Re: A review of "The Selfish Meme"

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Sun 29 May 2005 - 19:33:05 GMT

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    ----- Original Message ----- From: Ray Recchia <>
    > Abstract ideas and abstractions in general are the central focus of
    > Distin's book. Distin refers to them as
    > "meta-representations". "Representations", according to Distin are our
    > mental concepts of specific items. So for example, I might have
    > representation of a a stick. A meta-representation is an awareness of a
    > property about the stick that can be applied to a variety of situations
    > sticks. So for example, recognizing that the stick can be used as a
    > lever, and that levers can be used in a variety of situations. Another
    > example of a meta-representation might be the notion of "color" or
    > "quantity", specific abstracted qualities of the stick or sticks that can
    > be applied to any number of different objects.

    Welcome back !

    Ray, you can also say that you have literally ' objectified ', although a stick is an object _ we forget so easily that the name we gave to that wooden object is an agreed upon sign for a whole set of complex meanings/ experiences/ expectations/ etc.

    The mental representation, what is a foggy element, is an ' objectified picture ' of what the stick is all about, can mean, represent, what kind of experience we can drag out of it. Even the colours of it are in principle objectified elements_ the stick must be brown or black or anyway show / represent the strenght/ intelligence/ competence of the holder. If it were pink and flossy we would consider it as being a childsplay, or of plastic, not real, not competitive.

    Memes, than, can we say that they are ' objectivations ' of what they stand for !? Highly speculative, I know, but if Kate is right, a repre- sentation of a stick in our mind is just an illusive proces, an objecti- vation would give it ' substance ', we should could ' feel ' the stick, have a ' hold '... Smail on pg 84, ' Like some critics of our modern society already have noted, the therminology of the objectivity forces us to see our- selves as butts or owners of objectified forces [ memes !?] which lead a life on their own within oursleves '. The concept of Speech Acts ( Austin) springs to mind, even Smiths Performance scheme looks around the corner.

    Representation or objectivation all boils down to words, VERBS, and their over time changed conception, if you can 't do something equals nowadays of you having a problem; wanting something becomes having a need; working the stick is having strenght, being the man, show competence. What is ever said in our daily social intercourse is never the truth, but an objectified ( represented ?) charateristic of something ' real '. Memes propagate thus then by how hard/ how fidel they can objectify of what they stand for.



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