Mind Culture Co-Evolution [From AsWeKnowIt.] Paul Kelly is hosting some interesting material from two ex professors of his. Including a review of “The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age (Benzon 1996)”. The introduction to Benzon’s Mind Culture Co-Evolution includes “Cultural evolution ….. shows up in the waves theory of Alvin Toffler, in memetics, an intellectual stew which began simmering when biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” to designate the cultural parallel to the biologist’s gene, and most recently in Robert Wright’s Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, which takes its inspiration from game theory.”
I guess my view of “memetics” is thoroughly post Dawkins, post Blackmore – more current perceived wisdom – so I still have a lot of time for the concept, that’s the power of memetics, memes mutate and evolve and as a meme, memetics is no different. Anyway, interesting here to see waves and game theory in the same breath. One of my threads on changes in the world in general arises from technological change as the main driver for economic change, and the various Kondratiev Wave views of cycles of change, more recently referred to as cycles in the predominant TEP or “Techno-Economic Paradigm”. My response to this 15 years ago (in complete ignorance of memetics) was to see these cycles as human – learning, exploiting, forgetting cycles 3 times 25 year generations equals approximately 80 year waves in Kondratiev terms. Exploiting and forgetting I was never entirely happy with, and I guess with a game theory view I would now characterise the three generations as (1) the spread of awareness of “technology” capability, (2) the development of exploitative strategies, (3) the saturation of self-defeating strategies. The relatively fixed 80 year cycles perceived by Kondratiev are no longer necessarily relevant given the power of communication technologies to spread awareness of possibilities and strategies “at the speed of light”, but as I said in chapter 3 of my 1991 dissertation, I’m not so sure. Knowledge perhaps remains human, whatever the technology.
Anyway, this is just an intial thought sparked by a glance at the Mind Culture Co-Evolution stuff. Worth a deeper read no doubt. The retreat from Hyper-Rationalism [and here re Dawkins] or exclusive Logical Positivism is the most obvious thread in here.
Hmmm – wonder if I should publish my “Circle of Life” metaphor ? One of the problems with memes (and so much of the “behaviour” of genes in general) is that they are a metaphor.