From: Richard Brodie (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 05 Feb 2004 - 07:09:50 GMT
Steven Thiele wrote:
> Memetics understands culture as an expression
> (phenotype?) of memes, as if culture is an epiphenomenon.
> This is a 'hard line' because it doesn't leave open the
> possiblity that culture is a creative phenomenon. Actually,
> the term culture here is a bit of a problem because it is
> often used to refer to a particular aspect of social life
> (such as ways of thinking) rather than social life in all its
> aspects. The fact that the word culture is used so much in
> memetics, is, I think, not inadvertant. It presents a view of
> social life that appears more amenable to memetic analysis.
> Social life, meaning the complex interactions and organisings
> within which individuals are embedded, is a creative process.
> If you want to understand social life you need to examine its
> constituent interactions and organising in detail rather than
> assume that they are the products of something else with
> ontological priority, in this case memes. Insofar as memes
> are ideas, then they are not the primary creators of social
> life, but are just one feature of the process of social life.
> For example, the idea of god does not come first and then
> religious organisation and practices later as a 'phenotype'
> of memes, rather this idea is part and parcel of the
> emergence of religious organisation and practice. All of
> social life is evolving, not just one aspect of it.
I may have missed the start of this. I agree it's stretching the analogy too
far to say culture is a phenotypic expression of memes. I've said many times
memes are one of many phenomena that can fruitfully be viewed as cultural
replicators. I happen to think more complex cultural replicators (cults,
franchises, chain letters) are more interesting than simple memes.
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