • The body is attacked all the time by viruses
  • The body has an immune system that can fight attacking viruses
  • When the immune system is strong enough, the attacking viruses can't invade the body
  • The mind is also attacked all the time by memes that behave like viruses: religions, cultural fads, hummable melodies, etc
  • Some minds are more likely to be invaded by those mental viruses than others
  • De facto each mind has an immune system that can fight attacking memes, for example the belief in a religion
  • When the mental immune system is strong enough, the attacking meme (e.g., a religion) can't invade the mind (e.g., that becomes the mind of an atheist)
  • There are events that weaken the body's immune system (e.g. bad diet, too little exercise, and, of course, accidents) and there are events that weaken the mind's immune system (e.g. stress, sorrow, alcohol, drugs and marketing campaigns or propaganda in general).
  • The immune system of children and teenagers is still weak, and so is the mind's immune system: children are gullible, teenagers follow fads, young people are easily brainwashed by ideologies.
  • For example, an atheist is someone whose mind's immune system is strong; just like someone doesn't get sick because her body's immune system is strong; if that atheist ever starts believing in a religion, it means that something has weakened her mind's immune system
  • The mind's immune system is mostly about rationality: the more rational you are, the more likely you are to resist irrational memes (mental viruses) that try to invade your mind.
  • Then, again, if you are so rational to convince others (to help them fight the mental viruses), you are de facto creating antidotes that behave just like mental viruses; and the reason these other people accept your rational memes is because, again, their mind's immune system is weak.