RE: virus: Genes vs. Memes: The War Heats Up

Robin Faichney (
Wed, 4 Jun 1997 11:28:00 +0100

Grant Callaghan wrote:
>On Tue, 3 Jun 1997, Robin Faichney wrote:
>> Grant Callaghan wrote:
>> >
>> >Question: What is the direction memetics should take in the
>> >battle against a genetic heritage that is about to destroy
>> >us?
>> You think government subsidy is genetic?
>No. I think human greed is genetic. I think the drive to devour
>everything on the planet that can be devoured is genetic.

I don't agree. (Except in the trivial sense that everything we do
requires that we have the capacity to do it -- so like everything
else, some of the elements that are part of greed are genetic.)
I think greed is neurotic, in words an emotional/memetic disorder.
We seek more than we really need because we are insecure, and
mistakenly think that possessing more stuff will make us feel
secure. This goes back to the recent quotes about greed vs
contentment. To seek more stuff is to stoke the fires of desire
and greed, while to seek contentment direct is to put out those

Incidently, one of the biggest mistakes of standard neo-classical
economics is the assumption that we know what will make us
happy (secure).

If greed was really genetic, wouldn't the situation be hopeless?

>If the supplies of fish are being depeleted
>with the number of people we have now, in a short time there will
>be no fish left in the ocean but twice as many people wanting them.
>Get it?

Don't be so arrogant, Grant. Why do you think I'm in environmental
economics? It's because I'm very well aware of "resource depletion"
(and the fact that these things are more than just resources for
humans) that I think we should be very clear-minded in
understanding the causes. In serious situations we need to be
smarter, not dumber.