Re: Memes and Emergent Properties

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 23:14:10 GMT

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    Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 18:14:10 -0500
    From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    Subject: Re: Memes and Emergent Properties
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    John said:

    >Looking at the way large numbers of memes interact
    >with other memes would seem to be the classic
    >conditions for the appearance of emergent phenomenon.
    >In fact I would think that a culture is an emergent
    >property of memes. It would explain why one can still
    >meaningfully talk of cultures without a reference to
    >mimetics at all.

    I am reading Frans DeWaal's book "Good Natured" in which he talks
    about "Community Concern".

    "Inasmuch as every member benefits from a unified cooperative group,
    one expects them to care about the society they live in and make an
    effort to improve and strengthen it, similar to the way the spider
    repairs her web and the beaver maintains the integrity of his dam.
    Continued infighting, particularly at the top of the hierarchy , may
    damage everyone's interests; hence the settlement of conflict is not
    just a matter of the parties involved, it concerns the community as a

    I think that community concern and the emergent properties of culture
    coincide: both of them may contain elements which are for the group's
    good, but not necessarily the individual's good.

    In that case, it may be that on some level at least, memes are not
    competing on an individual level, but on a
    community/society/civilization level. Which leads to the whole clash
    of civilizations scenario.


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