Re: earliest memetics paper? and a question.

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Wed 11 Feb 2004 - 00:03:02 GMT

  • Next message: Steven Thiele: "RE:"

    >Subject: Re: earliest memetics paper? and a question.
    >Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 09:44:30 -0500
    >I think the first precise reference made to memetics using the gene-meme
    >metaphor is by Jung. I stumbled across it the other day. I'll find the
    >exact qoute and put it up on the list if anyone's interested, but it's
    >something t to the effect of, "The body is constructed out of Mendelian
    >units, it is not unreasonable to assume that the psyche is made out of
    >similar units." He also likes to talk about the autonomous nature of
    >complexes, and though he focuses on the positive force of religions more
    >than the negative, he does have awareness about the mechanisms they use to
    >spread. His ideas seem to me to be the true precursor of the meme-meme.
    >I've also wondered, how memetics would deal with the issue of archetypal
    >signs? Are they just a fundamental meme-set that is common to nearly all
    >cultures? Are they a fundamental part of the pysche seperate from meme's?
    >If so how do they interact and select for memes? I think this is of great
    >philosophical importance for memetics, th!
    >is is the main barrier memetics would have to overcome to find itself a
    >useful place, in psychology. I find using memetic models of the mind very
    >useful in my own thinking, but they are limited by this particular
    >question. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
    >-Matthew Broudy
    I'd have to see the quote where Jung talks about Mendelian units in its larger context. His view of the psyche was that it rests upon a substratum called the collective unconscious and this could be broken into components he called archetypes. He might have been toying with the notion that the Mendelian units are the bases of inheritance for the collective unconscious, and this substratum when broken into archetypes would be a primitive sort of modularity not unlike that celebrated by the ev psychers. Archetypes could be closer to culturgens than memes as a concept. Cultugens IIRC are more strongly leashed to genes where memes more freely operate. Jung placed archetypes within the depths of the psyche, where memes operate outside the person as cultural entities.

    Jung toyed with several ideas, like Semon's mneme concept (with its engrams) and Driesch's parapsychological psychoid concept (please don't ask me what the heck psychoid means cuz I dunno- ask Dace maybe he knows).

    He also referred to Jacob Burckhardt's supposed "primordial image" concept. Methinks Jung was more into depth psychology than cultural level phenomena such as social contagion. One would probably need to rule social contagion out to lend support to archetypes for an explanation for the existence of myhtological motifs, since these concepts compete for the same turf, not unlike cultural anthropology and evolutionary psychology.

    The feeling toned complexes which he studied previously to embarking upon his wild tangent into archetypes and such may be somewhat allied with memes in a sense, but since complexes would be a component of the personal unconscious they may be more private to each individual, where memes operate upon groups of people. Archetypes OTOH are shared by inheritance, but by what mode? There's the rub.

    Jung had flirted with a neo-Lamarckian sort of inheritance scheme before going full-tilt upon the synchronicity bandwagon.

    Interestingly Jung also referenced Lucien Levy-Bruhl for "his" concept of
    "collective representations", when Durkheim actually coined the concept. These would be something that *sensu* Durkheim is mostly irreducible to biology or psychology, operating squarely within the cultural realm, yet Jung somehow tied this cultural concept to his archetypes, which operate within the phylogenetic psyche, the common inheritance of humankind, which would tend to be similar across cultures and not as variable as something operating in the sociocultural milieu.

    _________________________________________________________________ Optimize your Internet experience to the max with the new MSN Premium Internet Software.

    =============================================================== 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 : Wed 11 Feb 2004 - 00:14:48 GMT