Re: Something I heard !

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri 04 Apr 2003 - 19:15:43 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Re: Something I heard !"

    At 12:15 PM 04/04/03 +0100, Chris wrote:
    >I don't think there's anything to control as such (mentally I mean); I
    >think we are all-meme entities, so as I see it there is never anything but
    >memes in control.

    "Control" is one of those words you have to be careful with what it means in context. It is hard to argue that specific human behavior, for example giving roses to a potential sex partner, is not meme directed (and culture specific). But the *motivation* (ultimately directed toward reproductive success) is of genetic rather than memetic origin.

    >However, there could certainly be pathomemes (perhaps
    >very sophisticated, like some of the flashier diseases) from an
    >organic-life standpoint, and from a inorganic(meme)-life standpoint. We
    >have often mentioned martyrdom here (although this is often peer/family

    Hamilton made the strongest case that the psychological capacity for such sacrifices has a genetic origin. (Genes for such behavior will be successful because close relatives carrying those genes are saved by such actions.) The fact that people will give up their lives for unrelated people in some "cause" can be considered a misfiring of psychological traits shaped when we lived in tribes of (mostly) related people.


    >>>I think we're kidding ourselves if we 'think' (ho ho - i.e. if we
    >>>possess a meme, flawed because it encodes the idea that) we can control
    >>>our resident memes. What about PTSD (although there is a structural
    >>>change in the hippocampus I think the point is valid), and more minor
    >>>stresses we relive while conscious. What about compulsive addiction too.

    See "Sex drugs and cults" for what addiction is (hijacking of a social reward pathway).

    >>>I for one often have thoughts I'd rather be rid of, whether they are raw
    >>>memories of having my little cat put down, yet another jingle or a
    >>>craving to see the person I really should avoid (god this is getting a
    >>>bit confessional, better stop).

    Not every memory is a meme, only the ones that can be passed to other people as part of culture. For example, your memory of mercy killing of animals in pain/dying is a meme, and a long lasting part of our culture that virtually everyone learns. Your memory of having to apply this meme to a pet is not a meme--does not become part of our culture.

    Keith Henson

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