RE: Thesis: Memes are DNA-Slaves

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Sat Sep 29 2001 - 16:50:10 BST

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    Subject: RE: Thesis: Memes are DNA-Slaves
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    > > fecundity and longevity. This has great implications
    > > on the survivability of (malevolent) memes. While memes

    > what are malevolent memes? who definies whether a meme is malevolent
    > or not? it's just a question of cultural/personal view.

    True. Its depends whose shoes you're in to determine whether or
    not a certain meme is malevolent or not of course. However,
    when 50 million people die because of some crazy, irrational
    political idealogy it's hard to maintain that it is
    perspective dependent whether that memeplex was bad or not.
    Such memes decreased humanity not within the nazi empire perhaps
    but through its antagonizing and aggressive effect it had on
    rivaling idealogies. If the entire human population were nazis
    the story might have been different, but luckily it didn't happen.
    Nazism was bad for humanity, hence the adjective malevolent.

    > > harmful to humanity might give the impression to vanish of the face
    > > of the earth as their carriers get killed for precisely the
    > > reason of carrying those memes, such as happened to people
    > > adhering to the nazi/fascism regimes. They can't be eradicated
    > nazis didnt carry the meme to kill themselves, they killed jews.
    > and not all people who believed in it died. maybe hitler and some of
    > his direct followers were killed or committed suicide but all the
    > 100000s followers in the country just kept on living in the new
    > system.

    True, nazism was and is still passed on vertically, not only from
    books and other non-brain media.
    > > none-brain media (written paper, films, recorded speeches etc.).
    > > In fact, such memes can become `en vogue' again if the environment
    > > permits or desires again. For instance, nazi/fascism memes can
    > i agree to your theory, that memes can live further on even if the
    > people who had it in their minds died. but that doesn't prove that
    > these memes were and are not slaves to their dna.

    The idea of memes in non-brain media is due to Blackmore not me.
    I wouldn't say slave as this would require a strong dependence.
    But strictly speaking your conception is not that bad. In the
    past, when the brain was not fully developed, the interaction
    between memes and genes was likely to be a lot stronger than
    it now is. However, to use your language it's better to speak
    of genes being slaves of memes.
    The gene-meme co-evolution pressed on to give us
    our big brain. This is one implications of memetic theory (also
    Blackmore's). However, it is a hard to maintain the viewpoint
    that memes are slaves of genes or vice versa, as the
    co-evolution has somewhat flatted down or perhaps is slowly
    reversing (now this *is* my hypothesis, posted some 2 months ago).

    I don't think it's right to speak of one thing being a slave
    to another as there generally is an interaction between the
    two (co-evolution). Did you read The Meme Machine by Blackmore?
    It contains valuable information on that topic and memetics
    in general.


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