Re: meme as catalytic indexical

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Tue 27 Jan 2004 - 00:27:41 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: memetics/memics/mimetics"

    >From: "Van oost Kenneth" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Re: meme as catalytic indexical
    >Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 20:25:12 +0100
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: "M Lissack" <>
    > > Bruce raised serious issues about the future of
    > > memetics. You ignore them and defend your point by
    > > stating that "memes" means.... well it is not the idea
    > > of memes whose future was challenged it was the idea
    > > that there is a serious study and science of memes
    > > called memetics.
    ><< Most list- memebers will ignore the fact that something
    >else can replicate external to the mind, you challenge their
    >conviction in the memeinthemind- hypothesis !
    >If I sit down on the bench marked Whites Only, by the
    >act of sitting on it, I propagated, replicated racistic memes.
    We would need to think more about the person sitting on the bench and their circumstances before we consider them propagating or "replicating" a racist mindset. If the person sitting on the bench is non-white, they are obviously not propagating racism, but instead are acting contrary to racist institutions. This non-white person may have just accidentally sat on the bench and then would not be propagating an anti-racist mindset. If they sat on the bench with the intention of bucking the system, we might think in terms of propagating an anti-racist mindset.

    If a white person sat on that bench they might be acquiescing to the mores of the society. They could be perpetuating the mindset. Maybe they are copying the behaviors of others and are thus passively acting according to a prevailing racist mindset. Maybe this white person sitting on the bench is a civil rights activist holding a sign saying that whites only benches are wrong and preventing other whites from sitting there. Would they be propagating a racist mindset then? We might want to take the intention of the bench sitter into consideration before reaching conclusions about mindsets being propogated.

    If a white person took offense to a non-white person sitting on the bench or a white civil rights activist holding the sign mentioned above and acted in a manner that kwpt the person from staying on the bench, that person would be clearly propogating a racist mindset.
    >The memeplex, so to speak, is in the bench, not in my head.
    The mindset would likely be codified into a segregationist law (such as Jim Crow of the pre civil rights South). It would be written on the bench, but also remembered by the person sitting there as they have probably learned to act according to the mores of the local community.

    People would act in accord with or contrary to this codification. Maybe those whites who sat on the whites only bench were acquiescing to the prevailing law or some whites who sat on the bench may have acted in other ways contrary to racist laws and mores or helped the cause of civil rights in some way, but happened to sit on the bench in this instance.

    Maybe, in toto, sitting on the whites only bench perpetuates the system as racist behaviors are superficially mimicked, but there could be instances where this generalization is not correct.
    >Memes are somehow inscribed in the situation itself.
    >Although, all performative acts involve cognition of some
    And laws. Jim Crow comes to mind. Civil rights activists helped to erase this vile inscription. We just celebrated a holiday in the States for one of the greatest, Martin Luther King, Jr.
    >Some list- memebers will take this as a form of synecdoche,
    >they take the part for the whole. Cognition is a part, not the
    >general picture. That is their problem.
    >And I am stuck in the middle....

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