Re: Machiavellian Memes

Dr I Price (
Sun, 28 Sep 1997 15:18:45 -0400

Date: Sun, 28 Sep 1997 15:18:45 -0400
From: Dr I Price <>
Subject: Re: Machiavellian Memes
To: "" <>

Ton Maas on Ken McGee

>> Ken McE Comments:
> In nature there are no known cases where a species continues to
>and expand without limit. If there were such a creature we would all be=

>standing knee deep in piles of them.

As I have argued earlier, this is precisely one of the most fundamental
shortcomings of the meme/gene analogy. In terms of
spreading/multiplying/mutation the analogy works fine, but the extremely
stringent conservation mechanisms which govern genetic reproduction, are
notably absent in the realm of memes. To explain such phenomena, we seem
"doomed" to rely on more traditional theories of social interaction and

Ton Maas<

Show me a meme based system which has expanded without limit. Western
capitalism / technology made a better job of it than most and is currentl=
hitting the buffers of:

a. planetary energy / entropy supply [incl Gaia / atmospheric limits etc=
etc.]. The situation is roughly equivalent to, albeit a few orders of
magnitudes faster than, and more complex than the limits to growth facing=

the prokaryotic gene at the end of the Proterozoic.

b. a whole set of 'sinoic' or 'sino japanese' memes which never quite ga=
up the struggle.


If Price

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