Re: memetics-digest V1 #1552

From: Dace (
Date: Fri 13 May 2005 - 17:52:40 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Benzon on persona(e)"


    > At 03:23 09/05/2005, you wrote:
    > >Why do you cringe at the sound of Sheldrake? Why not Elsasser?
    > I cringe at the idea of having the list chopped, which is what will happen
    > if Sheldrake keeps being dragged in. Believe me, with the forthcoming
    > over to the Belgian hosting site from Manchester and the relaunch of JoM
    > under its new name, there is very little incentive for the Mancunians to
    > continue to support us. We don't want to annoy them.

    Of course not.

    The chief emotion in your post is fear, precisely what powers taboo. I too cringe at the thought of this discussion group getting the ax. But either it'll happen or it won't. Mentioning the name "Sheldrake" is not going to make a dime's difference.

    Sheldrake is relevant here not because we'll get "chopped" if we keep dragging him in but because you're afraid of him. Taboos take on power to the extent that they spread. The more people who fear the taboo, the more readily it replicates from mind to mind, much like a wildfire that gains strength with each shrub consumed in its fury. Fear of the taboo-- and annoyance (or worse) at people who dare "touch" it-- amplifies its repulsive force.

    Taboo is a good example of the way memes displace individual (conscious) selection with group selection. Agency shifts from people to memes, and behind the meme stands the group, much as a field stands behind a swarm of magnetic particles. In this way memetics entails precisely the holistic thinking that makes Sheldrake taboo.


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