RE: To Robin, Applied Memetics

From: Price, Ilfryn (
Date: Tue 02 Aug 2005 - 12:40:26 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "RE: To Robin, Applied Memetics"

    <You have to get into EP to understand why people living in tribal societies evolved a "gain" adjustment for xenophobic memes and what "turns the knob."

    If you do this, you can understand the origin of wars as diverse as the American Civil war and the one that killed 95% of the population on Easter Island.>

    The problem with this argument is that it assumes xenophobic war to be a feature of "tribal societies". The Easter Island Polynesians had developed / evolved an efficient nautical technology and hence food surplus as had various other pacific islanders pre the arrival of 'western' explorers. In Easter Island the cause of the collapse was a resource crisis brought on by devotion to replicating statue memes.

    Yellen (1990) Scientific American, April pp 96-105 cited by Hurst 1996 Crisis and Renewal Harvard Business School Press describes the transition from hunter-gathering to foraging by the !Kang (Kalahahri Busmen). The older society had a rich set of rituals for exchange and an open line of site arrangement of dwellings which incidentally mitigated against individual hording. This changed with herding when hording became possible along with disease, over grazing and xenophobia. The trigger was 'memetic' and not hard wired.


    Professor If Price FMGC Sheffield Hallam University 0114 225 4032

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