Re: Why People are so Contrary

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Tue 10 Dec 2002 - 15:35:24 GMT

  • Next message: Grant Callaghan: "Re: The Intellectual Origins Of America-Bashing By Lee Harris"


    The means you use shape the ends you get.

    >At 08:25 AM 9/12/02 -0800, you wrote:
    > >>
    > >>Snip:..........Jeremy's rave
    > >>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
    > >>What I am saying is that cultures evolved out of their environments. I
    > >>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
    > >>telling them, and why? IMO you are passing on the memes of Callaghanism,
    > >>what it is to be a Callighan, what we do when confronted by hardship,
    > >>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
    > >>chance to replicate in a recognisable way.
    > >>
    > >
    > >I can't contest that.
    > >
    > >Excuse me. The bridge club is having a meeting now. ;-)
    > >
    > >Grant
    > >
    > >
    >The theory gets better than this Grant. We can establish that the purpose
    >of cultural narratives is to replicate the culture, be it a family, a
    >bridge club, a religion, a nation or a global ideological perspective. They
    >all tell stories for this purpose.
    >If these stories, and their narrative patterns, do enable the continuity
    >and recognisable replication of the culture, then the members of those
    >cultures will have difficulty recognising the validity of any culture which
    >doesn't have reasonable similarity to their culture. IMO this is evident
    >from some of the more heated case-studies on the list.
    >When I wrote my Honours thesis, I mistakenly thought of these memetic
    >strands as memes. I now think that each culture, and indeed each
    >individual, has a full set of memetic filters, (cnemes = culture memes -
    >derived from genome) which are built up from elements which are acquired
    >from the available narrative material.
    >The individual, or the culture can then only judge what is appropriate by
    >running information through these filters. When we have a situation where
    >the narratives available are controlled by vested interest or ideologies,
    >as is the case with most cultures, then we have a powerful force for
    >conditioning. Therefore, it is the case that if one were to produce a
    >narrative, be it art, literature, architecture etc., that doesn't fit with
    >the accepted position, then that narrative is considered invalid.
    >I dragged the old thesis out today and will re-write it for submission to
    >the journal, (give me a few weeks), I hope that it will explain my
    >Thanks for the inspiration and feel free to correct my genetic/memetic

    I am still in a state of pondering what I realized yesterday == that the propagation of memes in no way resembles either the Darwinian or the Lamarkian model. Right now, I can't think of anything it does resemble other than information theory. Cybernetics seems to offer a more reasonable explanation than genetics because we have no idea what memes give birth to. The fact that we have culture, however, is a good indication they give birth to something. And whatever it is seems to be growing at an exponential rate.


    _________________________________________________________________ MSN 8 with e-mail virus protection service: 2 months FREE*

    =============================================================== 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:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue 10 Dec 2002 - 15:44:01 GMT