Re: Kate's book/ memetic recombination

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Thu 24 Mar 2005 - 09:15:44 GMT

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    >The part of your book where you touch upon memetic
    >recombination has me remembering an essay Jung had
    >written about cryptomnesia (the phenomenon of "hidden
    >memories"). The basic idea of Jung's essay is that
    >so-called novelty results from a sort of
    >recombination. He said: "...only the combinations are
    >new, not the material, which hardly alters at all, or
    >only very slowly and almost imperceptibily." He
    >focuses on how fragments of memory could arise in new
    >contexts and points to a passage in Nietzsche's
    >_Zarathustra_ that is strikingly similar to a passage
    >in a book, by Justinus Kerner, Nietzsche may have read
    >when he was younger. If so, this memory fragment of
    >Nietzsche's recombined with other material as he
    >formed his masterpiece.
    >So if we look at Nietzsche's work as a representation
    >or "cultural DNA" could we say that Jung's literary
    >forensics work was a sort of "cultural DNA
    >fingerprinting" which supports the case for Kerner as
    >the intellectual father of this particular fragment?
    >Jung, while conducting a paternity test, compared
    >passages from Nietzsche's _Zarathustra_ and Justinus
    >Kerner's _Blatter aus Prevorst_. Is this textual
    >analysis akin to DNA fingerprinting? If so please kick
    >me for the suggestion of such an analogy :-)
    >Carl Jung. "Cryptomnesia" from _Psychiatric Studies_.
    >1957. Bollingen Foundation, New York
    >Jung's work is summarized by Daniel Schacter in his
    >_The Seven Sins of Memory_.

    Scott - I don't know about DNA fingerprinting but I really like this example.


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