Re: Example of an aggresive irrational meme

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Fri Mar 08 2002 - 20:15:23 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Example of an aggresive irrational meme
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    on 3/8/02 12:51 PM, memetics-digest at wrote:

    > Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 21:34:33 -0900
    > From: "Philip Jonkers" <>
    > Subject: Re: Example of an aggresive irrational meme
    > Philip:
    >> **An aggressive meme is a meme that is designed to emphasize on
    >> transmission rather than virtue.**
    > Steve:
    >> Just re-reading this and that last bit caught my eye.
    >> Not withstanding my earlier post about the use of words to describe
    > meme's,
    >> this again falls foul of the use metaphor. I know this seems picky and is
    >> not intended to be, but i think we have to be careful of the language we
    >> use. I understand that by aggressive you mean the emphasis is on
    >> transmission, but that is true of any meme, (and biologist can correct me
    >> if I'm wrong, of genes). The primary 'goal' for either is to be
    > replicated.
    >> Full stop. Any effects or apparent benefits on people are coincidental
    > from
    >> the meme's eye point of view. And as Grant might suggest, it is these
    >> qualities we use in choosing the memes that we do.
    > Memes have no goal. It's the hosts who use memes to achieve goals. Memes
    > just
    > are and the memes who can persuade the hosts (by offering fitness
    > increments, genuine or false)
    > most frequently to adopt them dominate over rivaling memes. There are lots
    > of good memes
    > who die out because they fail to be sufficiently replicated. For instance,
    > ideas and inventions
    > on how to exploit alternative energy resources are bought up by the
    > oil-industry for obvious reasons.

    Exactly the point i'm making.
    > Just like genes, memes come in all sorts and shapes, some are successful and
    > some are not.
    > This is reflected by their adoption or transmission rates. Only the
    > successful memes have
    > emphasized sufficiently on transmission and thus were prevented from being
    > swept away
    > by rivaling memes.
    >> But from the meme's point of view it is irrelevant. It is not because they
    >> are aggressive but because they fit that particular environment in which
    > to
    >> replicate or the mutation rate is such that it can be changed as a result
    > of
    >> the environment in which it finds itself. A silly example might be a
    >> 'Chinese whisper' where people in a circle pass on a word or phrase at a
    >> very low audible threshold, which introduces a method of natural
    > selection.
    >> I.E. each generation of the meme may be subject, due to the hearing of one
    >> of the participants, to arbitrary change.
    > Chinese whisper is not as much about natural selection as it is about
    > mutation. Each time the
    > meme is passed on to its neighbor it's distorted, transformed mutated (you
    > get the picture now).
    > After going round the circle, the meme might be completely transformed into
    > something completely
    > different from the original.
    > In biology mutation together with sex defines one vital component of natural
    > selection: variation.
    > The other two are: selection and retentive reproduction.

    Fair enough. I just didn't think i needed to break it down that much to make
    the point. I know some people have tried, not too convincingly to my mind,
    to bring the sex angle into memetics, but i think it is best left with
    biology. What would be an equivalant way for mutation to occur memetically
    if we removed the biological idea of sex?

    To my way of thinking, memetically, the sexual transmission metaphor would
    be that memes replicate assexually (or is biological fission like the
    amoeba that i'm on about?). I.E. change occurs due to innacurate or
    deliberate changing during the copying process (Hence my use of the Chinese
    whispers example).

    >> There is a meme for behaviour, but not a meme with behaviour.

    > ???

    >> Memes just are.

    Your own words

    > Cheers,
    > Phil.



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