RE: To Robin, Applied Memetics

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue 02 Aug 2005 - 03:56:17 GMT

  • Next message: Price, Ilfryn: "RE: To Robin, Applied Memetics"

    At 05:12 PM 01/08/05 -0400, Lawry de Bivort wrote:
    >Greetings everyone,
    >Keith, I would suggest a slight modification to your: "the only time an idea
    >is not a meme is if someone thinks of it and never shares the idea with
    >anyone", to "the only time an idea is not a meme is if someone thinks of it
    >and never shares the idea with anyone, OR, if the originator shares it with
    >another, but the other does not accept it and in turn pass it on."
    >In other words, a meme is self-disseminating (through the medium of people);
    >if it fails to disseminate, through spoken by its originator, it does not
    >qualify as a meme.

    That's kind of a fine point. Is it a meme if the second person accepts it but dies before passing it on?

    But either way, the point is that if you are using the word "meme" instead of using the word "idea," you are concerned about spread or replication of an idea. In that case the idea under discussion is almost always a meme.

    Memetics is concerned with spreading, replicating much like epidemiology. Is it an epidemic if one person catches SARS from another?

    Of course this is hair splitting like the fact that any idea that can be conveyed to another person is a potential meme.

    I don't mind your modification. Either way it shows the essential different uses of words that differ only a little.

    And people who grasp the meme concept would understand it either way.

    Keith Henson

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