Re: Mini case study of memetic mutation

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Thu 07 Nov 2002 - 07:13:31 GMT

  • Next message: "Dancin' in the (9/11) Streets (with apologies to Bowie and Jagger)"

    Dear Richard,

    > <<Note that this memetic evolution is entirely in terms of expressions.
    > <smile>, <s>, and :-) all mean the same thing. This means that memes are
    > *not* ideas, at least not all memes. The idea stayed the same while the
    > expression evolved. Those favoring internal memes need to account for
    > such change.>>
    > I'm not sure I get your point here, Bill. How does the fact that "<smile>,
    > <s>, and :-) all mean the same thing" lead to the conclusion that not all
    > memes are ideas? Are you saying that ideas are not involved in my choosing
    > how I express myself?

    Ideas may be involved in how we express ourselves, and, in general, alternatives differ in both denotation and connotation. But ideas are general and abstract. (The OED gives some senses of "idea" that would, I think, apply to expressions per se, but they are obsolete.) In this case we have three different expressions of the same idea. They were in direct competition, and that is why, I think, one scored a clear victory. That process of variation and selection did not occur on the level of ideas, but it was still the variation and selection of memes.

    Phonemes are even clearer examples of memes that are not ideas. Welsh LL, which is pronounced like HL with the tongue in the L position when the H is made, has two descendents in English, FL and L, as in Floyd and Lloyd.

    If you restrict memes to ideas you leave out a good bit of culture.



    =============================================================== 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 : Thu 07 Nov 2002 - 07:16:25 GMT