Re[2]: MEMETICS: The Triumph of Reason

Guru George (
Wed, 22 Jan 1997 21:14:30 GMT

Following this thread I was reminded of a theory by the Popperian
historian and philosopher Peter Munz, to the effect that irrational
memes (he doesn't use that word, but it's translatable) that wouldn't
have any survival value to a Robinson Crusoe have survival value to
groups, thus: the more irrational the meme, the more value it has as a
social solidarity mechanism, to strongly differentiate one group from
another. Rather like peacocks' tails and all that.

This can work because the division of labour cushions us from the
deleterious effects irrational memes would otherwise have.

Munz sees the rise of Enlightenment/scientific type memes as the
detachment of ideas from their use as tools of social solidarity, and
the consideration of ideas of truth and rationality in their own right.

(I'm writing this from memory, so I might not have got it quite right.
I hope the gist comes across.)

Guru George