[ExI] Meta question

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 01:56:39 UTC 2016

On Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 6:07 PM, Henry Rivera
<hrivera at alumni.virginia.edu> wrote:
> On Aug 18, 2016, at 8:41 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> The only Dawkins original in that book was was the concept of meme.
> Which takes me back to John's post...
> On Aug 18, 2016, at 4:28 PM, John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 12:30 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>> >
>>>> Bill, the "better" problem stems from there being two viewpoints, the
>>>> individual humans and human genes.
>> Yes there can certainly be conflicts between the two:
>> Individual humans = the invention of condoms would be a good idea.
>> Human genes = the invention of condoms would be a bad idea.

Even this gets complicated and depends on the circumstances.
> Susan Blackmore, author of The Meme Machine, would suggest there is a third
> force at work--that of the meme. Of course, one could collapse that under
> 'individual humans' above, but Blackmore would see that as a disservice I
> think.

I published on memes clear back to the mid 80s.  One of the major
problems was understanding what memes would propagate in a population
and why?  We speculated, for example, that the Limits to Growth meme
drove some people to look for a way out that didn't involve stagnating
on this one planet.  Drexler and I have mentioned this as well as a
number of other people.

I did make some progress, for example figuring out a way to classify a
meme as a religious one, and after doing so, determined that communism
is either a religious meme or in the same class for exclusively
occupying that "space" in brains.  Collected net posting would make a
substantial book.

EP, memes and the origin of war makes a case that the gain on a class
of memes, xenophobic ones, is turned up as part of the response to a
bleak future.  Religions are xenophobic memes, and my argument that
the ability of people to be infected with religions is a side effect
of being able to be infected with xenophobic memes in the run up to

Kind of like SM (or battered wife syndrome) is the result of the
existing capture-bonding response mental mechanisms.  We evolved the
mechanisms over a million years of women being stolen by one tribe
from another.  The ones with the mental mechanisms to bond to their
captors are our ancestors.  The others . . . are not.


> -Henry
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