Re: Memes & genes

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 10 Nov 2002 - 15:25:32 GMT

  • Next message: Grant Callaghan: "Re: Memes & genes"

    >Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 11:13:15 +0100
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    > > >In a sense, mine ' me' is more ' mine ', yours is more social/
    > > >cultural conditioned so to speak.
    > > >Hope you don 't get me wrong,...
    > > I was just trying to point out the fact that we were talking about
    > > things. You were talking about not having a particular culture to call
    > > own and I was talking about a person who had no culture at all -- no
    > > language memes, no tool-making memes, no way to communicate with other
    > > people at all. If you knew how to make fire that's a meme unless you
    > > a way to do it without being taught by someone. Without the memes of
    > > society you would have to invent everything you did from finding a way
    > > eat to getting in out of the heat and cold. If you didn't know how or
    > > to cook your meat, you would have to eat it raw. These are the
    > > that culture has given us. Now, instead of worrying about what to do
    > > the dead animal we found, we worry about whether we should eat French,
    > > Italian, or Chinese food tonight.
    >Yes, I did understand we' re talking about different things, anyway,
    >I do have a culture I can call my own, but it is more a matter of
    >There is a certain way in the Western culture by which we are/ can
    >ourselves as human ( values and norms), but there is still another way and
    >is MY- way. I am called upon to live my life within those fixed bounderies
    >social and cultural dispositions. That is, in my development as a human
    >if I want to become authentic/ individualistic in the real sense of the
    >I have
    >to drop my family, religion, society, school, the nation-state... all
    >convention... Taylor writes.
    >That is a false picture, because my identity is due by those forces, their
    >connections and by the people who use them and form an image of me by
    >using those dispositions_ for their own advantages most of the time.
    >The dialogue between them and me forms in the end the identity which I
    >do development during growing up_ the material is given to me by the
    >society/ family and friends.
    >That is what I see, in your, normal situation.
    >But that wasn 't my situation at all.
    >A part of the dialogue I lost, the supposed identity which I had to deve-
    >lopment was breached, the material I was bound to receive never came.
    >I filled up the blanks with what you could call ' instincts ' or parts of
    >is called existentalism, groundforms/ archetypes of what it is to be human.
    >You can make your own choises, but the possibilities where to choose
    >from are not yours to make, in a sense I had to do just that_ I had to
    >possibilities where, in a later stage of life, I had to choose from.
    >Where you we 're given all the collective possibilities I had to restrict
    >to a few.
    I understand what you're talking about. I went through something quite similar when I joined the Marines at 17 and they sent me to the Far East to fight in the Korean war. After having been raised in a Catholic school and indoctrinated by the church and then by the Marine Corps, I arrived in Japan and was sensually shocked by what I saw. Here was a world that didn't resemble anything I had been taught was they way the world is. I had to relearn everything about society and what I was seeing when I looked around me. Here were people who didn't believe in a God, or freedom and liberty, or individualism, or much else of what I had been brought up to value. But they were still good people. They had their own values and those values seemed to work as well as my own. And so I was left not believing in any values at all.

    I had to create my own set of values based on rethinking what I had learned about the world as a child and comparing it to the world I was thrust into by war. It was a double shock to my system and changed how I felt about everything, how I saw the world around me, and how I interacted with my fellow man. It gave me an objective viewpoint where I see the world as from a distance, not really involved in the affairs of man -- just taking note of what is going on and wondering why and how it came to be that way.

    It really helped me when I was next sent to Taiwan and experienced another culture clash. I was ready for it that time. I dove right in and started trying to see beneath the surface immediately. It was an enjoyable experience because I already had tools with which to cope with the shock of a new and completely different culture. I found the memes I picked up in Japan and Korea transferable and the memes I brought with me from home were useful for dealing with two cultures at the same time. In the end, I felt like a man of the world rather than a man locked into a single culture. My family, on the other hand, no longer understands me.



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