Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Sun Mar 17 2002 - 10:27:57 GMT

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    From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
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    Subject: Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes
    Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 11:27:57 +0100
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Jim <>
    > 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?

    Hi Jim,

    This is maybe not the answer you were expecting, but for some reasons,
    IMO extreme incidents point out the extent to which the existing of cer-
    tain memes can be tested.
    In extreme cases behaviral traits ' exaggerate ' in a sense what are in
    general ehical/ comformal/ rational standards. We get a ' clearer ' view
    upon the memes at work.
    Like in the Yates- case, we see all kind of memes working together, but
    we' ll never know for sure the reason why she killed her children. The
    conjecture- notion you talk about is as such a pretty good bias to ' test '
    which memes are actually at work ( or not ).

    Yates, in a way, behaved in the best, possible, most humanitarian way
    she could think of to save her children. She wouldn 't have done that
    if she didn 't ' knew ' somehow it was ' allright ' ( in her mind).
    In that way_ we then the observers can test our own memetical forms,
    moral standards and our ethical objectives against Yates' her by genes/
    memes driven goals.
    Sadly, just by examen cases like this, we can get a greater awareness of
    our own " timeless, universal " values like freedom and equality "

    Unfortunaly, again and again, our society will not make any self- sacrifice
    and start up an inquiry in its own doing; in the why Yates turned out to
    be ' wrong '. The overwhelming collectiviness of the society ( in a beauti-
    ful Darwinian way) will make/ has to make a judgement and will simply
    forget Yates. If you ever will test memes on their survival- rate/
    susceptibility and succes you can start there, I suppose.

    And for the asked nuances, I think I must disappoint you.
    It is my conviction, I explained this more than often, that in the near
    memes ( genes are already used in such a way), will we used as the
    ' excuse '_ the insanity- defense in just the first step towards a complete
    deterministic way of justice.
    You will not be judged on what you have done ( for example) murder,
    but you will be found culpable if you didn 't treat the genes/ memes which
    eventually will lead you to commit murder ( and with you your parents I
    suppose). The exploration of memes will have enormious consequenties
    if we ever can determine what lies within them and to what extent this
    will affect our behavior ( or not).

    Hope this helps,



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