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>As an example of mixing elements, I have been stirring evolutionary
>psychology into memetics to answer the question of why some
>memes--lethal to genes or individuals--are contagious.
Have you read "The Botany of Desire?" The author says that certain
plants have evolved to exploit human preferences, and use humans to
enhance their reproduction - that it doesn't make sense for a plant
like marijuana to devote it's resources to making chemicals which
mimic human neurotransmitters unless there is a payoff for the plant.
He also talks about animal intoxication.
The director who made "The Gods Must Be Crazy" (sorry, can't remember
his name) also made a movie about animal behavior, and showed footage
of several African animals drunk on the fermented fruit of the morula
tree. He said that animals returned to the trees the same time every
year to eat the fruit.
I have been trying to catch up on some of the backlogged posts, and
came across your thread about spoiled pathways. :)
My guess is that it has to do with powerlessness. Many of these
effects are also present when the trauma is experienced by an adult
as well, although they may not be as profound.
At the end of this article they refer to "focused therapeutic
experiences" which I have also heard called "corrective emotional
experiences" to heal the brain. I think people are seeking out
corrective emotional experiences when they join cults or gangs -
trying to regain for themselves a sense of power through
affiliation/self-image enhancement. The meme propagates by
exploiting this drive for self-healing - in much the way that therapy
and self-help books also exploit it.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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