Re: Cartoon meme

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Thu 09 Feb 2006 - 18:18:35 GMT

  • Next message: Douglas Brooker: "Re: Cartoon meme"

    At 03:02 PM 2/9/2006 +0000, Douglas Brooker wrote:


    >the problem I think, as some of the replies indicate, including the above,
    >is that some have jumped right into the substantive issues, good-bad,
    >right-wrong, rather than a memetic analysis.

    Correct. For example, why did the cartoon meme take the time it did and not more or less time to snowball?

    >Should not an adequate account of this start off with an account of the
    >commentator's own memeplex of values which are to be used the subsequent

    I am not sure "values" is the correct term to use in analyzing the psychological "forces" behind the spread of the "cartoon meme".

    My preferred takeoff point for looking at this is evolutionary psychology. In theory, and to a large extent by those who use it, evolutionary psychology is "value free."

    Deplorable as the situations are in regard to battered wife syndrome, understanding the evolutionary context that gave rise to the psychological trait of "capture-bonding" is or at least should be value free.

    I could mention another example, but fear to do so for starting a flame war about the subject and not the underlying science.

    >One reference, for example to "the protective strength to the religion
    >given by the hypersensitivity to criticism aspects of the
    >ideology." ought to be deconstructed for its own memetic qualities.
    >so what is the 'hypersensitivity' meme? is it a purely subjective
    >assessment residing in the minds of those who use the word? can some
    >objective truth or insight about the meme in question result from the
    >application of "hypersentitivity" as a measure?

    Evolutionary psychology models give you reason to expect that sensitivity to memes that lead to wars and other forms of social disruption is dependant on measurable factors, particularly the per capita economic history and future prospects.

    >might comparison between 'honour cultures' and 'no honour cultures' be
    >there is a lot buried here.
    >first thing is to define the meme? yes? no?

    No. Memes are elements of culture or replicating information patterns. Very broad definition.

    >is it the cartoon? if so what are the qualities of the cartoon? Or is
    >the meme the reaction to the qualities of the cartoon. what exactly is
    >spreading? what are memetic qualities of the reactions in the western media?

    It isn't important how you sort out the technical definitions of what is causing people to charge into gunfire. What is important if you want to do anything with the knowledge is understanding why they are doing it *now* and not ten or 20 or 50 years ago.

    Keith Henson

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