The life of culture

Does culture really have a life of its own? Are cultural trends, fashions, ideas, and norms like organisms, evolving and weaving our minds and bodies into an ecological web? You hear a pop song a
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Sometimes culture seems to have a life of its own. You catch wind of a juicy bit of gossip and just have to tell your friends. You hear a pop song a few times and suddenly find yourself humming the tune. You unthinkingly adopt the vocabulary and turns of phrase of your circle of friends. The latest fashions compel you to fork over your money, succumbing to what is de rigueur. But does culture really have a life of its own? Are cultural trends, fashions, ideas, and norms like organisms, evolving and weaving our minds and bodies into an ecological web? Some have answered a resolute yes. The biologist Richard Dawkins, for example, is a strong proponent of this idea and he introduced a term — meme — to name these cultural beasts. In popular parlance, memes now mainly refer to things gone viral on the Internet — think Grumpy Cat or What Does the Fox Say? — not the totality of culture. But could it be that culture is composed entirely of memes and that, like viruses,. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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