Re: Mini case study of memetic mutation

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu 07 Nov 2002 - 15:57:18 GMT

  • Next message: Grant Callaghan: "Re: Standard definition"

    >Date: Wed, 06 Nov 2002 23:33:29 -0800
    >Dear Grant,
    > > I think your analysis makes much more sense than the idea that we were
    > > infected by emoticon memes. It's a good look at why people make the
    > > they make and what they result in on a social basis.
    >Thank you for your support. ;-)
    >I do think that the virus metaphor is valid in at least two ways. First,
    >epidemiological thinking does help us understand the spread of memes.
    >Second, probably most of culture is caught rather than taught.
    I've no doubt you're right about culture being caught. If we experience something it's in us whether we want it or not. Sometimes teaching is the only way to get some ideas, but we learn as much from watching the new, walking down the street, doing business, going to church, hanging around on the street corner talking to friends as we do in the classroom. Maybe more.
      These activities bombard us with ideas and, although we don't use or convey even a small portion of what we pick up, it's all there in our minds, ready to be used if needed.

    A large part of the job of a policeman or psychiatrist, for example, is to dig it out. With a little effort we can recall the syle and items of clothing, the body type and color of skin, facial expression, eye color, shape of nose, and much more about people we saw walking down the street. Everyone seems to know who drives what kind of car, lives in what neighborhood, in what kind of house, an so on. These are all memes we learned just by being alive and aware. They were caught rather than taught.


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