Re: Definition of meme

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Tue 20 May 2003 - 12:14:15 GMT

  • Next message: Richard Brodie: "RE: Definition of meme"

    >Do you have any doubt that the physical representation of a meme in a brain
    >(where memes exist as a class of memory) can be found? (Given fine enough
    >tools of course.) Here is a thought experiment on how to do it:
    >Take a snapshot of the places and states of every atom in a
    >brain. Immediately have the brain learn a new a new phone number, snapshot
    >again. Subtract. Ignoring the (eventually solvable) engineering problems,
    >what is left is the physical representation of the encoded phone number or
    >meme or whatever. Might be hard to figure out how it is encoded, but
    >that's just detail.

    That might not be so straightforward as you suggest. In your example, there may be legion ways remembering a phone-number. Moreover the strategy employed to remember phone-numbers, or any event for that matter, is highly personal and unique (since we all have unique brains with a unique history track). Such strategies will determine how and where memories are formed and stored. Also the more newly acquired information is connected or entangled with existing memories the better the new information seems to be remembered. This will make isolated identification of specific memorized events exceedingly hard if not impossible.

    >If you don't buy this model, then are you making a claim that memory has no
    >physical encoding or that it is outside the physical world?

    It exists alright. It is just that brains are too darn complex, entangled and unique to identify and isolate information replicators. The mind may be a better playground for memetics.


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