Why memeoids?

From: Keith Henson (hkhenson@cogeco.ca)
Date: Thu Jan 17 2002 - 20:40:34 GMT

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    Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002 15:40:34 -0500
    To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
    From: Keith Henson <hkhenson@cogeco.ca>
    Subject: Why memeoids?
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    At 02:11 AM 17/01/02 -0500, you wrote:
    >In a message dated 1/16/2002 11:48:02 PM Central Standard Time, Keith Hensonh
    ><khenson@cogeco.ca> writes:
    > > If you want to try to understand what is going on with memeoids in some
    > > attempt to keep it from happening again, realizing that it is an indirect
    > > effect of reproduction (sex drive) is essential. It is not just the 70
    > > some odd virgins they were promised, it is the rewarding brain chemicals
    > > from the attention they got and the anticipation of the fame they would
    > > after doing the deed.
    > >
    > > It would be *most* interesting to see how the genes of the 19 hijackers
    > > fare. My bet is that the additional kids their brothers have as a result
    > > of their fame more than makes up for them being turned to ash.
    > >
    > > Sadly.
    > >
    > > Keith Henson
    > >
    >Agreed. I did not mean to imply that the sex drive was the only thing on
    >their minds. Interesting, though, that it is included in the afterlife
    >promise for martyrs.

    Granted on both points.

    >Normal people are all wired to seek attention, as you say.

    To widely differing degrees I think. This is definitely a need for an
    objective measure of how strong a person's drive for attention. But (I
    think) the critical link is that attention is the way a social primate gets
    feedback on how they are doing in the critical area of social
    status. Social status was, and to a considerable extent still is, the
    primary ticket to reproductive success. Thus, it is no wonder that people
    work so hard for social status, the existence of their genes in the future
    depends on it.

    Why there is a lot of variation in how hard people work for status is not
    entirely clear. Perhaps those who worked hard for status in the past were
    a lot more likely to die without *any* children, leading to a mixed
    evolutionary stable strategy (ESS).

    >Socialization and
    >maturity are largely consist of learning ideas of positive and negative
    >attention, and learning ways of controlling what one does to receive

    Right, but this is *within the context* of a collection of
    memes--culture. As I mentioned in an earlier post today, a Yanamano gains
    social status in his tribe by killing men from other tribes. Kids in this
    county can grow up in social situation not much different from the
    Yanamano. I shudder at the thought of a hundred million kids growing up in
    an environment that holds up bin Laden and his pilots as the route to high

    And some fail to distinguish between positive and negative attention either
    generally or in specific situations. I have quite a bit of experience with
    these people on the net.

    >As Wade said, it was a hell of a way for thousands of people to go -- and
    >indeed very sad. At least officials are now paying more attention to some
    >vastly worse kinds of attack that can still happen.

    As an engineer, I can state that there so many routes to killing people
    and/or damaging infrastructure the officials can't consider all of
    them. It is impossible (at present) to entirely prevent attacks without
    intrusion and cost that would wreck our society. I am not sure that
    fully understanding the biological roots of the problem will lead to
    solutions either, but it does seem like the best long range approach

    Keith Henson

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit

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