From: Grant Callaghan (email@example.com)
Date: Tue 11 Feb 2003 - 02:00:17 GMT
>You seem to think that memes come after the fact, that something
occured out of the blue and than that memes fill up the niche left behind by the situation. In other words, that memes are the result of a process of coincidence. Hm, maybe, I seem to think the opposite. Memes are of a quite different order, not only there 're memes that fill up the pools of any environment that demands it, but there 're also memes that create their own environment to propagate themselves further. The Internet is an example that can be explained in either way....
I think that memes occurred when human minds became capable of transmitting
their experiences to each other. It was not out of the blue but was a
consequence of one human learning to imitate the actions of another. This
extended the ability of humans to learn new things and to perpetuate that
knowledge over generations. It created a pool of ideas about how to do
things that made humans more capable than other primates who could not do
this. What your average primate learns die with him. What a human learns
and communicates goes into the pool and only dies when the pool that holds
the ideas dies. The larger the pool, the more capable the minds become that
contain it. It is not the pool or the memes in it that determines what it
will hold, but the people who contribute to it. The people, in turn, are
influenced but not bound by the contents of what is in the pool. They are
always inventing new things to contribute. The memes are not inventing
these things, but they are the fabric out of which humans fashion them.
Without human minds to hold them and use them, there would be no memes to
speak of and no culture at all. Memes don't create the environment but they
do form a large part of it.
Just as the ax made cutting down trees easier and log houses feasible, the
ax did not create itself. Thus the ax became an important part of the
environment of the humans who had them but could not have come into
existence without human enginuity. Some human conceived and made the first
one and changed his environment with it. Others learned from him and the
meme spread. But it was humans who spread it and provided the environment
for it to exist in -- not the meme.
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