Re: I know one when I see one

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Tue 29 Oct 2002 - 22:03:33 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: electric meme bombs"

    > There are other memetic features to language that I could go into but this
    > is getting too long and drawn out already. But my point is that it is a
    > method of transferring thoughts out of my head into yours. What I'm
    > grappling with is the question of whether the meme lies in the process or
    > just in elements of the process? Many of the people on this list want to
    > break the process into its elements and refer to one or another of those
    > elements as the meme. I have been guilty of this myself. But the more I
    > wrestle with what I see going on, the less sure I am that anything less
    > the entire process makes sense as a unit of culture passed.

    Let's call the meme inside the transmitter memeA, the meme is subjected to modifications over time and hence can be written as a function of time: memeA(t). Now memeA(t) gets transmitted to a recipient at time t1, the meme is not perfectly carried over and this discrepancy with the original will be accounted for by labeling it different from the original meme (memeA) as memeA'. Also in the recipient's possession the memeA' gets jumbled around with existing memes: it gets distorted, modified and what not. The meme memeA' thus also develops a record of time-dependent mutation which we may write as: memeA'(t') with t'>=t1. That is, memeA'(t') is the copy of memeA(t) in the possession of the recipient at times greater or equal than t1. Does this clear up things?


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