Civilisations as a System of Memeplexes

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 22:20:55 GMT

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    <Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 08:21:39 +0000 (GMT)
    From: =?iso-8859-1?q?John=20Croft?= <>
    Subject: Civilisations as a System of Memeplexes>

    See above if you want it in full

    Hi John,

    I’m fairly new here myself, so welcome.
    I’ve been giving this a bit of thought, so here they are. I hope you find
    them of some use.

    Some of the five scenarios that you mention do seem to be occuring, however
    i am not as convinced (yet) that we are in the death throes of our
    civilisation due to a number of factors that were not present when past
    civilisations fell.

    The most obvious of these in technology. I agree that as a civilisation
    exceeds its ecological resource it should fall, and is still a possibility
    for ours. Unlike in the past we have the ability to manufacture ecologies in
    a literal sense eg the Eden project in the UK. Given sufficient energy it
    would be possible to grow food and such things as pharmaceuticals alomst
    anywhere. The key of course is the sufficient energy - this needs to be
    cheap. We are just at present beginning to explore renewables, so this is an
    open book.

    Secondly, we should expand our niche. At present we are vunerable and the
    only way is up! Again we are only at the begining of this (though IMO, we
    are way behind where we could be if governments and buisness got thier act
    together). Should some of the technology pay off (eg crystalline compounds,
    medciene etc), it would lead to a drive to establish more orbital
    facilities. Denis Tito has already shown there is a market for people who
    want to experience space as a holiday. From there there is only onwards.
    [ok, so i have some optimism, i’ve been ‘infected’ with the space meme,
    since 1969 : ) ].

    I do agree that the next few decades are going to be turbulent but like Rome
    we will only know our civilisation has fallen after the fact. IMO by the
    time we notice it will be too late to do anything, so if we’ve noticed
    something wrong it may not be too late.

    <Today, outside the "core" areas of the Corporate Industrial civilisation to
    which we belong, life in the future is beginning to look very grim.>

    Just been reading Naomi Klein’s “No Logo” (which i've interpreted as that
    some corporations have got the practicalities of memetic marketing, if not
    the theory), and that struck a chord, and brought back some memories which
    may be relevant. As far as i can tell, if you listen to some of the eco
    groups there are sufficient resources available, its the distribution and
    waste that is the major problem (and the lack of veggies - animals cost more
    in land per person than non-meat crops).
    Although i don’t want to get into ‘what is civilisation?’, if you regard the
    world as civilisation, then technically we should be ok for a while anyway.
    If you mean the Western hemisphere, first world, etc, then what i put
    earlier is my view. There are still many avenues to be explored.

    Finally, i do regard civilisation, society etc, as, in part, the interaction
    of memes or memeplexes if you prefer. I say part because there are also
    genetic components that also govern our interactions.


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