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Hi Francesca S. Alcorn -
>Is memetic behavior by
>definition learned and not hardwired? If so, how can you
>operationalize that distinction?
Certainly the capacity for it is hardwired, like our capacity for
language. But it is a develpmental capacity, and needs environmental
(The ultimate test for memetics would be ultimately unethical- requiring
a human to be raised in total isolation.)
As Joe and others have mentioned, there are benchmarks of development.
You've seen, and will see, them yourself, as a mother. Here at Harvard,
Jerome Kagan and others have shown genetic predispositions to personality
types, (not surprisingly, with no correlates to astrological
designation), and child development laboratories are still thriving areas
of research. The mirror test, and the 'I' moment, are all indicative. If
memetics requires language, and it requires a 'self', the 'I' moment
would be the marker, IMHO.
>I have always had a distinction in my own mind between behaviors and
Have you had a distinction between memetic behavior and genetic behavior?
>behavior you emit - be it spoken, written, acting (bashing someone on
>the head) or creating artifacts, those are all expressions of the
_If_ the behavior you emit is _precisely_ the behavior the 'meme'
expected to exhibit, then, I think the internal memists have their day.
But, from all corners of experience, I hold that one's behavior is
almost, at many moments, as unknown and unexpected to them as it would be
to a stranger, and even the strongest of intentions do not produce the
And, again, many times, we do exactly what we set out to do.
Demonstrating the meme of stubborn resistance....
And sometimes, we do things only to instruct others in how to do things.
And, and.... The gamut of behaviors is almost as varied as the incredible
practically limitless chain of genetic material they arise from.
>I think that
>human minds might be the first environment in which sexual
>reproduction of memes could take place.
I started a sort of frivolous thread here about what might be sexual in
memetics, since sex in genetics is such a vital engine of evolution, but
I never considered hermaphroditic internalizations. I think it still
takes two to tango, even on the memetic dance floor. After all, where did
that meme come from? And, did you take it in consentually?
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