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>From: Chris Taylor <Christopher.Taylor@man.ac.uk>
>Subject: Re: Books please...
>Date: Wed, 05 Sep 2001 17:04:40 +0100
>I really enjoyed (many years ago now) Chaos by James Gleick. It's a
>nicely written trip through lots of the ideas about complex systems that
>underpin much of biology (and therefore much of memetics). Not
>mainstream to us here but well worth a look. Actually it was a while ago
>now so maybe it has been superceded since.
>And I'd reccomend How the Leopard Changed its Spots by Brian Goodwin -
>it has been mixed up with a lot of other stuff on here of late, so I
>think reading it for yourself is worthwhile.
I've been reading several books lately. Gregory Bateson's _Steps to an
Ecology of Mind_ (1987, Lason Aronson, Inc. New Jersey) was lengthy. Some
parts stood out more for me than others, such as his discussion of Lamarck,
"probably the greatest biologist in history", in Bateson's words and Jung's
hazy pleroma / creatura distinction. I'm not familiar with Margaret Mead,
but now I realize her connections, so to speak. A hop skip and jump from
William Bateson, nemesis of Paul Kammerer. Intriguing for those into the
Kevin Bacon game.
Gary Taylor's _Cultural Selection_ (1996, Basic Books, New York) was pretty
interesting. Vincent might like this book because of it seems to relate
somewhat to media studies. The part about Marlowe versus Shakespeare (page
73) and how circumstances (Gouldian contingency?) can play a role in how
importance is assessed gave me a new outlook. Taylor kept on talking about
collective memory, but not in a new agey sense. He really tears Richard
Nixon a new one towards the end. His curious repetition of the fact "Nixon
is dead" is almost an echo of Nietzsche. I think he tried to tie in the case
of Nixon in our collective memory with what he develops in the rest of the
Adam Kuper's _The Chosen Primate_ (1994, Harvard University Press,
Cambridge, Massachusetts) is something which with I'm trying to take my
time. Kuper IIRC only discusses memes briefly. He talks a bit about the
incest theories of Freud, Westermarck, and Levi-Strauss.
Richard Lerner's _Final Solutions_ (1992, The Pennsylvania State University
Press, University Park, Pennsylvania) goes into a little detail on Konrad
Lorenz's alleged "brown shirt" past. He also critiques sociobiology
(including Wilson and Dawkins) and offers the alternative of "developmental
contextualism". I think this should at least show that Sheldrake doesn't
have a monopoly on criticism of radical genocentric thought and that there
are alternative views besides morphic resonance out there.
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