Re: sex and the single meme

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sun Jan 20 2002 - 22:07:10 GMT

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    Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 17:07:10 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: sex and the single meme
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    At 04:27 AM 20/01/02 -0500, "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    >Keith said:
    >>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.

    It certainly seems to be the case that plants evolved in ways to exploit
    animals to spread their seeds and that a lot of them evolved toxic
    chemicals to keep from being eaten--mostly by insects. I suspect it is
    more likely that some of the toxins happen to have had rewarding effects on

    >The director who made "The Gods Must Be Crazy" (sorry, can't remember his

    Jamie Uys (pronounced, I think, ace)

    > 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.

    People argue that taking street drugs is self medication as well. What you
    say is another way to look at it, but the damage to a person's life done by
    cults is often as extensive as that done by a heavy drug habit.

    Keith Henson

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