Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Mar 15 2002 - 00:09:58 GMT

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes
    Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 19:09:58 -0500
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    >From: "Wade T.Smith" <>
    >To: "Memetics Discussion List" <>
    >Subject: Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes
    >Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2002 17:33:31 -0500
    >Hi Steve Drew -
    > >If you're running on 'auto', then your reactions are those that
    > >are hard wired, or constitute a repetitive learned behaviour -
    >- or a meme- that is, a culturally learned behavior that is responsive,
    >with preceding intentional and organizational processes (of mind).
    >And there, I just did a definition of sorts.
    Well, hard-wiring tends to mean something is instinctive and that it might
    not vary a lot across environments. It's kinda like a fixed action pattern
    of ethology in that respect and more rigidly circumscribed genetically

    This other sense (as you guys are talking about) of hard-wiring is more like
    something that becomes implicit or non-declarative out of repetition which
    makes it kinda like a habit or automated subprogram. Lots of stuff you do
    routinely might fit in this sort of category, like locking doors and
    shutting off appliances or answering the phone a certain way at home and at
    work (which could get you in trouble or into an embarrassing situation if
    you cross contexts up).

    "Unconscious" is a very vague term (especially considering the privative
    aspect of it as a catchall). There's probably a difference between things
    that are acquired and become "unconscious" or "subconscious" and those that
    are inherited and influence how that which is "unconscious" develops across
    a lifetime. This is sort of roughly what Jung hinted at with his dichotomy
    of personal and collective unconscious, for what its worth (probably not
    much at all). Those resistances people encounter individually that influence
    personality he called feeling toned complexes and as everyone knows, those
    culturally universal themes stemming from a vaguely hinted at phylogenetic
    layer he called archetypes.

    Useless as Jung's rubric may be, I don't see how his general foundations of
    personal versus collective are much different than those people still adhere
    to today. How much different would an epigenetic rule or culturgen be from a
    Jungian archetype and doesn't breaking the "collective unconscious" into
    different subcomponents reflect a primitive psychological notion of
    modularity of the mind? I'm probably invading Anthony Stevens's territory
    here. It's a major step away from the blank slate view anyway (what Popper
    called a bucket theory IIRC).

    There's too much chaff in Jungian thought to make his theories of psyche of
    much use, aside from an interesting tidbit (such as cryptomnesia) here and
    there. Who the heck wants to saddle themselves with "synchronicity" (besides
    Sting of the Police)?

    I guess to sum it up, there's acquired and inherited aspects of wiring. Or
    OTOH there's genetically and socially inherited aspects of wiring, getting
    away from "hard" versus "soft" for a second. How could personal versus
    collective fit here (or ontogenetic versus phylogenetic)?

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