Re: memetics-digest V1 #952

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Feb 19 2002 - 04:50:37 GMT

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    Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #952
    Date: Mon, 18 Feb 2002 20:50:37 -0800
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    From: Wade

    > On Sunday, February 17, 2002, at 04:47 , Dace wrote:
    > > To be memetic,the behavior must be self-motivated, a product of
    > > culturally imposed habit
    > The behavior-only stance just eliminates (as impossible to determine)
    > the 'to be memetic' step.
    > Thus, "the meme must be self-motivated, a product of culturally imposed
    > habit."
    > However, "culturally-imposed habit" is problematic, as, can habits be
    > said to be self-motivated?

    That's the whole point of habits. The behavior or association proceeds of
    its own accord, without any direction from human intelligence. Instead of
    reflecting human-style "selfishness," it takes on the unreflective
    selfishness we find among living things in general. Once the habit has
    jumped from individual to group, it's a meme.

    > Further, are _any_ habits memes? Or, are all cultural habits memes?

    They're all memes, whether habits of thought or behavior. Either way they
    exist in minds.

    > (Static memes of cultural turpitude, like shaking hands, driving on the
    > right, saying 'excuse me' after belching....)

    This illustrates the fluid boundary between meme and idea/behavior. If
    you're from England, driving on the right is not a meme. The guy honking
    behind you is driving memetically while you're awkwardly pursuing an
    intentional behavior. Before he can be infected with the meme of
    apologizing for burping, a Hindu would have to intentionally practice this
    odd behavior a few times before it became ingrained.


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