virus: Memes vs Us

KMO prime (
Fri, 25 Oct 1996 03:25:37 EDT

Richard Barbrook demonstrates once again that he does not understand the
position he has set out to discredit when he charges, “According to you
(Aaron Lynch) people carry out certain actions because their minds are
controlled by outside powers: memes. We humans are only the "host
population" of these all-powerful entities.”

Philosopher Daniel Dennett addressed this concern in his book “Darwin’s
Dangerous Idea.” Forgive me for transcribing Dennett’s work rather than
diluting the eloquance of his arguments by paraphrasing.


“The haven all memes depend on reaching is the human mind, but a human
mind is itself an artifact created when memes restructure a human brain
in order to make it a better habitat for memes. [...] But if it is true
that human minds are themselves to a very great degree the creations of
memes, then we cannot sustain the polarity of vision we considered
earlier; it cannot be “memes versus us,” because earlier infestations of
memes have already played a major role in determining who or what we are.
The “independent” mind struggling to protect itself from alien and
dangerous memes is a myth. There is a persisting tension between the
biological imperative of our genes on the one hand and the cultural
imperatives of our memes on the other, but we would be foolish to “side
with” our genes; that would be to commit the most egregious error of pop
sociobiolgy. Besides, as we have already noted, what makes us special is
that we, alone among species, can rise above the imperatives of our
genes- thanks to the lifting cranes of our memes.”

Take care. -KMO