Re: electric meme bombs

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Tue 22 Oct 2002 - 06:02:34 GMT

  • Next message: Philip Jonkers: "Re: electric meme bombs"

    Bruce: 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.

    Phil: 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 world.

    Bruce: 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.

    Phil: 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.

    Bruce: To me the "meme" is the process of transference of a pattern and the resultant behaviour.

    Phil: 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...

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue 22 Oct 2002 - 06:10:11 GMT