Practical applications of memetics? - Part 1

From: Stephen Springette (
Date: Wed Dec 12 2001 - 10:54:51 GMT

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    Greetings All,

    My following response to an item that appeared on the Evolutionary
    Psychology list was ultimately not posted by the list moderator. But the
    thought occurred to me that if it is so easy to apply semiotics in order to
    confidently refute feminist claims, is there anyone out there similarly
    disposed to applying memetics? Is there any "practical" application of
    memetics, or does it remain an untested, nebulous theory, without any
    commonsense, pragmatic applicability?

    This post is rather long, and so in anticipation of server difficulties,
    I'll send it in two parts.


    I'd like to provide some balance to Lydia Parnell's article, "See the
    Patriarchy Tumblin' Down!: Using Sociobiology to Bolster Feminist Claims".


    I apply Peirce's law of association of habits, in conjunction with a more
    general interpretation of Heidegger's Dasein.

    Charles Sanders Peirce regarded habit and association as fundamental
    aspects of consciousness. Thus, he proclaimed his "law of association of
            "There is a law in this association of ideas. We may roughly say it is the
    law of habit. It is the great "Law of association of ideas" - the one law
    of all psychical action".

    I want to be more specific with the relationship between association and
    habit, and that is why I would prefer to call it the "Law of association of

    In summary, I apply the law of association of habits to infer three crucial
    points about gender roles:
            1) Gender roles are habits. Thus, we can infer that:
            2) Gender roles are chosen. And from a more general interpretation of
    Heidegger's Dasein (I call it the desire to be) we know that:
            3) Men and women "like" the roles to which they have been assigned.

    These crucial points demonstrate how men and women are complicit in their
    respective oppressions. Moreover, we are now better placed to understand
    why women, as the filters of variety, are predisposed to sustaining the
    cultural known - while men, as the producers of variety, are predisposed to
    exploring the cultural unknown.

    In accordance with gender roles, men and women exercise their own logically
    distinct manners of oppression. Thus, the gender whose responsibility is to
    sustain the known will have, as its primary mode of oppression, the
    enforcement of standards of "proper behavior", while the gender whose
    responsibility is at the interface with the unknown will have, as its
    primary mode of oppression, competition and assertion of ideas and beliefs.
    In this way we have a cultural, semiotic expression of the Darwinian
    paradigm - cultures evolve with men as the producers of variety and women
    as the filters of variety.

     From the law of association of habits, we know that the gender that is
    provided for will habituate logics that make it difficult to
    compete within the logical realm of the gender that provides. Simply put,
    it is because women have it so easy that they have it so hard. Thus, the
    choice prioritized by women, to be provided for, becomes the habit that
    confines them, and this has nothing to do with any conspiracy by men to
    hold women back. Indeed, much of the success of feminism might be better
    understood from the perspective of the desire of men to have women as
    equals, as comrades. After all, would not many men dream of marriage to a
    comrade, an equal with whom one can share in life's adventures? Is it not
    true that a typically wifely women is most likely to put a damper on such
    enthusiasm, to become a ball-and-chain whereby the lives of her partner and
    children are prescribed in terms of her shoulds and should-nots? It is men,
    as the explorers of the unknown, who are more predisposed to liberating
    women than are women. That is why women often turn to men to be saved by
    them. Women are their own worst enemy. For the truth is that women oppress
    women. Women as mothers, women as girl-friends and women as role-models
    create the norms against which women compare themselves and each other,
    judge each other, and exclude those women that dare to be different.

    We are now in a position to understand the ways in which women oppress women


    Amnesty International
    recognizes that FGM is, in the majority of cases, women doing it to women.
    Indeed, with AI's allegiance to the feminist cause, we might expect that
    their tacit admission that "usually only women are allowed to be present"
    might understate a harsher truth - that it is, for all intents and
    purposes, ALWAYS women doing it to women, in the course of sacred women's
    rituals and sacred rites of passage. We also figure that, implicit in their
    reluctant acknowledgement of the part that women play is the popular
    feminist message that it is men who are somehow responsible for forcing
    women to perform these deeds. But irrespective of whatever ghostly
    influence men are purported to have, irrespective of feminist distortions
    and interpretations, the simple fact remains that, from all the cases that
    I have encountered on the internet, it is adult women taking young girls to
    the sacred sites. It is adult women holding them down, to prevent them from
    moving, and adult women holding their legs apart to allow the knife to cut.
    And it is always a woman wielding the cutting implement.

    Not to mention peer pressure among the young girls themselves, as a part of
    the rite-of-passage of becoming Woman.

    Similarly, the witch-hunts provide feminists with more opportunities to
    indulge in victimhood. Yet, inasmuch as men most often provide the visible
    face of the persecution of "witches", the truth is rather more complex. Let
    us, for example, briefly look at the Salem witch trials. Witches were
    primarily identified and tried on the basis of testimonies provided by
    people who were "afflicted" (dreams, premonitions). Without going into the
    interesting details concerning the role of gossip (a primarily female
    activity), let us briefly take a look at some of the numbers. All up, 37 of
    the afflicted were female, and 5 were male. 5 of the afflicted were from 1
    to 10 years old, and 27 of them were from 11 to 20 years old. 34 were
    single, 7 were married. By a process of elimination, we might begin to see
    a typical profile emerge (i.e., how does single female between 11 and 20
    years old, sound?). As many of the afflicted were children, we might expect
    the primary nurturer to have had some measure of input. Thus is the nature
    of manipulation.

    Now let's look at the Salem trials from a slightly different perspective.
    14 women and 5 men were executed. A sixth man was "pressed" (crushed by
    stone weights) for refusing to admit innocence or guilt. 200 people were
    awaiting trial before the process was declared unlawful, and they were
    subsequently released. What was the role of gossip, a primarily female
    activity, in identifying the other 200? The majority of the witnesses, as
    the afflicted, were girls and young women. In this light, 14 women and 6
    men murdered cannot constitute a statistically significant proof that the
    Salem community practiced single-minded oppression against women
    perpetrated solely by men.

    The hijab (veil) is another cultural tradition actively insisted upon by
    women. Muslim women WANT to wear the veil and any denial of this simple
    fact trivializes them and paints them as simpleton morons. Thus it is that
    the chauvanistic, western, feminist crusade - always quick to condemn the
    Christian crusades of the white patriarchy - insults and interferes with
    cultures of which it knows nothing and to which it does not belong. For
    insights to how Muslim women actively support their Islamic faith, take a
    visit to:
    Then go to "Current Issues" in the header. And then cursor down towards the
    bottom, to explore the several articles on women in Islam, including at
    least one on the hijab.

    Other examples of women oppressing women, typically co-opted by feminists
    for the purposes of fulfilling their own agendas:
            1) Sati (bride-burning in India). There have been examples in the Indian
    media where women have revolted against attempts to deny them this sacred
    women's rite. Sati and bride murder are also blamed, in large part, on
    economic "necessity" (the dowry system of India) and the problems
    associated with providing for women without husbands. And as such,
    newspaper reports implicating women (eg., mothers-in-law) as often as men
    should come as no surprise.
            2) Killing of female children. The role of mothers is never mentioned,
    yet, if we acknowledge the fact that the killing of female children is
    based in economic "necessity", as girls will never grow up to become good
    providers, we might expect mothers to be at least equally implicated.

    Part 2 follows:

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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