I appreciate your posts on this thread and I'm being stubbornly provocative/a pain in the ass just to get as much feedback as possible. I recently got very interested and involved in this project launched by one friend of mine who is a sociologist and specializes in "memetics". Basically, "memetics" is a buzzword for Dawkins' 'meme' theory. Here's a short introductory link if you haven't heard of it:
The general conceptual patterns of body, soul or spirit are memes too according to this paradigm. The problem is, and I guess we both agree, that memes evolve in a highly distributed environment. Abstract ideas are shared synchronically in the minds of millions and passed on diachronically over thousands of years. So any model accounting for the evolution of a single ideological meme from ancient Greece to modern Texas cannot be as linear as a model accounting for highly codified scientific knowledge. In other words you can't draw a straight line from Plato to a modern evangelical Christian. Rather, a "distributed" model would amke sense, where there are thousands of more or less obscure threads in the memetic network leading to specific output nodes. To make thing even more complicated, apart from the behaviourist factors governing the memetic evolution, there are cognitive ones too. It looks like we are pre-wired to buy one type of crap in favour of the other. Hence, you've got a situation where some of the beliefs of American Indians coincide with those of ancient Greeks. Behaviouristically it makes no sense. Cognitively, it does make perfect sense.
Anyway, I was trying to elicit as much input from you as possible, because this thread is essentially about memetics (that is if you accept this terminology). What we are planning to do in our project is to use text data mining methods to trace the history of ideological "memes" found in political discourse.
Thanks for an interesting thread.
BODY...SOUL...SPIRIT.....THE MESSIANIC HOPE............the source
I'm just here for the banter
A very interesting thread