Re: electric meme bombs

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Mon 21 Oct 2002 - 19:05:56 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Re: electric meme bombs"

    Dear Bruce,

    > As people with an interest in memetics, what we are doing is creating a language to
    > describe a concept. I hope it doesn't take another 2 years for the memetics community to agree on some
    > standard definitions.

    Considering that anthropologists have not yet come up with a standard definition of culture, don't hold your breath. ;-)

    OTOH, I think that the differences about the definition of memes are more philosophical than scientific. I think that most memes pass the Stewart test. We may not be able to define them, but we know them when we see them. Memes can be identified in the same way by people holding different definitions. For instance, the phrase, "Give me a break!" identifies a meme. Some people may define that meme as the behavioral expression of the phrase, others may define it as a neural structure in the brain, others may use other definitions, but they can all still agree that the phrase identifies a meme, and can informally say that
    "Give me a break!" is a meme.

    This kind of agreement exists not just at the level of identifiers, but at the level of phenomena. Memetics can ignore neither the external nor the internal aspects of a meme, regardless of how it is defined. When you get down to brass tacks, a thorough scientific study of, say, "Give me a break!" will cover the same phenomena, regardless of how it is defined.

    What I would like to see is less talk about definitions and more talk about memes. :-)



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