RE: Toward a discussion of Israel, Palestine and memetics

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Sun 24 Nov 2002 - 17:43:30 GMT

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    Greetings, Ray,

    Perhaps you are right, but I hope that it is still possible to begin with the difficult and 'hot' topics.

    There are several conversations going on on-line about Islam, Judaism Christianity, US policy, Israel and Palestine that have not shown the dysfunctional patterns that we have seen recently on this list, so I do not think that it is in principle impossible to have interesting and productive discussions about these topics.

    I do agree that we are far, on this list, from creating or adopting analytic tools for memetic research and investigations. I would guess that a good number of people on this list have developed their own tools and approaches, with which they make significant progress on their own. Collectively, here, though, we always get stumped at the start line: how to define what a meme is, and the associated belief that we all have to agree on that before we can do anything more. So the development of tools by this list has not happened.

    What we can do, as the development of tools may exceed the collective capacity of the list, is tackle things from the other end, from actual cases of memetic activity. And this requires an empirical approach and a lot of pre-existing knowledge, if it is going to be successful.

    I know that there are several people on this list who are eager to tackle this, so we will see how much progress is made. At a minimum, we will all have the opportunity to deepen our knowledge and thinking, and hang out with some interesting, questioning folks.

    From another list and a new author, this challenge:

    Excerpt from a review of "A Moral Reckoning" by Daniel Goldhagen in today's NYT Books magazine:

    "In the vast realm between the sound bite of media talk shows and op- ed pages on the one hand and the technical discourses of philosophical and theological tracts on the other, the serious investigation of issues of morality and judgment is rarely to be found. . . . Our moral culture is degraded partly by the flipness of our public culture, partly by the abdication of many people in the academy of their obligation to engage moral issues, or engage them in a way that both meets a high standard and is accessible to those who are not professional philosophers . . . People who are not guided by religious values often seem reluctant to enter this realm, the realm of religion par excellence. Whether out of distaste for engaging religion or out of a belief that, without a religious grounding, they are at a serious disadvantage, those who could talk the talk have left much of the turf of serious moral discussion to the religious."

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []On Behalf
    > Of Ray Recchia
    > Sent: Sunday, November 24, 2002 11:42 AM
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: Toward a discussion of Israel, Palestine and memtics
    > At 10:03 AM 11/24/2002 -0500, you wrote:
    > >Greetings, everyone,
    > >
    > >For the same reasons we have found it difficult to have a true discussion
    > >about Islam and US policy here on this list, we have had a difficult time
    > >discussing Israel and Palestine.
    > >
    > > From a memetic PoV, I think the Israeli-Palestine conflict is as rich as
    > >Islam and US policy, and I would welcome an opportunity to have a real
    > >discussion about it with any interested list members.
    > >
    > >Cheers,
    > >Lawry
    > I suspect though that the same issues could be raised discussing
    > the War of
    > Roses without complicating things with our personal involvement. I've
    > stayed out of this discussion not because I don't have opinions.
    > Trust me I
    > do and they are very strong ones. I think though that memetics is better
    > off avoiding topics like this to start with.
    > I understand that is hard to get into the more boring stuff like product
    > marketing, children's acquisition of memes, and objective historical
    > analysis, but IMHO all that the last 1000 or so posts have done is
    > demonstrate that this is where things need to begin. Once memetics has
    > developed a truly objective, commonly agreed upon set of
    > analytical tools,
    > then maybe we can address hot button current events with those
    > tools. And
    > that is a big maybe.
    > Ray Recchia
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > see:

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