Re: electric meme bombs

From: Jeremy Bradley (
Date: Sat 26 Oct 2002 - 06:47:58 GMT

  • Next message: Jeremy Bradley: "Re: Standard definition"

    At 04:14 PM 21/10/02 +1000, you wrote: Snip.....(Bruce)
    >The concept of memetics has been of great assistance to me in the study
    >and practice of change management. While I agree with the holistic
    >approach (the definition of a meme event as an observable behaviour in >a
    cultural context), by far the most significant factor in that process >is language. For example: it is possible to bring about significant >change in an organisation by changing the language used by the people >within that organisation (acknowledgements to If Price).

    Hi Bruce I'm Jeremy, welcome back. I think that we are working through defining memetics as an academic discipline; a working definition of a meme being a part of that process. Confusions, however, will be prolonged by the conflation of meme and memetic processes. I think that memes are simply cultural elements; some propagate readily, others don't. A meme propagates by transference; when, by whatever process is available to it, one individual, in a common culture with one or more others, adds another element of culture to their persona. A meme event would therefore be a cultural happening.
    >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. 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. To me the "meme" is the process >of transference of a pattern and the resultant behaviour. 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.
       Bruce Howlett

    As I said above Bruce, IMHO, a meme is an object (or an item to be more exact). However, I think that you are spot on when you write about the differing reception of memes. In my Hons. hear I looked at narrative patterns in traditional literature. It was fascinating to note that when a graph was made of story-values, memes stor(y)d for intergenerational transfer, it consistently conformed to a graph of the cultures' 'values'. This will be the problem of AI; intelligence is subjective. Therefore, if one wanted to design an AI software programme, AI software would have to include a programmable memetic filter - probably through narrative analysis. But that's another rave, IMHO, a meme is an item of culture - nothing more and nothing less. Cheers Jeremy

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