Re: Stewart tes

From: Van oost Kenneth (
Date: Fri 18 Oct 2002 - 19:47:41 GMT

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    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Bill Spight" <>

    > All:
    > Again we are discussing what kind of thing a meme is or might be. As
    > Aungere points out, the lack of consensus on this point fuels criticism.
    > If nobody knows what a meme is, is there such a thing, anyway?
    > Despite this lack of consensus, I think that many memes pass the Stewart
    > test. U. S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said, "I shall not
    > today attempt further to define [pornographic] material . but I know it
    > when I see it." (
    > One example, I think, is the phrase, "Beam me up, Scotty!" Is there
    > anyone who thinks that memes exist that does not think that that is a
    > meme? OC, people differ about what exactly that meme is. Some think it
    > is the utterance, the act of saying or writing the phrase, some would
    > include a bumper sticker with that phrase written on it as a meme, some
    > think it is a neural structure or a set of neural structures, some that
    > it is an idea, some that it is all of the above, and so on. But does any
    > one of them doubt that it is a meme?
    > Another example, I think, is the TIT-FOR-TAT strategy of playing the
    > Prisoner's Dilemma game. (Axelrod: "The Evolution of Cooperation")
    > Again, exactly what that means differs among memeticists, but is there
    > not general agreement that such strategies are memes? (In fact, in a
    > recent web search of "replicator" I found that economists are
    > researching such strategies extensively. They call them replicators,
    > rather than memes, it seems, but let's call a spade a spade. ;-))
    > These are examples of two major classes of memes, I think: lexemes,
    > which include words, phrases, etc., and situation-response pairs, which
    > include game strategies, normative rules, techniques, etc. In fact, it
    > seems to me that these encompass most memes in any culture.
    > Am I wrong about whether such things are memes, regardless of how you
    > define a meme? What do you say?

    Hi Bill,

    IMO, the meme itself is not the problem, but the whole of the memetic exercise is.. IMO, memetics is at is very bias individualistic, it has a Bildung aspect attached to it_ what Lawrence and I call, the selfbuilding- scheme. In essence memetics is thus humanistic and knowing that and taking on the ruling of what humanistic stands for ( romantic) we can say memetics wants to become a natural science. Where in the former people has to work for their own benefit, in the latter meme- tics wants to use the results of its inquiries to drive culture and society on the best/ better directions.

    IMO, still, what people/ the public already knows and understands of memetics ( and that is not much ) is what tells us the latter...memetics is seen just as a new driving collective force and that in the age of in- dividualism ! And that ain 't what people want ! People wants freedom and need to be free, memetics as a Bildung- ideal can do that in the other way round memetics is doomed to face the same ordeal like NS and communism. Memetics is not mend to be a " collective Bildung- scheme ", that turns automatically towards an excess...



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