From: Keith Henson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue 10 Feb 2004 - 08:22:10 GMT
At 02:41 PM 09/02/04 +0000, derek wrote:
>I came across the following title in the library - I
>think this may be the earliest use of the 'contagion
>metaphor' to describe the spread of ideas.
>"A plea for the Protestant faith; or, an antidote
>against the infectious contagion of antichristian
>darkness; vended by Mr. Alexander Pirie ...in which
>the morality of national covenants is asserted ... /
>by a member of the Associate Session at
>published in Glasgow in 1771
Another statement encapsulating the meme about memes is "Ideas have a life
of their own." I have referred to this is "an age-old saying," but now
that I look around, it might not be. There are about a hundred places
where Google finds it on the web, and 65 on Google groups.
However, I could find no attributions or even dated sources, and it does
not show up in any of quotations sites I looked at. The first use on
Usenet is in 1992--leaving open the unsettling possibility that I coined
the phrase in the _Whole Earth Review_ version of my 1987 _Analog_
article. (Or that the editor slipped it in as part of a new third paragraph?)
It *sounds* like it should be an age-old saying.
A few years ago I was involved in tracking down the origin of the "Ancient
Chinese curse," "May you live in interesting times."
Dr. DeLong (a Professor at SUNY-Albany) did a huge detective job looking
for the origin of the saying after Chinese scholars said "It isn't
ours." Because I was aware of his search, I incidentally spotted what is
probably the origin of the saying (Eric Frank Russell, 1950) and sent it
off to him.
If anyone can locate a source for "Ideas have a life of their own" earlier
than 1987, I would sure appreciate hearing about it.
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