Re: electric meme bombs

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Mon 04 Nov 2002 - 15:48:16 GMT

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    > > > >
    > > >These cues are innate and generally the same or extremely similar for
    > > >conspecifics within a species, whereas human communication is
    > > >arbitrary and by mutual convention, and unlike genetically hardwired
    > > >behavior, must be created, learned and taught.
    > > > >
    > >
    > > I never said they had culture. Merely that they communicate and that
    > > what they communicate influences the behavior of the other members of
    > > the species. If your definition of a meme requires human behavior,
    > > then of course other species won't be able to meet the test. But will
    > > your definition meet the test of acceptance by the majority of your
    > > peers?
    > >
    >My definition of memes requires the ability to consciously choose to or
    >not to either receive or transmit at least some of them, on the basis of
    >their meaning.
    > >
    > > Grant
    > >

    Does the ram who refuses to compete with a larger opponent or the female who refuses those who don't compete meet that requirement? The larger ram issues a challenge and the smaller ram thinks, "No way." and turns away. The ewe is in turn turned on by the larger ram's performance but refuses the advances of the smaller ram.

    There you have communication of a challenge, the choice of whether or not to accept, refusal, and the smaller ram's life changed by the decision. You also have the communication of superiority by the larger ram to both males and females by his performance and the female making a decision based on that performance. Her performance in turn confirms the larger ram's assertion of superiority and the females confirmation of it. If she chose not to mate with him, her action would deny it.

    Again, information was passed through action to other members of the species. Decisions were made on the basis of that action. Lives were changed because of it. In addition, the lives of the whole herd will be affected because the winning ram assumes a leadership role and the rest of the herd follows his lead about where to search for food and where to run when danger threatens. The loser becomes just another follower until he gets bigger and stronger. There is also a pecking order that is understood by the members of the herd based on those actions of challenger and decliner. On the female side, the ones who accepted sex from the top ram get protection from other members of the herd and a consequently higher place in the pecking order.

    It's not so different from human females who accept sexual favors from the boss at work and consequently better their position in the hierarchy of the company. Or at least hope they will. Though language makes our memes more complex, the purposes they serve still reflect where wecame from. Pecking order is common to just about all herding or flocking animals and the information of where a member stands in that order is communicated and understood by the other members. Once communicated, that information is acted upon and occasionally challenged by the other members. The information is learned by experience and passed on by performance.


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