From: Bill Spight (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 07 Nov 2002 - 07:13:31 GMT
> <<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
If you restrict memes to ideas you leave out a good bit of culture.
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