RE: Silent memes

From: Richard Brodie (
Date: Tue 08 Jul 2003 - 15:08:20 GMT

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    Keith wrote:

    <<As list members know I consider the *information itself* to be the meme, independent of the media. And indeed memes *may be* encoded in an artifact so they are easy to read out.

    A piece of paper folded into an airplane is more "information rich" than a never folded sheet. It can be "read out" by a person unfolding and learning the folding steps. A brain that has just learned to make this paper airplane either by watching one made or "reverse engineering" a sample airplane is that much more information rich. The same information would exist in a series of drawings or a text description of how to fold up this particular paper airplane. The only common element (besides paper) in a variety of ways leading to a paper airplane flying about is the information on how to make one.

    Information, of course, must be encoded in matter. In the paper airplane example it is in an object (a sample), on paper (drawings, text) or in brains. There is no particular reason not to class drawings, text and brains as "artifacts" I suppose so in that sense memes would always be encoded in "artifacts." But the only common element for the paper airplane across these "artifacts" is the information on how to fold one.>>

    What makes a replicating information pattern a meme (rather than some other kind of replicator) is the fact that it replicates because of the influence it has on a human mind when the information is in the mind. If you don't have this constraint, there is no difference between a meme and some other kind of replicator such as a gene or a computer virus.

    Richard Brodie

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