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



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.

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Replies to This Discussion

That sigh wasn't condescension, at all. I apologize if it might have appeared to be. It's exasperation and depression, because you just don't use that great brain to imagine something new in this case. I keep saying, "Something new is possible" and you keep answering, it seems to me, "Impossible." Yeah, there's a little bit of hitting my head against a wall too, as in "What's wrong with me? Why can't I communicate this!"

Consider the entire range of ritual behavior, please. Perhaps part of our misunderstanding is that you're using one ordinary meaning of "ritual", which does confine it to official ceremony, and I use the term to refer to a basic component of human function. I should have clarified my language early on instead of assuming you were familiar with the wider use of the term.

Ritual is one of the most primitive forms of cognition, "rudimentary cerebration presumed to be involved in originating and organizing  the everyday master routines and subroutines..."[page 12, MacLean], based in the reptile brain. Reptiles structure their day by ritual behavior, by routines and subroutines. A lizard, or example structures its day by 6 major routines in order: emergence, basking, defecation, perching, watch and wait feeding, etc. Subroutines might include approaching the basking position following a particular path. In The Triune Brain in Evolution:Role in Paleocerebral Functions Paul MacLean describes three types of human mentation: protomentation, emotional mentation, and rational mentation. [page 228] Ritual is the most primitive, protomentation. Our reptile brain functions in a similar way, and ritual behavior is a component of everyday human function just as it is in all reptiles, birds, and mammals. We have elaborated on this primitive brain function of "originating and organizing behavior" in thousands of ways, but the primitive functions of our rituals in organizing how we move through the world and react to it doesn't disappear. Ritual is a way to comprehend and manipulate reality and social relations at a primitive level. Without this order in our lives, we become anxious and experience the world as chaotic, out of control. Ritual makes reality and social connection predictable.

The Celebrant movement recognizes that ritual ceremony helps people adjust to life changes.

"because you just don't use that great brain to imagine something new in this case."

On the contrary, I do, I just don't agree with it.

Yes! I do realize that for example, Catholicism has had such success due to subsuming rituals of pagan origin. The ends don't justify the means.

Tell me Ruth, do you believe the 12-step programs like AA have been effective in addiction treatment? Because I don't, not in the least. In fact, I think that they've probably been one of the biggest impediments, not just to understanding addiction, but in combating it.

My objection to subsumption/subverting of ritual for the purpose you propose is largely for the same reasons.

Please don't mistake my dissent for incomprehension, this isn't the case. I just don't agree, and not for any of the reasons you've projected on me either.

But, I think I've over-stayed my welcome on this thread, it's probably better for you if I stop responding, obviously this is an issue with much emotional attachment for you, something that no amount of reasoning can probably change.

"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."


Suggested reading:

Santa Clara Blues.

I fail to see how the ascent of corporate power argues for the US Constitution being a bulwark of democracy. David C Korten provides historical background on both the writing of the constitution and the rise of corporate power, showing their roles in the conflict between the wealthy elite and common good, in The Great Turning. Why should grasping the malicious ascent of corporate power make us buy the cover story of great pure democratic intent of the constitution. Why is it so hard to also look behind that curtain?

"Why should grasping the malicious ascent of corporate power make us buy the cover story of great pure democratic intent of the constitution."

For the same reason that this, "it was to create a plutocracy"; is fallacy.

This is rather a UU service of sorts. It reminds me of the chalice lighting. I haven't gone to a UU church in a long time ..
Anyways .. I would feel uncomfortable putting these men on a pedestal .. I know they are important ..
I think you could include more feminists women in the ceremony .. I could think of some to add...
Have you done this ritual? How was it received? What sort of context is it in? Is it performed at an Ethical Society or UU church? I'm really interested.

I selected these four "honored" individuals, as you say, not for themselves but for their ideas. For me these ideas form a loose concilience (like pieces of a puzzle snapping together) which provides an original perspective on who we are. This is, in essense, a story, to compete with the religious stories. Human evolution takes place at the intersection of genetic and memetic selection. Our culture has two strange attractors, memeplexes tend to be Dominator Culture or Partnership culture. The Abrahamic religions, in particular, are Dominator culture and incorporate mind games identified by Eric Berne, that limit and twist perception of reality. One reason we can't create world peace is that war is built into the structure of Dominator Culture. War is glamorized, sanitized, it's horrific truth an open secret. Hedges book brings us face to face with the degradation covered up by Dominator Culture, the lies of omission. When you read all the sources you see how they connect. You see the Victim/Prersecutor/Rescuer mind games, which are memeplexes, built into domination and war.

All together, these sources paint a new frightening picture of our culture and our self esteem structures. By facing the degradation and lies we gain the power to build a new secular culture founded on reality, on truth. We have to give up easy grandiosity and take into account our weaknesses as well as our strengths. It's cultural maturity to tear away the glamorized tissue paper and look ugly Dominator Culture in the eye. We can handle the truth. On that we find our common ground to embrace global Partnership.

Yeah, it sounds like soap box. These authors were not chosen lightly.

This is only a first draft. I'll update revisions soon. After I've tweaked it, considering feedback and such, I'll look for people from my area to perform it for the first time. A video will be uploaded. This should take months.

Attached is the first revision to MemeOut. The taste palate is expanded and a role play added.

Additional suggestions for the ritual itself are welcome. Thanks.


Ruth I like your ideas. Have you considered writing a play that includes these things? A play would codify and model these actions and then when it was a broadway smash and all the atheists of the world saw it, they could adopt the rituals if they were so inclined. It could become a reference.  A book would work too but a play would demonstrate the ideas vividly.

I am somewhere between you and Richard on this. I often miss the rituals of religion but feel weird and unnatural concocting them. You certainly have a flare for it. I like some of the things Boton says but also find myself rolling my eyes at some of it. 

What I really miss more than the rituals is the sense of community which is what you are working to build and I admire that.  I bet I would feel it sitting in the audience watching your play. Maybe you can get the tony winning Southpark guys to make a commercial ... :)

Maybe there's a freedom of never having been a believer in the first place that is unattainable to those who were once indoctrinated and enslaved by the rote and ritual of theism.

I don't believe it though, …if you truly want to be free of what cripples you, …why continue using a crutch when you can stand tall and walk on your own? If you want to free yourself from the chains of conformity of a religion, …why just exchange them for other chains when you can just throw them off?

Metaphor doesn't need ritual, …see?

…if you truly want to be free of what cripples you, …why continue using a crutch when you can stand tall and walk on your own? If you want to free yourself from the chains of conformity of a religion, …why just exchange them for other chains when you can just throw them off?

Richard, we must have very different ideas about human nature and ritual. I don't see ritual as a crutch, any more than I see two people in love singing a romantic song together using as using a crutch. They're celebrating their love, articulating it, expressing it, and bonding. Sure they could be in love without uninhibited musical romantic sillyness. But it doesn't hurt their love to express it in this way. It doesn't diminish it. Their singing together doesn't put them in chains, or prevent them from walking tall.

Ritual song, for example, doesn't have to be a sneaky way to manipulate our feelings and short circuit our brains. If we decide ahead of time what we want to celebrate in song and why, think it through, critique the ideas, clarify the values, then how is that singing together creating chains? We don't have to just sing some doctrinaire hierarchy affirming pablum. You can sing about your activism, can't you? Make up an original song? And if your friends share your values and love what you're doing, why couldn't they sing along with you? Why couldn't people sing that song every time you walked up on a stage, to honor you and what you're doing? How would that ritual song be attacking their free will or judgment?

And even without creating original songs, there are many wonderful songs to choose from to affirm your values!

(The collection "Rise Up Singing" is the first thing that came to mind.)


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