From: Philip Jonkers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue 22 Oct 2002 - 06:02:34 GMT
The operational environment that makes the mememetic process
possible is the pattern identification system used by our brains,
and as far as I can tell, that system evolved from the basic need
to quickly identify danger in order to stay alive.
I don't think it was identification of danger that acted as the sole cue
prompting and fueling the evolutional development of our highly sophisticated
pattern identification systems but rather the survival benefits derived from
such faculties in general. In more mundane terms, we are so smart,
perceptive and cultural because being smart, perceptive and cultural
is a wise thing to do in order to stay alive in a rough and competitive
What makes the exact defining of what a meme is, and how it works
difficult, is that it does not work the same way each time. If the brain
receives part of a pattern it will fill in the blanks from past memories/experiences.
As no 2 peoples experience of life is identical, it is obvious that the
reaction to a specific meme will be different in each case. I think it would
help if we stopped treating a meme as an object.
Given your contextual meaning of `object', you seem to imply immutable
object with that term. However, given the discrete taxonomous properties
of language (we can't label everything with a separate name) I don't think
this is really necessary. Mutation is name of the game in evolution and
no two things are the same. Our language is already well-equiped to deal
with this sloppy non-uniqueness in the definition of concepts. For instance,
no two footballs are the same and yet they are regarded as identical FAPP.
With the advent of AI, the prospects of memetics are likely to be entrance of
an era of less sloppiness, perhaps even vanishing. That is, memes created
by AI machines and replicated between AI machines will be of a higher
degree of fidelity since the relevant creative substrate will be electronic,
which is prone to be more accurate than the faulty human organic brain.
Mutations will not happen during the acts of replication of retrieval but rather
have to put in intentionally in the form of heuristic or guided mutation. A phenomenon
we are already witnessing in our own culture in the endeavours of technology
(chip/software development), science (painstaking development of theory) and much much more. But than again we still stumble upon mutations by accident although they were more frequent in the past than they are now (Pasteur's invention, Rontgen's invention or was it Mme Curie?, etc.)
Also, I prefer the term `element' as this refers to a more abstract and general
form instead of `object' which bears some unwanted physical connotations
with it. But that may be a matter of taste and hence is not `object'ive.
To me the "meme" is the process of transference of a pattern and the resultant
I don't think the actual process of transference serves much use to be termed
memetic. After all, it's precisely that which is transferred which is where the
money lies so to speak. Also, it is that which is transferred which is replicable
not the process.
I think I got a little bit carried away overhere already. Thanks for mentioning
Bruce, I guess, hi hi...
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