If we are not the world, what are we?
I continued mulling over this piece and how it reveals that we (our individual selves) are primarily a pastiche of cultural memes and life experiences, even deep within what we consider our innermost private sense of our “real” selves. In seeing how divergent are responses to the ultimatum game in different cultures, one wonders what, if any, response is native to our animal selves, free of cultural influence/determinism. Near as I can tell, the only constant across all the cultures—the only thing that seems unaffected by culture—is the finding that never in any culture did one find absolutely selfish players. So at the purely animal level, we share. But from there on it, we are artifacts of cultural memes, collected and roughly assembled as we grow.
And, of course, we contribute to the on-going cultural development, conversation, and exchange. We are the medium in which memes live and evolve, and we indeed are mostly collections of those memes. Each snowflake is unique because its structure is a record of the humidity, temperature, and particles it encountered as it grew, and how those changed over the time of its growth. So it is with us: we each are a unique combination of memes encountered as we grew, along with changes in the interaction of life experience with our meme collections. Very little of us originates from our animal side. We are a meme-based life form.