Cultural Evolution & History

Bill Benzon (
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 07:52:30 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 07:52:30 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Cultural Evolution & History

What ultimately interests me is the large-scale pattern of cultural
evolution. What is the role of cultural evolution in human history? Here's
examples of the sorts of questions I want to be able to address.


At various times and places we've had "Golden Ages" -- Athenian Greece,
Elizabethan England, and so forth. Why those places at those times?
Almost by definition a Golden Age implies proliferation of memes. What
conditions are conducive fo such proliferation.

This issue is related to Liane Gabora's interest in creativity.


Why Europe? From the 15th century CE on, Europe went into a period of
extraordinary cultural growth and creativity. Why?

I can't help but think that part of the answer to this question has to do
with meme flow though and around the eastern Mediterranean. I can almost
imagine that we had a greater variety of memes flowing though that area
over a longer period of time than any other area of comparable size.

What kind of work has to be done to determine whether or not this is so?
How does one estimate meme variety & meme flow for times & places past?


By the time Columbus had arrived in the New World, those cultures had not
produced a single civilization of size and sophistication comparable to
those which existed in China, India, the Near East & Europe. Why not?
Could it be that cultures of N & S America simply didn't have the meme
variety and flow that existed in the old world?

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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