Re: Individual - Collective / digest V1#1480

From: Dace (
Date: Fri 27 Feb 2004 - 19:44:06 GMT

  • Next message: Francesca S. Alcorn: "Re: Between groups."

    >From: M Lissack <>
    >To the "purists" none of this matters. I have a
    >hammer and I use it.
    >Memes as ideas which "carry" their own reproductive
    >force and which are subject to Darwinian "selection
    >pressures" are in some stage of the evolution of the
    >hammer above.

    That memes replicate-- and either persist or get selected out-- is the essence of memetics. To claim this view for the purists is like saying only purist Christians allege that Christ was a divine blessing unto this world. Of course, all Christians-- and they have many differences among them-- accept this basic tenet. What the purists, or "fundamentalists," argue is that all other religions are false teachings, that Islam is the work of Satan, and that "the Jews killed Christ." For them, Christianity isn't just a faith-- it's *the answer.*

    Same goes for memetics purists. In memetics, what the fundamentalists maintain is that cultural evolution is a mechanical process reducible to memes. This view follows from the recognition that cultural evolution proceeds much more quickly than natural evolution and therefore can't be explained by genetic mutation. The "problem of culture" is thus "solved" by reducing culture to the blind, mechanical evolution of gene-like memes. In mechanizing human culture, the purist form of memetics becomes, not simply a science of culture, but *the answer* to all questions cultural. No need to posit anything human, like love, for example, which is reduced to the imperative of obtaining attention as well as the tactics of manipulating people by lavishing attention on them and promoting one's genes by assisting close relatives. Mechanization resolves all issues according to a simple formula. "Survival of the fittest" becomes as worn out and meaningless as
    "Jesus saves." Meanwhile, those who raise objections become taboo and are denounced as "wacky" or simply ignored.


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