RE: Memetic vulnerability: was: Faking It

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 15:48:11 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Memetic vulnerability: was: Faking It
    Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001 15:48:11 +0100
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    >> Then of course there's kin selection, so you'll tolerate and do
    things for
    >> relatives, reciprocal alturism where you'll do something for your
    >> if there's a good chance of something in return for you,
    otherwise, everyone
    >> else is competition to, very generally speaking, be aggressive

            <Interesting though - this kin thing can demonstrate how far removed
    > are from our genetics. I know quite a few people (especially amongst us
    > GenXers) who find themselves as (or even more) protective of friends as
    > family. Biological kin selection is all based on the number of genes you
    > are likely to have in common (high between sibs); this applies in
    > memetics - you will (memetically) have lots in common with family (and
    > the other love-based irrational stuff) but you may have more memes in
    > common with friends - who will benefit from the exact same kin selective
          favouritism - kin of the mind (yeuch).>

    Interesintg point. I forget the author's name, but I think the book was
    called something like 'The Nuture Assumption' where the argument was that
    children's behavioural/attitudinal characteristics are more heavily
    influenced by their peers than their parents, that would seem to support
    such a view. Perhaps kin selection in nature, should be replaced by peer
    selection in culture? Certainly we know that cultural transmission is not
    only vertical, but an be horizontal, and oblique (the term Dugatkin uses) in
    the sense that people entirely unrelated to us in any way may transmit
    behaviours to us. There does seem some evidence in youth culture that
    oblique transmission at least appears to be more powerful than vertical
    transmission from parents (the kind of transmission that dominates people
    like Cavalli-Sforza's notions of cultural evolution).

    Kin selection in nature doesn't require awareness on the part of the
    organism of the relationship (does it?), but what about peer selection in
    culture? Is this why youth subcultures invariably develop very distinct
    modes of dress, musical tastes, patterns of speech etc., so identification
    of people in the same peer group is easy?

    Going back to Kenneth's idea, surely this too suggests that memes must have
    at least periods of fixity so that people can recognise their own, and
    opposing subcultural groups. That's not to say they can't be fluid, as with
    the original punk/NF skinhead haircut being appropriated, first by the gay
    community in the UK, and currently it's become a mainstream look as well.


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