Re: Words and Memes

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 19:04:40 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Words and Memes
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    > And what would you be like without you? There's got to be a subject of
    > awareness that perceives these varying degrees of reality and illusion.
    > Otherwise our thoughts and memes couldn't exist.

    Strip away the memes consituting our being (i.e. self-plex, ego)
    and all that remains is a human that
    survives on instinctual drives. It fails to reason so it is not intelligent,
    at best only
    intuitive. It has all the equipment, of course, to rise to
    the level of social sophistication that is currently feasible. Feral
    children exemplify
    this devoid-of-memes phenonemon. The `you' that remains is very much real
    of course but it is as culturally competent as an ape without memetic

    > > >In my view, memetics is all about the struggle between reflective
    > > >human self-replicators and unreflective memetic self-replicators.
    > >
    > > I don't understand this conflict business.
    > The conflict arises because, inevitably, some of our memified notions will
    > be pathological. Ideas can't distinguish between right and wrong. Any
    > idea, no matter how ridiculous, can become self-replicating. Though quite
    > powerful, "L. Ron is God" doesn't contribute to the good of the social
    > It's a freelance meme, much like a carcinogenic cell. When an alternative
    > social body begins to form around a carcinogenic meme, the result is cult,
    > not culture.

    You have a point here, but two things. Isn't the phenomenon of the cult part
    of culture. I'm aware of the superfluidity and redundancy of cults, but I
    consider it a subset of culture. The distinction between cult and culture to
    is not of a seperable kind but rather of embedding kind (cult in culture).

    If you consider memes to be cultural elements that involve only
    replication, how would you explain the spreading of cult-memes?
    (spreading the `cult-gospel') seems very intentional to me;
    Jehova's witnesses knocking on doors know very well what and why they are
    doing. If not, they wouldn't be able to get near their objective of
    Their intentional basis is pathological of course.

    > > Humans are as adapted to load and run memes as
    > > computers are to load and run software. Software is useless without
    > > without hardware and vice versa. In our mental lives we are self
    > > self programming, start from a single cell organisms. And what we can
    > > load depends to high extent on what we have loaded earlier. As an
    > > example, you won't get anywhere with higher mathematics without a
    > > foundation clear down to arithmetic, and you need a foundation of
    > > physical concepts you learn as a small child such as counting and
    > > quantity even before you get to arithmetic.

    > We need memes in order to progress beyond the simplest level of culture.
    > But they'll turn around and bite us if we're not careful.

    We got bitten a great many times already!


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