re.Cultural Evolution (units of analysis)

Dr I Price (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 12:07:12 -0400

Date: Thu, 12 Jun 1997 12:07:12 -0400
From: Dr I Price <>
Subject: re.Cultural Evolution (units of analysis)
To: "" <>

>>From Alex
Date: 13th June 1997

"....when meme's learnt to tap a whole host of new resources: fish,
Northern European Forests, and Latin American gold seem to be the big

As I understand it, memes do not go panning for gold in Latin America or
anywhere else. Nor do they fish or chop down trees in Europe. They do
not wear hats or get their hands dirty. Human beings do that.<

As author of the quote Alex I agree. I was slipping into short-hand. I
could put it like this. When the memetic patterns of Rennaissence Europe=

evolved shipbuilding, and started converting European Forests into ships
they also tapped a virgin resource of fish protein and a lot of gold
already panned by others. The resulting feedback into the European Meme
pool triggered/ helped trigger the explosive evolution of a whole complex=

of 'European' memes. My main point was to suggest contingency in this
business of memetic evolution. Play the tape again and we could all be
writing this in Spanish, [or French or Dutch], or some other *species* of=

the Proto Indo European linguistic meme. I don't see that *The English
Language Memome* survived through any inherent 'fitness'.

I entirely agree your point about memes as elements [and I would say
ill-defined elements] of larger complexs of coadapted memes.

If Price
Active Personal Learning, Guildford UK

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