RE: Rumsfeld Says He May Drop New Office of Influence

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 07:43:32 GMT

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    Subject: RE: Rumsfeld Says He May Drop New Office of Influence
    Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 23:43:32 -0800
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    > >>
    > >The "me meme" is not just a meme. It is a hardwired part of the brain
    > >can be disabled with brain damage.
    >I think that your 'hardwired' notion is conjecture. When I have looked into
    >the workings of collectivist cultures the 'me me' meme is certainly not as
    >active or prominent as it appears to be in 'normal' Western cultures. Also
    >it does not indicate brain damage when one risks life for a stranger, or
    >fights a forrest fire to preserve the houses of unknown fellow citizens. In
    >my estimation the reason for the increases in crime and the corresponding
    >decreases in emergency services volunteers, is due to the erosion of the
    >collectivist (us us) meme and the growth of the individualist meme.
    In his TV program on NOVA, Dr. Ramachandran (I'm not sure of the spelling)
    showed a patient who could no longer recognize his mother, his father, nor
    his home as being "his" after damage to his temperal lobe. He recognized
    them as people, but not as his parents.

    > >It is essential to the "defense of territory reflex," which is also a
    >hardwired section of the brain. Memes
    > >may be able to overcome the bad consequences of these inherited features,
    > >but they are the battlefield on which the gene/meme war is being fought.
    > >Treating them as memes is like treating the flue with antibiotics. The
    > >medicine you are prescribing will have no effect on the area being
    > >
    > >Grant
    > >
    >No Grant
    >I disagree with you on this one. We lived tribally for countless millennia
    >and depended on our relationship with our fellows for survival. I also
    >think that the "defence of territory reflex", has only arisen through
    >population pressures and/or lack of social order.
    >If we take the average pre-invasion Australian civilisation, boarders were
    >largely respected (it's too complex to go into the exceptions) due to a
    >system of understandings, both physical and spiritual, between peoples and
    >their lands. Now I realise that this is far in advance of any of the
    >systems that we Westerners have imposed on the world, but it does indicate
    >that collectivism is nurture and not nature.
    >Woderyerreckon about that Grant?
    The genetic need to defend one's territory against members of one's own
    species is ingrained in the DNA of just about every animal on earth. The
    funny part is, we don't defend our territory against other species, only our

    Even the laws of most countries make allowances for people when they defend
    "my home, my family, my children, my beliefs, my property." If you shoot a
    stranger on the street, you go to jail for murder. If you shoot a stranger
    in your home or while they are attacking your children, or your person, it
    is called self defense and not prosecuted. There are no limits to what I
    can do in defense of what is "mine." What's more, we have the emotional
    drive to make us feel that way about things we identify with "me" and
    "mine." A mother will defend her children and a man his home even with
    their lives.

    Since every animal does it, I doubt very much that it is a cultural trait
    learned by both man and animal. The fact that certain kinds of brain damage
    can cause us to loose the feeling of "mineness" shows that it is hard wired
    into the brain.

    No more blatant example of this feeling can be found than what the Muslims
    and Hindus are doing to each other in defense of their religious property in
    India this week. It is also at the root of what is going on in Palestine.
    What were the Serbs and Kosovars fighting about? And the protestants and
    catholics in Ireland but land? Territory. Gangs in Los Angeles fight over
    "turf." People do this in every country and every culture.

    The song of the bird and the cry of the cougar are both warnings that they
    have staked out a territory and will defend it. Wolves mark their territory
    with scent and don't hesitate to defend it against an intruding male wolf.
    And the sheep they prey on do the same thing by butting heads over the
    females they decide are "theirs."

    Have you read Guns, Germs and Steel? Jared Diamond describes pacific
    islanders doing it. It's a universal trait that has nothing to do with lack
    of food or social chaos. It's the duty of the alpha male of every mammal
    species I'm aware of to defend his women and his territory.


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