Machiavellian Memes

kenmce (
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 10:23:54 -0500

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 10:23:54 -0500
From: kenmce <>
Subject: Machiavellian Memes

N Rose <> Wrote:


Given that in the most literate, richest and most
industialised nations the birth rate is falling (even negative in
some counties) - could we not say that the cultural activities of
"encouraging education for all", "promoting contraception", etc
are perhaps the viruses (certainly from the gene's POV)? Is
Western society in the grip of a terrible mind virus which is
diverting energy away from the biological imperative (having
children) towards cultural ones (becoming educated, making money,
being happy!)?


Ken McE Comments:

In nature there are no known cases where a species continues to grow
and expand without limit. If there were such a creature we would all be
standing knee deep in piles of them.

I would like to suggest that the decline in birthrates in the
industrialized countries may be part of a transition from the "grow like
mad" policy of creatures that enter a new or underexploited nich to the
"cycle around replacement level" policy of creatures that have been
around long enough to settle comfortably into their environment.

If the human population as a whole were steadily shrinking, without
anyones trying to make it do so, then I might be concerned. Leveling
off into birth rates roughly matching death rates does strike me as a
way to hold off the four horsemen of the apocalypse, whom I understand
are only off on cigarette break, and not at all retired.

Looked at from this perspective, perhaps these are not parasitic memes
exploiting us for their purposes, but rather symbiotes helping to guard
us against our own exessess.

Regards, Ken McE

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