Re: electric meme bombs

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Thu 17 Oct 2002 - 12:46:51 GMT

  • Next message: Chris Taylor: "Re: FW: [evol-psych] Critique of Memetics"

    On Thursday, October 17, 2002, at 08:01 , Chris Taylor wrote:

    > one could say that memes are not ephemeral, but behaviour is.

    Memes are given _apparent_ solidity by the similarities their ephemeral natures might contain. Your child is not you, but you are in your child.


    > They're not memes unless carried
    > out, or articulated in some kind of way.

    Sounds like at least one person is in my camp. My other problem with the mental model is that it does not take into account the slip 'twixt the cup and the lip', of which, as we know, there are several.

    The comic turn called the pratfall is only a part of the repertoire of the physical comedian because, at one time, someone slipped and did a header. (As to why we consider that funny, I'll leave to wiser souls.) This was not a memetic action, but an accident. The comedian decided to incorporate such a fall into his act, and practiced such a motion, until it was perfected enough to present. But each pratfall is different, regardless of preparation or mental or physical conditioning. And the comedian knows this, (as any practiced performer knows this about any upcoming performance), which is why he endeavors to create as close to identical conditions for the fall as he can.

    The fact that there is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip is, I think, an unavoidable part of cultural evolutionary theory, and the fact that accidental behaviors are consumed into the memetic repertoire is also, I think, unavoidable, and I don't see how this meme in mind hypothesis handles this comfortably. It demands memes in minds, memes in performance, memes in perception, and somehow wants to say this meme is the same throughout. Nonsense. The meme is totally and only the behavior, mitigated by cultural and physical environment and the skill of the performer. What continues is the effects of the meme, not the meme itself. And those effects, just like the meme, are transitory, and only continue within cultures which maintain enough status quo to explain them.

    - Wade

    - who often steps upon the good intentions on the path to hell.

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