Re: Cultural Evolution & History

Dave Pape (
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 21:19:53 +0100 (BST)

Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 21:19:53 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <>
From: Dave Pape <>
Subject: Re: Cultural Evolution & History

At 07:52 11/06/97 -0500, Bill Benzon wrote:
>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.

Could it be along the lines of technological milestones like agriculture (x
thousand years ago), printing, continent-wide communication through the
channels of a common religion, etc., providing a quickening of memetic
interaction within a culture?

It strikes me that such milestones might provide a suite of new niches for
memes, and you might expect a period of memetic expansion under those

Can't... quite figure out Elizabethan England though... would that be printing?
Oh: and how about money? Imperial expansion providing money to release
people from having to think about getting through each day, meaning that
some proportion of the population can devote larger proportions of their
cognitive processing resource to allowing memes to interact... a friend of
mine called this the Pissing About Factor (PAF). When people get the chance
to piss about, they can produce crazy culture.

Erm... yeh. Comms technology, and increased PAF.

Dave Pape
I am ready.

Phonecalls: 0118 9583727 Phights: 20 Armadale Court
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