Re: electric meme bombs

From: Bruce Howlett (
Date: Tue 22 Oct 2002 - 02:56:08 GMT

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    >I'm pretty much in agreement with you, but I propose that we call a meme the
    >information contained in a transaction, the pattern if you will of the
    >information being transferred. Just as what we call a gene is the encoded
    >information contained in a segment of DNA, the pattern of information
    >contained in an attempt to communicate an idea (a transaction) through words
    >(narrative), actions, or artifacts is something we can point to and call a
    >meme, although it has no physical manifestation other than the transaction
    >itself. But it is not the transaction we should refer to as the meme, it is
    >the pattern of information encoded in the transaction.



    Hi Grant.

    I thought that the major distinction was that a "meme" is self-serving and uses humans as hosts. The "information contained" argument versus the "resulting behaviour" argument is not the issue so much as the description of what is happening in the process of infection and replication. I suppose that I feel your "information contained in a transaction" is too general and applicable to deliberate (ie non-mememetic) processes as well as mememetic processes - the object is, I think, to make a distinction. The cultural artifacts that result are the only evidence of the "meme" as either process or object, and could be in many forms ranging from beliefs to lierature. However, I admit to being a reductionist, as for me it makes understanding this very slippery concept a bit easier.


    Bruce Howlett

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