Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes

From: Jim (
Date: Sat Mar 16 2002 - 12:19:58 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes
    Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 07:19:58 -0500
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    An awful lot of the discussion lately seems to be looking at isolated,
    extreme incidents (e.g., parents killing their children) and somehow trying
    to essentially argue that "the memes did it." Even in mental illnesses
    where there are clear genetic links (e.g., bi-polar disorder) you would not
    argue that the genes did it if a person with bi-polar did something illegal
    while in a manic state -- or even that the bi-polar disorder was genetically
    "caused," for that matter. The most that could probably be argued is there
    was a genetic disposition to bi-polar disorder. And it would still be
    another leap from that to specific behavior.

    I have two questions.
    1) Is there a way we can move away from this mechanistic, fatalistic
    discussion of memes towards something that is more nuanced?
    2) Since isolated egregious incidents at best support conjecture, to what
    extent has any of the conjecture on memes been operationalized and tested?

    J. Forbes

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