Re: From the Moderator of the memetics list: Warning about relevance!

From: Keo Ormsby (
Date: Thu 02 Dec 2004 - 16:34:13 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Remarkable,after the Flash Mobs, now power to the Disobbedienti !!"

    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Keith Henson" <>

    > At 11:56 AM 01/12/04 +0000, you wrote:
    > >Dear memetics discussants,
    > >
    > >Please can I remind you that this list is for the discussion
    of matters
    > >relating to memes and memetics. Where this degenerates into
    > >about politics (USA, Cuba, Israel, Animal rights etc.) this
    should be
    > >carried on OFF this list (i.e. privately or via another
    > >
    > >Individuals who ignore this will eventually (after warnings,
    pleas etc.)
    > >be ejected form the list. If there is a widespread
    irrelevance the list
    > >will be closed. You have been warned.
    > >
    > >As they say: we thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
    > Have I been missing a lot of postings? The previous post was
    over two
    > weeks ago.
    > As for the above topics, I do think people should be more
    specific about
    > tying such topics back into memetics and evolutionary
    psychology. EP seems
    > to me to be the lower strata that memetics rests on.
    > Why for example do animal rights memes spread in populations?
    > obviously don't spread in *all* populations and didn't at all
    until recent
    > historical times so what are the differences? And how does the
    > differential spread of animal rights memes relate to the
    substrate of
    > evolved human brains? It is almost certainly a side effect of
    > else since animal rights memes would be rather counter survival
    to hunter
    > gatherers, but a side effect of what?
    > I have some ideas along this line. Anyone else?
    > Keith Henson
    > PS. Politics is even more related. If the psychological
    forces spreading
    > memes inside the US and Iraq were understood at least we might
    be able to
    > suggest something useful.

    Perhaps we could analyze the memetic relevance of this whole situation. The list is a meme space where competition and selection is taking place, and the more successful memes get replicated and thrive in threads. Now this particular list has the following selective pressures: All of the replicating agents
    (us) have an interest in memetics, so memes in posts with memetic topics will have a better chance of generating a thread; and also there is an imposed constraint that the posts should talk about memetics, if not the replicating agent is eliminated. This sort of guarantees that memetics stays as the main topic of posts. However we, the replicating agents, are also interested in many other subjects in common, such as politics. So when another topic pops up, there is a certain chance that it can catch on, which happens sometimes.

    So in my view, what we are seeing here is a case of memetic engineering vs. memetic evolution. On the one hand, the list is trying to evolve by incorporating successful memes, whatever their topic, and on the other we (acting now as engineers, and not as replicating agents) are trying to keep it on a certain course lest it loose its purpose, namely to discuss memetics.

    I will not get into if Bruce Edmonds' comments were warranted or not in this particular instance, but we should all be aware that letting evolution do its stuff yields fascinating and marvelous new organisms (or memeplexes), but that the result is utterly unpredictable. If we have a certain purpose for our creation, it will be inevitable that once in a while we will have to roll up our sleeves and mess consciously with the course that it is taking.

    Keo Ormsby

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu 02 Dec 2004 - 16:47:30 GMT