Re: memes defined operationally (from article)

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Wed 15 Jan 2003 - 16:21:42 GMT

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    On the subject of memes that lie dormant not being memes, what about the millions of ideas we receive through the media and observation of what's going on around us but never pass on to others? By definition, they were memes when they were passed to us but they get no farther as far as what we, as individuals, do with them. In addition, they become part of that great mass of data and information we call culture. Although they don't leave our minds to "infect" others, they do have an effect on what new memes will be acceptable to us as candidates to be included in what we see as our culture.
      So although we don't retransmit them, they do play a role in our lives and help shape our behavior and decision making.

    Example: I heard that a company president sold a large portion of the shares in his company. I don't tell anyone else, but I rush to sell that stock myself. Or I hear that Venezuela is having a strike that has shut down gas production. I see people marching through the streets and carrying signs calling for the president to step down. I don't grab a sign and start marching in response, but I do rush down to the gas station and fill up my tank before the price of gas goes up. Thus I have absorbed information that I have not passed on nor copied but it has affected my behavior. I see that information as a meme although it does little more than lie dormant within my mind and is not transmitted by me.

    Does your view of memes and their definition account for this?


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