RE: Why Europe is so Contrary

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Mon 09 Dec 2002 - 16:25:17 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Re: evolution"

    >Snip:..........Jeremy's rave
    > >>All I'm saying is that some societies placed themselves as a part of
    > >>and some societies thought of themselves as above nature; this is
    > >>from their mythscapes. The societies which lived in harmony with nature
    > >>evolved into sustainable societies and those that didn't didn't. It is
    > >>my memeset which holds sustainability to be evidence of a culture's
    > >>evolutionary success.
    > >>I hope this explanation has assuaged your confusion Grant.
    > >>;~)
    > >>Jeremy
    > >>
    >Grant's reply:
    > >It does, partially. There is still a structure within us that guides how
    > >create our map of the world and it also influences how we structure our
    > >sentences and narratives. What we do with it is influenced by culture.
    > >symbols are still totally arbitrary and anything can stand for anything
    > >else. Why does each culture always seem to come up with the same
    > >structure as every other. One light in the bell tower can mean that the
    > >British are coming by land and two of them can mean that they are coming
    > >sea. The Chinese and Japanese hold up the thumb to represent "one" when
    > >counting, while we hold up the index finger. These, however, are just
    > >individual symbols and not a part of the symbolic system we call
    > >
    > >The words we utter are laid out in a pattern that involves only a few of
    > >sounds of which we are capable and those sounds are strung together in
    > >the same way in every language. Every new way we find to communicate
    > >mirrors this underlying structure, from the whistling language of the
    > >jungles of South America to the dots and dashes of the Morse code. They
    > >all a way of encoding spoken language into a different form but retain
    > >same basic format. I can't believe that every culture reinvents the same
    > >wheel. I suspect that structure comes from before culture.
    > >
    > >Grant
    > >
    >As you know Grant, there are probably as much difference between our
    >genetic makeup (yours and mine) as there is between either of us and a
    >Kalahari Bushman yet the Bushman's culture 'evolved' differently to ours.
    >What I am saying is that cultures evolved out of their environments. I also
    >suggest that the place of narrative is to guide and constrain culture in
    >its replication. The codes that I speak of, and not the cultures
    >themselves, are the arbiters of propriety.
    >If you tell your children the story, told to you by your parents, of how
    >your pioneer ancestors survived sixty days in the wilderness, what are you
    >telling them, and why? IMO you are passing on the memes of Callaghanism, ie
    >what it is to be a Callighan, what we do when confronted by hardship, how
    >tough and resourceful we are, how we stick together, etc. You are
    >programming Callighan 'culture' into them in such a way as to constrain
    >them into preserving and replicating Callighanism.
    >IMO all cultures, right down to the Grand United Chicken-farmers Bridge
    >Club have stories which constrain their culture so that it has a reasonable
    >chance to replicate in a recognisable way.

    I can't contest that.

    Excuse me. The bridge club is having a meeting now. ;-)


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