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S.J. Gould, immigrants and branding

S.J. Gould, immigrants and branding

I had a chance (and as we know, nothing happens by chance) to read S.J. Gould’s book The Mismeasure of Man (1981), which provides an outstanding refutation of any kind of essentialism that by internal force leads to racism. By chance, I live in the time-space of Europe, challenged by immigrants flooding from the Middle East and Africa to apparently more prosperous and “safe” parts of the world. And somewhere there is Brandlife which has the ambition to turn around everything that has been said and written about branding so far (how very much I dislike such positioning, but it sounds so good).

The combination of the three mentioned occurrences helps us explain why liberals and even conservative liberals (as those following ideas of homonism) feel “angst” (anxiety) when physically confronted with homogeneous masses of people that share values considerably different from their own. My stress lies in “physical confrontation”. Reading about or even writing about social confrontations in a protected armchair environment of a peaceful home proves to be forgotten when a reader or writer finds himself encircled with “characters”.

Identity, not life

Since we (at least homonists) know that what Gould wrote is scientifically proven and even widely accepted, we know that no species is evolutionarily more developed than another, and even less, any human race is evolutionarily superior or inferior to another.  The fear of being invaded by inferiors should thus be out of the question. But what if the question is not inferiority but otherness? What otherness?

Branding provides us with a useful analogy. While brands are not and cannot be superior or inferior to one another, they strongly protect one from another. They (brands) know that their identity lies in the separation of their values from the values of other brands. This protection, this membrane, is the only protection of their identity. It is a protection of their identity, but not of their life.

Brands do merge, take over, co-brand, or perform various types of business model cooperations. They do this exactly for the reason of their life. They perform different cooperations to obtain the highest possible evolutionary stable strategy (ESS) and fitness. And since we know that ultimate agents are not humans (as phenotypes) or brands (as artifacts, brand names, logos…), but genes and memes, we come closer to peculiar ambiguity that we all feel confronted with an invasion of representatives of distinct brands (races) in our environment.

Fear comes with memes, not with genes

We in Europe know that our business model, which has an insurmountable flaw in low natality, must change. But is immigration the only solution?

Let us use yet another analogy. If a company cannot find enough workforce within the borders of the state in which it operates, immigration seems the right solution. If immigration brings workers who have a substantially different set of values than that already employed by the company they enter, a clash of cultures emerges. A workforce that does not share common values ceases to produce. The only other option is that the company accepts new values and abandons old ones. But that literary means that a different company emerges. That different company might still hold the same name as the previous one, but it is, in fact, a different one. Values are a crucial part of any business model; with new values, different business model comes to life.

It is thus logical that we as individuals fear the change of the model since we (our values) might not fit the new model. 

Is there a fear of genetic invasion in question?

As contemporary genetics taught us, genes are fairly robust. Meaning that they survive substantial mutations. In addition, and in connection to this robustness, time plays a substantial role. One gene mutates often, but it takes many repetitions until “a change” is evolutionarily accepted. They are robust. Genetic invasion is not a short-term threat.

Memes, on another hand, are much less resilient to change since their mechanism of replication is closer to heredity by acquired characteristics and, even more importantly, replicate horizontally and not vertically as genes mostly do.  That means that memes replicate with much lower fidelity and, at the same time, much faster than genes meaning that memes also experience much faster mutations. They mutate almost overnight, and they might become extinct overnight.

For that reason, genes “know” that they need “fresh blood” for fecund enough reproduction, while memes, on another hand, reject alien values that are a necessary side effect of gene inflow. While it is true that eventually, both genes and memes end up in a newly recombined state, there are memes, a second replicator that is unique to humans, that fear alien values for reason and not genes.

Co-evolution as resolution

What does such a conclusion mean for Gould’s writings? While Gould evaluates genetic reductionism thoughtfully and consistently as misleading, he cannot evaluate racism in full detail without taking memes as more important replicators than genes. Genes and memes co-evolve. Social constructivism lives in the illusion that memes can override nature. On another extreme, many biologists stick by genes only and forget the important influences of memes on genes. A full explanation of co-evolution would not only make our existence better understood but would also make sense of the fear of immigrants.

What does that mean for the present EU immigration crisis?

Immigrants are neither inferior nor superior, but they have different cultures from ours. How much different? At what point does the inflow of different or even conflicting values become an exceeding burden or even a threat? 

It is quite clear that I’m not talking about the numbers (of immigrants and their genes) but of their total memetic field value. The memetic field value does not rest on a number of bodies. Elon Musk’s body represents an enormous memetic field value, while the much larger community of Amish community does not. Buddhist filed value is fairly benevolent, while the reasonably smaller sharia law-abiding Muslim community openly threatens with invasion. 

As much as essentialism is wrong, there also does not exist a priory objective measure of the sustainability of a particular mixture of cultures. What we know is that the symptoms of a disease of the EU and of the whole Western culture are clearly visible. Should I feel symptoms of a disease in my body, I would take immediate precautions. Should I not know exactly about the prospects of a disease, I would not hesitate to take excessive precautions. Evolution taught us to do so, just in case. For a reason.

Unfortunately, the EU Commission and the majority of EU national leaders do not take any precautions, do not follow evolutionarily proven sustainability strategy, and are thus committing not only suicide but also EU population homicide.


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