RE: Sensory and sensibility

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 16:31:08 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: RE: Sensory and sensibility
    Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 08:31:08 -0800
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    >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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