It's really amazing that Susan Blackmore has written about the memes associated with circumcision, but it doesn't really surprise me (I've written about those memes myself on my web comic) -- it's a very interesting memetic system. It's a classic example of something systematically horrible that people nonetheless vehemently justify and continue to do, which is a classic "selfish" meme system.
I read through this stuff some more, and I saw a couple of things:
1. it may be a vicious cycle of a. people have children they don't want and hate them, b. they cut those children resulting in c. the next generation has a sex life directed towards unprotected penetrative intercourse and unwanted pregnancy...lather, rinse, repeat.
2. My theory is that a memetic system, while self-serving, has some underlying effect on the memetic fabric (the fabric of all of the subconscious minds in the relevant population) and the environment, and so there's some selective feedback that nourishes it.
3. Blackmore points out that intactivism is at a DISadvantage vs. circumcision as a memetic system since intactivism is about NOT doing anything, and so it cannot be imitated, per se, or rather, there is no completion, no doing, no visible result of some defined action.
How to fight something like that? I call this "disinurement", i.e, the removal or extirpation of a memetic system from a population (memetic fabric). I don't have any theories about how to do this (yet). One idea is "packing the meme space", i.e., filling people's heads with memes which may or may not have much to do with the action of the memetic system, e.g., cutting or not cutting little boys' willies, but which become associated with it. For example, Jews could have a "baby shower" party (bris) without having to cut anybody's willie, i.e., a "bloodless bris" or something -- that could be, for example, a new meme to pack around this meme space. A "bloodless bris" could be elaborated extensively and become "a thing", i.e., something that could compete with the traditional bris, among Jews and even among Christians and others, and obviously a "no-cut" bris would preclude cutting Junior's willie at all. Perhaps more such ideas could be brainstormed, again, in the spirit of "packing the meme space".
Another thing is that non-cutting of the foreskin means that there still is a foreskin, which is natural, but semiotically-speaking non-circumcision is not a "sign", i.e., cutting off a foreskin is a marker for circumcision, while non-cutting is a kind of non-marker of non-circumcision. Perhaps we need some kind of "marker" for non-circumcision, e.g., piercings and tattoos, or something similar. I saw this porno outtakes with an English guy who was young enough to have his foreskin and put a cigarette in his foreskin and long story short pretended like he was smoking it with his willie. Anyway, the promulgation of such images, e.g., pierced or tattooed foreskins, "stupid foreskin tricks", holding things with your foreskin, e.g., a cigarette, a marble, a coin, etc. could be popularized somehow to make the presence of a foreskin a "sign" in the semiotic sense. If such things could be popularized so as to appeal to both genders, e.g., if women do some crazy fashion trick that they themselves find cool, men inevitably find it cool, too.
An overriding theme I noticed on the meme website, maybe even moreso than I've noticed in my investigations so far is the excuses for circumcision that are based on MEANNESS, i.e., that expressly acknowledge the cruelty of it and yet justify it. One focus of this would be to "encourage" people to be mean to their sons, e.g., "don't just circumcise him, be sure to hit him a lot, too" or whatever. This is an example of linking other memes to the practice of circumcision, i.e., pack the meme space around the practice with other things that are harmful and repellant but in a way that ostensibly support the practice, but in a back-handed way. I'm not sure I'm expressing this any too well. "So you say you can do whatever you want with your kid...? well, why stop at circumcision?" Anyway, this might be a fruitful area for more brainstorming.
The final point I would make is about what I see the memetic system doing within the context of American society, i.e., within the meme fabric that the circumcision memeplex (or memetic system) "infests". America is the biggest, most aggressive empire in history, and I feel that the circ memeplex serves this in many ways. It breaks down family bonds, mother-son bonds, and couple bonds, and promotes unsafe, unprotected sex and a high rate of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. All of this is pretty obvious and has been mentioned elsewhere, but the result of ALL of these effects is that individual citizens turn their attentions and energies away from their normal familial bonds, or normal desires for romantic fulfillment, and these freed-up energies become available to the service of the state. In other words, at the cost of our sexual, reproductive, and familiar fulfillment, we make the "empire" stronger.
The foreskin releases hormones linked to "pair bonding", baby shares undifferentiated ego mass with mama and if she has him cut it is a deep betrayal and leaves him unable to trust her or anybody else, inability of the male to feel sensations during sex or during sex with a condom pushes him to unprotected sex (or with birth control pills) and vaginal ejaculation, which leads to more STDs and unwanted births. This "bareback" focus also supports the idea of marriage as the only acceptable and inevitably outcome to dating, etc., i.e., unprotected intercourse sanctioned, fidelity, no STD risk, if children happen it's okay, etc. Again, unwanted births lead to parental hatred and circumcision "punishment" i.e., desire and willingness to deliberately harm one's (male) offspring and the social sanction for doing it. Lack of enjoyment of sex makes it less interesting, freeing up energy to the service of the state.
I'm not sure how we combat circumcision from this angle. Of course, lots of doctors and cosmetics companies and perhaps insurance companies (I haven't worked this one out) and others may be making lots of money off of it, but a lot of others no doubt benefit, too. When we're talking about memetic systems (memeplexes), it's ALWAYS a "conspiracy" in that there are lots of parties involved at lots of levels. It makes a memeplex much more viable and virulent the more disparate participants there are in it. It might be useful to identify who these participants all are and what their involvement is and how they benefit and include that on one of our lists.
Anyway, I've probably raved on long enough. Please post ideas or questions about things I wrote as I may have gotten things wrong and would welcome the corrections.
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