Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id QAA03145 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Fri, 18 Jan 2002 16:35:30 GMT X-Originating-IP: [184.108.40.206] From: "Grant Callaghan" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: RE: Sensory and sensibility Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 08:31:08 -0800 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed Message-ID: <LAW2-F15cUtI9dm5UxP000031d1@hotmail.com> X-OriginalArrivalTime: 18 Jan 2002 16:31:08.0726 (UTC) FILETIME=[8889B560:01C1A03D] Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
>I think that's exactly right, Grant. Remember, cute animals manipulate
>people to take care of them with no memetic help.
That may be because cuteness is in the eye of the beholder rather than a
quality of the animal itself. For that matter, so is ugly. From the human
point of view, a hippo is only beautiful to another hippo, a proposition
that can only be confirmed by their actions when they are around each other.
Humans declare puppies cute and act on a set of memes we harbor for
"things that are cute," which includes girls, animals, objects and plants.
Actually, I don't think any other animal has the capacity to divide their
world up into categories like beautiful, cute or ugly. I've noticed,
though, that the Japanese, for instance, find beauty in things Americans
consider ugly. They seem to equate "interesting" with "beautiful." They
like pottery, for example, that has what we would call "character." They
call it "beautiful." So I guess I'm saying it's the human on a cultural
level that decides what's cute, although the puppy may have evolved a set of
features at the gentic level that triggers the reaction. Thousands of years
of a symbiotic relationship must have created some bonds on a deeper level.
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