Re: Books please...

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Thu Sep 06 2001 - 19:58:10 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Books please...
    Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2001 14:58:10 -0400
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    >From: Chris Taylor <>
    >Subject: Re: Books please...
    >Date: Wed, 05 Sep 2001 17:04:40 +0100
    >En-guh-laaaand... En-guh-laaaand...
    >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now so maybe it has been superceded since.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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