Re: memetics-digest V1 #1406

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Thu 19 Jun 2003 - 19:28:40 GMT

  • Next message: Dace: "Idea, habit, meme"

    On Thursday, June 19, 2003, at 01:47 PM, Richard wrote and I amend:

    "The memes comprising a memeplex [aka the properties of the venue, including all artifacts, (which are special cases of performances), and the performances presently happening within the venue] work together to get the whole bundle passed on [aka to elicit further performances].

    Nice, ain't it?

    > It makes no sense to talk about a meme being transmitted with less
    > than 100% fidelity unless you are talking about mutation.

    It makes no bloody sense to talk about _anything_ being transmitted with 100% fidelity in the first place. Entropy, remember it? The only escape from entropy in this universe is the positing of telepathy.

    Let's talk about mutation and loss of information. Living too dangerously, though, perhaps, for ya.

    > a meme gets replicated with 100% fidelity by definition.

    In _one_ model of cultural evolution. In the performance model, the meme is never assumed to replicate with 100% fidelity. These models have, at their basis, different definitions of meme, although you never acknowledge that and you continue to criticize the performance model using your definition of meme, not its, and that is an irrelevant, immaterial, and incompetent criticism.

    There is no _one_ definition of meme. It would be nice to correct that, but there ain't. There are a few definitions and a few models working with these different definitions, but there ain't one definition of meme whereby all models needs must hang.

    I do not criticize the meme in the mind model because of how that definition works to satisfy the model. I can't. The meme in that model supplies its function quite well. What I criticize is the attempt to call this definitional construct a real world entity, or 'obvious', or the model itself relevant to cultural evolution and not a convenient metaphor for a process of mind we have no understanding of, namely psychological and behavioral motivations.

    "Memes can be considered the unit of cultural evolution." This is from a widely distributed dictionary. But the point is, all that _can_ be done with a meme is to consider it. We don't actually have one to play with. Consideration will, and has, produced many definitions, some of which meet this consideration better than others. IMHO, the performance model's definition of meme meets this consideration the best. Your definition, IMHO, meets it the worst. Evolution is not a story with a cast of unchanging characters being chosen from a list of 100% identical actors.

    Since your model posits a meme in a mind, you need to prove such an entity actually exists, (not to mention showing that there is _any_ component of evolution that replicates with 100% fidelity... or, are you saying that your memes are supernatural?), before you can go on to posit how that mind effects the world. And no-one from the meme in the mind modeling fraternity has come forward and done that, except to say,
    'well, you and I both use the word 'brain' so we have the same meme in our minds'.... Which is, well, saying nothing at all and taking eighteen words to do so.

    - Wade

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