RE: virus: The One or the Many?

Brett Lane Robertson (
Sun, 19 Oct 1997 21:32:02 -0500

At 09:23 PM 10/19/97 -0400, you wrote:
>>I still think
>>that you are missing some basic behaviors which are memetically determined
>>for us and the animals: order, specialization, self-awareness, safety, and
>>group specifically.
>Hmmm. I would need a tall order of stuff not to relegate all those
>behaviors to genetic determinants. (Wade Smith)


Wade would put these into the category of genes. I am not sure that
genetics couldn't explain them, too. But, there must come a point when we
must say: Are we geneticists or are we memeticists. For, memetics could
ALSO explain these behaviors, no?

And if we continue to say that genes do this and this but at some point
memes take over and they do that and that...we are further burdened (in
addition to describing behavior in memetic terms) with the task of finding
this cut-off point. Does human behavior begin with Where is the point that
chance recombination ceases to determine our makeup and order begins?

I like to think that behavior is chance until it repeats, finds a pattern.
Once it finds a pattern, this single pattern orders all future behavior.
The energy expenditure which was allocated to chance recombination is
utilized with more efficiency. The genetic pattern of chance is replaced
with a memetic pattern. The excess energy goes into growth, development,

If and when this pattern develops little offshoot systems and patterns it
forms a more complex pattern which utilizes the energy surplus to jump to a
higher level of organization. <Freedom> becomes <specialization>. And what
was once a primary concern of the host organism--seeking and maintaining
freedom--becomes relegated to a lower-level priority...perhaps it becomes
habitual...perhaps autonomous...perhaps instinctual...perhaps hardwired.

So, I am in favor of assigning genes to the level of hardwiring and
attributing everything above and below the level of the gene proper to
patterned behavoior--to memetics. This requires no cut-off point (or
rather, anything which is predictable is not chance and therefore falls into
the category of memetics instead of genetics).


Rabble Sonnet Retort
A person is just about as big as the things that make them