"Ideas have a life of their own" (Origin of Quote?)

From: Keith Henson (hkhenson@rogers.com)
Date: Mon 01 Mar 2004 - 13:48:42 GMT

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    I have been trying to locate the (or at least *an*) origin for "ideas have a life of their own," a statement that encapsulated memetics if you take it literally. So far I have pushed it back with reasonable assurance to 1958. (See thread in alt.quotations)

    In the course of researching the origin of this quote I came upon some items worth sharing.


          "Rob Stocker, a lecturer and PhD student from Charles Sturt University in NSW, will simulate the effect media organisations have on public opinion in a series of computational runs. The complex relationships between people and the media they consume has been reduced to a series of assumptions and fed into an algorithm that he hopes will shed light on the reasons why the public chooses certain opinions. The interaction of even simple rules can deliver complex behaviours with many permutations that feed off each other, requiring computational power to simulate.


          "It is also possible that sim members of the network may themselves greatly influence others in their social circle. An example is the spread of urban myths or legends. This "thought contagion" or "mimetics", which suggests ideas have a life of their own and can become epidemic, is an area for future research, Stocker says."

    Keith Henson

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