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Idea Immunization

 

Disciplines > Communication > Diffusion > Idea Immunization

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Ideas and ideologies often include a form of 'vaccination' whereby adopting the idea automatically results in opposing ideas being rejected.

The principle is that if you accept the idea, then you also accept that specific other things are invalid, forbidden or otherwise impossible to believe as being right.

Example

Religions forbid practicing of other religions.

Conservatism rejects anything new.

Science tests new ideas for theoretical consistency with existing ideas (and rejects those that do not fit).

Discussion

The principle of memes is that all ideas are in competition with other ideas. This makes it useful if an idea can include a way of defending itself against attack.

There are many ideas that have this immunization built in, such as loyalty, skepticism and tolerance. These work by creating a double-bind where the only way to remain true to the idea is to reject other ideas, for example where a person who believes in loyalty criticizes those who are disloyal (and hence cannot be disloyal themselves without creating internal conflict).

Just as bodies include immune systems that reject intruders, so also do belief systems include an equivalent form of immunization, without which they would be taken over or replaced by competing ideas.

See also

Values, Inoculation

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