Re: Memetic Parasitism

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Wed 20 Jul 2005 - 13:57:16 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Memetic Parasitism"

    At 09:46 PM 19/07/05 +0100, Alan Patrick wrote:


    >>I'm not convinced that it's a matter of being parasitic - well only in
    >>the sense that you can't have an objecting-to-Harry-Potter meme-set
    >>without having Harry Potter in the first place.
    >I think I buy your overall explanation here, though I am becoming
    >increasingly intrigued with the idea of memetic parasitism, and maybe
    >symbiotic memes. I don't know of any detailed work in this area, but by
    >empirical observation it seems that religion and politics are very

    You have to be careful here about what is being parasitized.

    With respect to humans and/or their genes, all memes are ranged along a deadly-parasite to mutualistic-symbiote spectrum. (Heaven's Gate to shoe making memes.)

    You then have a second level where memes depend on other memes to exist.

    I.e., you don't get a shirt button meme without a shirt meme in the first place. :-) And sometimes non-material religious/political memes depends on another non-material meme.

    An example I have used in the past is that the fairly hot expansion of space colony meme that started up in the mid 70s was partly in reaction to the depressing limits to growth meme that had been widespread and ascendant in the previous 5 years or so.

    Keith Henson

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