One phenomenon which I've always felt cries out for some kind of explanation is the trend for cultures to transition from matrilineal to patrilineal. Effectively, all cultures start out as matrilineal, but somehow they undergo a pressure toward patrilinealism. What's the benefit?
Why don't we see a competition between patrilineal cultures and matrilineal ones. Why aren't there "warrior women" cultures (of which there are plenty of historical examples, I think) in competition with the patrilineal cultures we see today? Even though we see a resurgence in female leadership, and women taking on increasingly high-profile leadership roles as CEOs, Presidents, and Prime Ministers, they are bucking a norm of the expectation of female passivity (which is precisely why we cheer them on, and point to them as examples).
Why Not Warrior Women Cultures?
This may be an interesting example of "replicator coupling" (1), in other words, "warrior women" cultures (3) may be less able to pass on their memes, their culture, ironically, than cultures in which women are passive and the men take care of most or all of the activities associated with war-making.
This seems paradoxical on the face of it, since enlisting twice the number of one's population against an enemy threat would appear to afford a tremendous advantage, especially if one's own nation is underpopulated vis-à-vis a rival. Furthermore, mothers providing an example of a warrior culture at home to children of both genders would seem to bolster the ability of a population to fight. Twice the number of people thinking about war and practicing its arts, general lack of a "passivist sentiment" and so on. The list could go on and on.
Women are the carriers of their culture. We speak of "the mother tongue" and not "the father tongue" and usually one's "mother country" ("The Fatherland" would seem to be an aberrant term). Japan has been described as "a nation of women and children," and the reverse, "a nation of fathers and children" would probably seem ridiculous. Women give birth to children, including those of a victorious invader, teach them their own language and culture (5), in other words, act as a force for "cultural conservation" or "cultural inertia." The men of a defeated nation may be slaughtered wholesale (as is often the case!) but that is much less likely to be the fate of the women because, well, for whatever reason (6), women are prized.
When women and children are being slaughtered, we tend to see it as genocide, but mass-killing of men tends to be dismissed (7). If the theory I'm trying to develop has merit, then the survival of women, which is closely linked to the non-participation of women in war-making, is central to cultural survival.
If the women of a culture must be destroyed in order to defeat a country in warfare, then the entire culture must be eradicated, and vice-versa. This is similar to genocide, but subtly different. In a genocide, the women of the targeted culture are slaughtered alongside the men (and children), however, the women may be active or passive participants in the conflict. In a war against a "women warrior" culture, the women must also be defeated, i.e., they cannot be given special quarter vis-à-vis their male co-combatants, and thus the final result is effectively the same as a genocide, i.e., all the women are left dead, and the culture is extinguished.
"A people is not defeated until the hearts of its women are on the ground."
– Cheyenne saying
However, if the women do not actively participate in the war-making, there is an outcome where the war ends, i.e., the enemy is victorious, the men's ability to continue the war is ended, the victor does what they will with the defeated men (8), and the women (and the culture) survive, either with a measure of independence at one extreme or as thralls of the victors at the other. Obviously, a "warrior women" culture which begins to adopt the practice of surrender to a superior foe before suffering total annihilation may still suffer the deaths of all of its men, but what women are left will pass on their culture, which becomes increasingly one of surrender and the non-participation by women in war-making.
The "Cultural Treadmill" of Female Passivity
Rather like a colony of ants will "die to the last bloody man (ant)" to protect the queen ant, similarly men will sacrifice a great deal to protect their women (9), individually or collectively (as in war), as attested by the thousand-or-more-to-one ratios of fatalities between men and women, such that, in many cases, the deaths of women in many wars could practically be relegated to the class of "accidents." This power may be enlisted to protect the culture from attacks. Furthermore, if the women are immune from attacks of any kind, even in the face of defeat, then the culture will survive.
Women as a group are, again, a "culturally conservative force," i.e., they function to keep a culture as it is. Women and men are repositories of their culture, but at least four factors give women primary status:
- they produce and nurture the children (at least at an early age)
- related to (1) tend to make a home, which is an enclave of culture
- men tend to be the ones to go into and interact with (and be polluted by) alien cultures (16)
- have a much lower fatality rate (at work, in warfare, etc.)
Feminism and the Female Face of War
It's an immunomeme against women's participation in the military to say that women are "weak" or "cowardly," which is very unfair (well, duh, it's an immunomeme, folks!), when in fact the opposite is true (10). Another immunomene is that women "distract" men and make them less effective on the battlefield and elsewhere. Another still is that women in combat "humiliate" a more "macho" culture (such as Arabian/Muslim culture, supposedly), whose soldiers, unwilling to suffer defeat at the hands of foreign women, fight all the harder.
It's almost certainly sheer nonsense and rubbish. Again, we're talking about immunomemes here, so the literal meaning of their text and signals are best set aside. What's key, of course, is the effect they produce and how they plug into other memes, MIAOs, and cultural norma of the megamemeplex. For example, anti-women-warrior cultures tend to have religions that promulgate female passivity and non-participation in the military. The Swiss and the Israelis are stand-out counter-examples (11). Plenty of other immunomemes tend to be attached to "sticky" aspects of femininity such as legendary "upper body strength," menstruation, smaller average body size, "delicate constitution," "nurturing disposition," and so on and so on. The immunomemetic idea of women being killed is horrible, coming back in body bags, crippled, or captured by the enemy and languishing in POW camps, probably being raped and tortured, impregnated by the hated foe, and so on. Somehow none of these immunomemes manage to attach themselves to young boys sent over to the meat grinder. They are instead brave and noble heroes, we erect statues and so forth. Coming back crippled, without ones testicles (12), or traumatized (13) with "shell-shock" or PTSD, is a "noble sacrifice."
I've been giving some thought to the growing interest in America in women serving in the military, and particularly combat roles, since these lead to higher ranks in the military which are otherwise difficult to reach. A sort of "khaki ceiling" or "brass ceiling" if you will. Obviously it's a "Feminist" agenda item, i.e., the increased participation of women in "society" (read, "the world of men" (14)).
So we can see Feminism [sic] (15) as a radicalizing force, similar to the penetration of men into an alien culture (16) and swimming against the current (17) of the "cultural treadmill" toward female passivity. It may be an example of a memetic "braking mechanism," but this is almost certainly a topic for a future essay. It may in many cases undermine the four points above, i.e, make women less of a vehicle for megamemetic (cultural) survival. It may also in the case of employment in increasingly dangerous jobs (15), including the military especially, may result in more women being killed, and the death of a woman, from a genetic (as well as a memetic standpoint) is a disaster for a population and for a culture. This may also result in greater violence against women generally, since it undermines their special status (and I mean this in the strictest memetic sense here) of being untouchable by violence ("don't hit a girl," "women and children first," and so on), and ultimately the objects of male "chivalry" (another sweeping memetic domain) and deference if not outright protection.
A lot of this is still hypothetical, and worthy of greater exploration. However, I am interested in Feminism since it may represent a megamemeplex feeding itself a kind of "poison pill" or committing "cultural suicide," and this may be a purely memetic phenomenon, or it could be a coupling with the genetic substrate. Obviously killing women off in the military culls a population, and by extension, its memetic system, if it reaches sufficient levels.
Why would it do this? I speculate that megamemeplexes somehow "conspire" to let the most efficient one prevail. This phenomenon has parallels in nature at all levels the organism from the "self-destruct gene"  in which a cell having suffered a poison or radioactive insult begins a self-destruct process (20), or, I believe, phenomena like depression (21).
But why would a culture "enact" a memetic subsystem like militant crypto-pseudo-feminism (Feminism) which alienates men from women (decreasing population growth and promoting memetic fragmentation and alienation), puts women into danger from industrial accidents and war, blunts women's ability to transmit cultural memes to the next generation (undermining female power), and disrupts the culture generally?
One could easily imagine a culture (Europe and Japan are good examples of more success) which celebrate women and keep them safe and maintaining their power while still increasing their participation without alienating men (who could help them a lot) allowing them to spend lots of time with their children at home and at work, and minimizing the problems with all this caused by inherently female "sticky" issues such as menstruation, pregnancy, and inordinate physical attraction and attention from men. MCPF seems to ignore all of these issues or make them worse (often by blaming men rather than enlisting them as allies). Women have more voting power in the USA, for instance, as a group, so could make this happen literally overnight, but MCPF has failed to unite them to this end, for whatever reason, not the least of which is an out-and-out failure to produce a political platform and narrative which all women (and men) can get behind.
Okay, so all this leads me to speculate that megamemeplexes (cultures) may have "self-destruct buttons," and that these might be triggered by purely memetic factors, or that genetic factors may couple themselves in. For example, the Chinese "one child policy" may be an example. It may also be that the megamemeplex, or a collection of them, may have "decided" that American society pollutes too much, uses 25% of the electric power, has the most STDs, wastes the most food, produces the most greenhouse gasses, and is culturally and militarily invading all other cultures on the Earth, and that this is somehow not okay and that American culture needs to be shut down and replaced by some other culture or a new one.
If this exists, then, like my friends doing cancer research on the same mechanisms at the cellular level, it may be possible to theorize about how to "shut down" undesirable cultures using memetic subsystems already present in them, or even constructing said subsystems and then triggering them.
Cultural Survival and Immigration
Immigrants can adopt the memes of the culture the immigrate into. It may well be nations such as the USA, UK, and France, will become genetically more or even totally "Indian," "hispanic," "Chinese," or "Arabian," but that does not necessarily mean that they will be that much less "American," "British," or "French." Unless subjected to racism and isolation, but instead immigrants are allowed to take on the memes of their adoptive culture, more to the point, interact memetically with the citizens of their new homeland, they will quickly form a memetic fabric containing a similar memetic inventory and indeed develop an ideomemetic inventory to translate the adoptive memes to the ones they bring from their homeland.
So, theoretically, immigrants have a larger and more complex set of memetic transition matrices than natives. This may be a separate phenomenon, and I hope to write about it further, but borrowing cultures (including, I believe, immigrant populations) tend to be more conservative than natives (19). In other words, paradoxically, immigrants may have the effect of stabilizing the welcoming alien culture. Obviously, any person coming into an alien memetic environment is motivated to as quickly as possible pick up the language and customs, i.e., the memes, of the adoptive culture, so as to garner memetic rewards from the natives.
Bigotry is perhaps the "easier" interface memeplex to construct vis-à-vis foreign intruders (22). In principle, welcoming (status-raising as opposed to status-lowering) memes might be as easy to construct and in principle would better insure the (memetic) survival of the host culture. A racial focus is almost surely a route to cultural obscurity, by contrast. The best thing is perhaps for one's own women to marry the foreigners, or at least to associate with the foreign women. This association would perhaps be facilitated by native men marrying foreign women, giving those women access to female relatives. Immigrant men with native women at home and also exposed to the host culture outside the home are under great pressure to assimilate. Foreign women wishing their children to fit in to the host culture would also be motivated to assimilate.
Positive memetic rewards (22) result in high motivation and presumably rapid assimilation. The complexity of immigrant memetic systems ensures the survival of the host megamemeplex, may even be a conservative force above and beyond the natural survival mechanisms already present in the host megamemeplex, and could result in the reverse infection of the immigrants' native land, both at a low-level memetic level, and also at a higher organizational or "political" level. Furthermore, the host culture may be able to reverse-infect the county of origin by sending back "gateway" individuals to carry memes back to a culture with which they are still familiar and sons and daughters (daughters particularly) to marry locals in the country of origin and thus make further inroads.
(1) There are two replicators, genetic and memetic, with the memetic replicator being the "second replicator" operating on top of the infrastructure or the "substrate" of the "first replicator" genetic one. In principle, these two operate independently, but there may be cases where they influence one another more-or-less directly in ways which may be distinct from sexual selection (2).
(2) Sexual selection is where an arbitrary trait, often incidental or even deleterious, to species fitness, is preferred (usually by the female), and thus becomes rampant and exaggerated. This is, by the way, the cause ascribed to gigantism (typically of organs related, directly or indirectly, to reproduction).
(3) Just for sake of argument, cultures in which women are highly involved (4) in the decision-making and the actual fighting associated with internecine conflict and wars with alien cultures.
(4) My operating assumption is that women are just as effective, if not moreso, in making high-level wartime decisions and in actual battlefield fighting, as well as advancing the technology and industry needed to carry out effective warfare.
(5) Not the culture or language of the victorious invader, certainly not at first.
(6) Why are women treated so differently? The answer seems obvious, and is treated as such, but is it really? Is the genetic replicator putting pressure on the memetic one, and if so, how exactly does this work? Men value women in a very special and powerful way, but is this purely genetic in nature, or does it have memetic aspects? If so, what are they? What is the detailed nature of this power? We have to understand it in order to understand how it influences cultural survival, if indeed it does at all. Women may be "degraded," especially those of a subjugated people, but does this really mean much in terms of the survival of the individual women or of their culture of origin?
(7) In the case of the famous kidnapping of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, which got worldwide attention, it was ignored that just a week before 200 schoolboys were murdered (locked in a building which was set on fire), and hundreds of other men were slaughtered around the same time. Clearly "we" don't care about men, but attacks on women are a "drop everything," "all hands on deck" crisis. Any war is a ringing example, in which typically 99.99% of fatalities are men. Obviously, this is relevant to the concept of cultural survival.
(8) A side note is that one typical action of an oppressor culture is to draft as many young men as possible into the army and take them away, c.f., Innocents Betrayed, on the Armenian Genocide by the Turks, and Yiddish: A Nation of Words on the Russian treatment of the Jews. A Jewish man might spend the first twenty years of his adult life in the Russian army.
(9) who are, as we have seen, effectively the same as their "culture". From a memetic standpoint, this may be what determines whether women in warfare is an example of a memetic-genetic coupling or a purely memetic phenomenon. We should be able to shed light on this question through memetic analysis including memetic hacking. For example, if questioned in an appropriate environment, would most men (or women...?) be willing to admit that women are ontologically more "important" than men, either directly, or by espousing (resonating with) a given set of known memes from their own culture?
(10) J. Edgar Hoover, c.f., Anthony Summers, Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover, plainly stated his feeling and experience that female criminals were "more vicious" than male ones.
(11) Where female military service is encouraged, or at least looked favorably upon, or even required.
(12) Which may even be treated as humorous or cause for ridicule, c.f., Ben Elton, Stark.
(13) And the degree of damage tends to be downplayed. A particularly ringing example is the idiotic woman Melody Hensley claiming that she got PTSD (just like a war veteran) from Twitter and Facebook posts.
(14) Although one notes that such arduous fields as mining and construction seem to be strongholds of male "domination." We shall see how long that lasts... The military is an interesting case, however, since it is traditionally seen as "harsh," so, immunomemetically at least, the entry of women is something of a stand-out. Perhaps the "prestige" (absent in invisible jobs such as mining) is a factor, but that is no doubt for another essay.
(15) Capitals intended. It is worthwhile, perhaps, from a memetic analysis standpoint, to distinguish "feminism" (lowercase) as a synonym to "women's liberation" or an antipode to "misogyny" generally,from the political movement of (uppercase) Feminism, which has its own memetic inventory, and as a memeplex, may or may not de facto promote the best interests of its ostensible membership, intended "beneficiaries," or indeed anyone.
(16) as military conscripts, workers outside the home, guestworkers, soldiers invading another country, etc.
(17) This is not necessarily universally so, however. Feminism is a memeplex, and as such it pleases itself, and its memes flourish not based on how well it serves women (or whomever), or performs it's "function" (18)
(18) The idea of "function" is alien to memetics, any more than a plant or animal may be said to have "a function." We can (perhaps) talk about how a plant or animal or memetic system "works" but not "what it's for." That borders on the domain of metaphysics.
(19) This goes for (oppressed) minorities as well, and this is the stuff of a future essay. A gay person, or other minority, must "include" the larger outside culture in their own memetic matrices, as well as their own personal culture. I may just have this as an empirical data point at present, but this phenomenon could be due to any number of things, for instance, increase rigidity of their own system due to additional transition layers of matrices, so adjustment of memes and weightings may be prohibitively more complex, or they don't understand the "mutation rules" of the larger memeplex, or they don't feel secure in pushing back and innovating on the larger system (pretty vague, I admit), or they are a minority and can't be as sure of memetic resonance (which could be due to bigotry or discrimination) and so on.
(20) the cell membrane is "hardened" or closed down, special enzymes chop the DNA into little lengths, and it finally becomes inert and ready to be redigested.
(21) dogs in packs react to "weak" members, which exhibit depression-like symptoms, by immediately and reflexively killing them. Depressed humans withdraw and are often treated with contempt or at least neglect from their fellows. They often commit suicide, which is a bizarre activity if survival is the object. I call this the "there aren't enough tigers" factor, i.e., predators are not numerous or omnipresent enough to cull all of the maladaptive individuals from a "herd," so those individuals often have to "cull themselves," i.e., carry out a decision process to take themselves out of the population, often by triggering a natural process.
(22) I still have some work to do toward characterizing the difference between "oppression" and "alienation" as well as memetic exchanges being "positive" and "negative" (increasing or decreasing "status") and how this affects individual memetic deployment decisions or deployment probability distributions. Are "negative" memes deployed as readily as "positive" ones (those that "hurt" as opposed to "uplift/help" the person enacting them). Is there such a thing as a positive or negative memetic reward, or is it more useful to think of a separate quantity to represent this?
模倣子 Memetic Essay