Directions RE: HUMOUR: Memetics out of control

Dave Hall (
Wed, 10 Mar 1999 17:11:17 +0200

From: "Dave Hall" <>
To: "Memetics list" <>
Subject: Directions RE: HUMOUR: Memetics out of control
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 17:11:17 +0200
In-Reply-To: <>

Hi Aaron,

>Yes, I have also read of the important contributions made by
>manic-depressives. I have not given much thought to the connection to
>memetics, however. So I'm not sure where to point you on this one. I do,
>however, think that people with different mental attributes have different
>receptivities to specific memes, and that they also exhibit different
>transmission rates for specific memes.

Thanks for your insights. I'd change "manic-depressives" in the above
paragraph to virtually all so-called "mental illnesses". You have indeed
pointed in a direction. It's given me the tip that my own focus is actually
on the *source* of memes/ideas, which gives me the "niche" I've been looking
for. In addition I'm interested in what makes an idea acceptable to the
receiver .. usually the reputation of the "transmitter", and on that front
papers by Alexander Chislenko ( have
been influential.

Bottom line for me is that it's time to keep a low profile again, catch up
on *all* the work currently being done in this field, because I really have
been making far too many wild guesses based on my own interpretation of
Dawkin's "Selfish Gene" chapter and admit that until now I have purposely
been avoiding having my mind "changed" by other memetic thinkers. Having
crossed that threshold where I'm sufficiently sure within my own mind that I
have an original valid case to put forward, it's now time to stop messing
about and put together a proper paper that can be ripped apart by the
Journal readers. Scary prospect, but nothing like a good challenge. This
science stuff is just as fun as Carl Sagan proclaimed it to be! His "Demon
Haunted World" really made huge impact on my thinking.

If anyone is intrigued by the potential of the topic (I still need to read
Gary Taylor's book to judge the appropriatness of my reading recommendations
to this list .. pity one cannot pop down to the local store to
pick up a copy), I recommend two relatively short "eye-openers" for

1. Michael Foucalt's (spelling??) book, "Madness and Civilisation" ...
questions the rapid conversions of leper asylums into asylums for the
"insane" in the 1400's -> ...

2. The other book I'd highly recommend is one by Dr. Anthony Storr called
"The Dynamics of Creation". Actually I'd also recommend his "Churchill's
Black Dog and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind".

>Thanks again for the humor!

It's a sincere pleasure! You have no idea how terrified I was of posting
that piece. I hoping that "one day" I can get an entire book done, Scott
Adam's style ... I do see the entire world as a rather silly place to live
in (a step up from corporations and cubicles being silly places to work in)
and enjoy pointing it out on a grand scale ;->

[Johannesburg, South Africa]

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