Re: Absolutist memes

From: Keo Ormsby (
Date: Thu 04 Nov 2004 - 20:16:59 GMT

  • Next message: Keo Ormsby: "Re: Absolutist memes"

    ----- Original Message -----

    From: "Paul" <>

    To: <>

    Sent: Friday, October 29, 2004 2:32 PM

    Subject: RE: Absolutist memes


    > This is really getting interesting. Ruling out the
    possibility of a

    > genetic biological relevance on selective pressure or
    a specialised

    > inherited psychological process of memes with regards
    to memes appearing

    > in a stressed/worried population; what process in
    your view would have

    > to take place in order for the absolutist memes to
    establish an ESS?

    It would vary a lot with each situation, but I have a strong feeling that if you consider the ESS associated with "fight to the death" behaviors in organisms, you might get an idea of how absolutist memes establish themselves. In behavioral ecology studies, actually risking your life to mate is very seldom a good strategy, but under certain conditions it can appear. Usually these strategies are only part of a more complicated overall strategy in the form of "if condition X, be prudent. If condition Y, fight to the death" in a niche where condition Y is rare and would mean an absolute impossibility to mate. For instance, powerful dominant male walruses have exclusive mating rights over the females on a given beach, which in principle would mean that any non dominant male walrus would have a better chance of reproducing by constantly attacking the dominant, trying to overthrow or kill it, even by risking its own life. This actually happens sometimes. However (and this is why "all or nothing" strategies are rare), a lot of other strategies have a better chance of succeeding in the long run, such as stalking the harem until a surreptitious mating can take place, or by waiting for the dominant male to grow old and less powerful.

    In the case of absolutist memes, I believe that the
    "all or nothing" aspect of it is also a strategy that should appear only under certain conditions. For instance, Nazi memes were forcefully imposed over other political memes in the public arena, but I am sure that in many (if not most) instances where parents and school personnel transmitted them to children, they used a more rationalistic and loving approach. It is the right combination of these strategies that makes them evolutionary stable.


    =============================================================== 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 : Thu 04 Nov 2004 - 20:27:38 GMT