Re: The Meme Machine

Bill Benzon (
Fri, 9 Apr 1999 21:26:44 -0400

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999 21:26:44 -0400
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: The Meme Machine

>>From: (Bill Benzon)
>>Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 15:00:16 -0400
>>Subject: Re: The Meme Machine
>>No, as Jake (I think) pointed out, one's belief about the intentional
>>nature of human action has nothing to do with one's analysis of large-scale
>>cultural process. One can believe, as I do, that humans act intentionally
>>without having to believe that cultural evolution involves intentionality.
>>It doesn't, no more so than biological evolution. Nations can form and
>>execute 5-year plans and such, but that is not what cultural evolution is
>Where does this individual-level intentionality go? Is it ineffectual
>becuase it gets diluted statisically?

I didn't say anything about it being ineffectual.

>Maybe I'm confused about
>intentionality. If you are claiming that humans act with willful
>forethought, what happens to the force of those actions?

In writing this note to the list were you intending anything? Or was it
some meme that got ahold of your mind and body?

Just what kind of question is "what happens to the force of those actions?"
That sounds like a category mistake.

>Are they irrelevant to culture...would the world go on it's merry
>way whatever the individual humans decided to do?
>>Remember that I don't think memes are in the mind. They are in the
>>environment. The mind provides the environment to which the memes adapt
>>(or not).
>If this is the case, why not think of the memes as intentional?

Because doing so explains nothing.

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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