Re: earliest memetics paper? and a question.

From: Dace (
Date: Wed 18 Feb 2004 - 23:32:28 GMT

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    > From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    > > > From: "Scott Chase" <>
    > > > I'd have to see the quote where Jung talks about Mendelian units in
    > >> larger context. His view of the psyche was that it rests upon a
    > >> called the collective unconscious and this could be broken into
    > >> he called archetypes. He might have been toying with the notion that
    > >> Mendelian units are the bases of inheritance for the collective
    > >unconscious,
    > >> and this substratum when broken into archetypes would be a primitive
    > >of
    > >> modularity not unlike that celebrated by the ev psychers. Archetypes
    > >> be closer to culturgens than memes as a concept. Cultugens IIRC are
    > >> strongly leashed to genes where memes more freely operate. Jung placed
    > >> archetypes within the depths of the psyche, where memes operate
    > >the
    > > > person as cultural entities.
    > >
    > > Ted said:
    > >
    > >This is where neural reductionism becomes incompatible with the study of
    > >culture. Brains come in discrete units. If minds are really just
    > >then a collective unconscious would require a collective brain. But a
    > >is only one perspective onto a two-sided phenomenon. What is brain from
    > >outside is consciousness from the inside. The underlying reality is
    > >Unlike brains and consciousness, mind need not be individual and
    > >Yes, we have individual minds, but these minds can be regarded as
    > >*individuations* of collective mentality. Rather than six billion
    > >of water, we have six billion waves rising and falling on a single ocean.
    > Are you suggesting that the "organism" level of memetics is not
    > culture but our collective mind?

    Hi Frankie,

    No, I would say that the cultural equivalent of organism is person. My point, in keeping with Darwin, is that the person is the driving force of cultural evolution, with memes (or genes in the case of natural evolution) taking a back seat. Of course, Darwin never heard of genes, but he was unimpressed with theories that emphasized "germ plasm" over organisms in determining the direction of evolution.

    The collective mind is the repository of culture. The deepest elements of the collective mind are aspects of universal culture. Those elements that shift from culture to culture enable us to define where one culture branches off from another. We can see this, as you suggested, by tracing variations in perennial myths. I think what causes these shifts is personal decisions that become personally ingrained first (habit) and culturally ingrained second (meme). People generate new cultural forms while memes stabilize the changes over time. In Gouldian terms this would be "punctuated equilibrium" followed by "normal evolution."

    > Has anyone read "The Symbiotic
    > Man" yet (typical sexist title). de Rosney suggests that human being
    > "are becoming the neurons of the Earth."

    Could be interesting. Thanks for the reference.


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