Re: electric meme bombs

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Thu 17 Oct 2002 - 02:50:34 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: A meme is..."

    On Wednesday, October 16, 2002, at 09:30 , wrote:

    > So every smoked cigarette is unique, as is every quaffed beer, and,
    > furthermore, so distinguishable and unassimilable that they are not
    > tokens of beer-quaffing or cigarette-smoking

    Unique, yes, each and every one. Distinguishable unassailably? Yes, in spacetime, but, not, granted, necessarily perceptibly indistinguishable by humans in cultural environments, and that is the main power of memetic behavior.

    One may hear several performances of Dvorak's Eighth, and, quite perceptibly, know they are different. But one can also hear how they are the same, and even remark how satisfying these similarities are, much beyond just the delight that one is hearing a favorite work again.

    What remains is a memory, of a feeling, or an attempt at a feeling, that one might, if one could and can, put somewhere else, when one performs another piece of music, or, the same piece of music. But, perhaps the conductor will not allow the opportunity, or, something else will wipe the memory away. It is all too transient, the way of the mind, to put anything there that is behaviorally intact. Mutations happen outside of the mind memetically, too. (I would say, only, but, then, that's the model speaking.) One never does precisely what one thought one would do, in precisely the fashion, although one gets damn close with practice and experience that lend precision. Cow1 is not Cow2 and behavior1 is not behavior2, and even thought1 is not thought2, and, gene1 is not gene2, and meme1 is not meme2, either. But we can have meme1 and meme2 both addressing the same token, as you say, in that the memory of the perception of Dvorak's Eighth that I have, and that my girlfriend has, of the same performance at the same time in the same place, can perhaps be the preparation for a meme, but, so far, I do not know what, if anything, she has performed to remark upon it- I don't think she's spending her token, certainly she does not see that it has the value I think it has, or perhaps she does, but, we have not spoken of it other than to say to each other how much we liked it.

    > The genome corresponds to the entire form of the individual; a gene
    > within it corresponds to the repeated performance of a single meme, as
    > it encodes a single characteristic, and not the totality of the
    > template.

    But not to the entire form of the individual throughout its life, certainly. The genome presents the strata for the mind, but does not ensure the mind itself. For the mind to appear, memetic behaviors need to be performed in the cultural environment, and perceived by the developing individual.

    The meme, by being behavior-only, needs to be forced into constraining circumstances, like laws and precepts and axioms and conventions and morals and regulations and dress-codes and borders- culture is the attempt to contain the limitless change potential of each memetic action. Otherwise, not necessarily chaos, but, anarchy, and cultures do not survive well as anarchies, and the survival of cultures is something that, I thought, memetics was all about.

    Once the brain houses all the evolutionary machinery, culture seems irrelevant to memetic survival, or is, somehow, something emerging from memetic behavior, rather than something mitigating it.

    And, I don't accept that memetic behavior is not being mitigated by culture, anymore than I can accept that the weather is something emerging from a thermometer.

    - Wade

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