Saturday, December 03, 2011

Gratitude Memetics (Part II)

In the previous post I offered an example of what I've come to think of as 'gratitude memetics'. I realise that although I have quite a clear idea of what that means to me, I haven't shared that.

I define 'gratitude memetics' as the study of memes involving the memorial cultural transmission of a specific form of gratitude; i.e. the gratitude of type G that a person owes another is linked to similar gratitude that that person owes yet another. This is seen in trivial form when people play 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon', with the gratitude being shallow and implicit, and seen in less trivial and more consequential form in academic citations and the tracing of academic pedigree (as in the previous post).

It's possible to see this in clan or feudal obligations where one family lineage is obligated to another or owes fealty to another. This survives even in non-feudal societies when one feels obliged to repay the debts (social, financial or otherwise) that a family member may have incurred towards a close mutual acquaintance.

What forms does this take, in terms of formal structures, arrangements and descriptions? Something to spend the weekend thinking about.

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