Re: Obesity epidemic

From: Gene Doty (
Date: Thu 01 Jul 2004 - 14:55:25 GMT

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    Chris Taylor wrote:

    > Capitalism _is_ alive in the Lovelockian/Gaian sense (work with me here
    > a bit) in that it alters its environment to further its own aims (in a
    > completely unconcious way -- good old anthropomorphisisation shorthand).
    > It is composed of lots of selfish memes in the Dawkinsian sense (I'm
    > just Mr Neology today...) that have ended up 'cooperating' (i.e. not
    > screwing each other up) in a thoroughly unconcious way. That's not to
    > say people don't have lots of grubby little conspiracies etc. but they
    > are like the cleaner wrasses / pick-a-parasite of the economic world.
    > Nature red in tooth and claw -- capitalism is just another pattern
    > replicating because it can, composed of lots of little ones replicating
    > still, because they did before.

    > Cheers, Chris.


    Your assertion of the "living" quality of capitalism reminds me of a book I read some years ago. It was written by a Dutch theologian, whose last name, I believe, was Berkhof, somewhere in the mid-20th c. I found out about it through the writings of the Mennonite scholar, John Yoder.

    Anyway, Berkhof argues that the "demons" that the New Testament talks about--the "powers-that-be"--are actually social structures like racism, classism, and so on. Your comment about capitalism suggests that these
    "demons" could be easily seen as memes. The memetic approach has several advantages, of course, not having any aura of supernaturalism or link to religious beliefs. I suspect that Yoder, at least, would have been receptive to the idea. If anyone is interested I can try to identify the Berkhof book and provide some info on Yoder.

    I was reading them back in the days when I was a left-wing evangelical Christian--a la Sojourners or _The_Other_Side_ magazine. That memeplex is dormant right now ;-)


    Gene Doty
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