S.J. Gould, immigrants and branding

By chance (and as we know nothing happens by chance) I am in the middle of the S.J. Gould book The Mismeasure of Man (1981) that provides outstanding refutation of any kind of essentialism that normally leads to racism. By chance I live in time-space of Europe challenged by thousands soon to be millions of immigrants flooding from Middle East Arab countries to apparently more prosperous and “safe” northern EU countries. And at the same time I’m finishing Brandlife that should turn around everything that has been said and written about branding so far (wow! I like this cliche positioning phrase).

Combination of three mentioned occurrences brings an explanation 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 to their own. My stress lies on “physical confrontation”. Reading about or even writing about social confrontations in protected armchair environment of peaceful home proves to be forgotten when a reader or writer finds himself encircled with “characters”.

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 is out of question. Situation is same like in branding. While brands are not and can not be  superior or inferior one to another they protect strongly one from another. They (brands) know that their identity lies in separation of their values from 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’s cooperations. They do this exactly for the reason of their life. They perform different cooperations to obtain highest possible evolutionary stable strategy (ESS) and fitness. And since we know that agents are not humans (as gene-complexes) neither brands (as meme-complexes), but genes and memes, we come closer to peculiar ambiguity that we all feel confronted with invasion of representatives of a different brands (races) in our environment.

We in Europe know that our business model, that has an insurmountable flaw in low natality of European nations, has to change so that other nations inflow would possibly make our model evolutionarily more stable, on the other hand have all reasons to fear about our identity. This seems to be a paradox until we take in account that a subjects of both suppositions are in fact different. And in both cases subjects are not humans but genes in first instance and memes in second. Genes know that they need “fresh blood” for fecund enough reproduction while memes on another hand reject values that are a necessary side effect of gene inflow. While it is true that sooner or later both genes and memes ends up in a newly recombined state, there are memes, a  second replicator that is unique to humans, that represent a true base for “angst” against immigrants.

That is also a reason why The Mismeasure of Man  is shorthanded and leftist biased. While Gould evaluates genetic reductionism thoughtfully and consistently as misleading, he can not evaluate racism in full detail without taking memes as as important replicators as genes.


Andrej Drapal