Re: Sticky Memes

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Tue 24 Jan 2006 - 16:07:26 GMT

  • Next message: Kate Distin: "Re: Sticky Memes"


    > As a slight aside, this is one of the key reasons why I don't go for the
    > mind-as-a-memeplex view. Philosophers talk about "propositional
    > attitudes" - i.e. the fact that we can take a variety of different
    > attitudes to any given proposition: we can wish/fear/believe/disbelieve
    > that "it's going to rain today" or "the earth is flat" or whatever. We
    > respond to incoming memes - we are not identical with them.

    This is not incompatible, in fact the memes-only thing provides the most compact explanation. The diversity of responses is purely a result of the diversity of memes in there, and the difference between awareness and acceptance relates to previous discussions about having the 'same' idea.

    To properly internalise an idea requires that it becomes integrated into the (memetic) ecological web: Imagine a predator that came across to an island in sufficient numbers to be able to breed (i.e. not a fleeting thing); firstly, would it find food, would it be outcompeted? Secondly, assuming it took or created a niche (acceptance), then went locally extinct, would something else fill that niche? These ideas are analogous to the meme-based model of acceptance.

    The fundamental issue though is as I said related to having the same idea; when we observe a meme we do not 'import' it in _any_ sense, we simply model it with our own resident memes in a kind of phenotypic mimicry (cf. previous post talking about inheritance of emotional linkage if you want to examine this further -- try to think of new-to-you ideas that nevertheless seem to have inappropriate emotional resonance). So acceptance is impacted by the similarity of things that are already there, the compatibility with things that are alredy there, and by the facility with which an appropriate model can be constructed.

    I know that was all a bit obtuse but I don't have time to draft it up properly and for me all this is still part-formed, as the bio analogies can only stretch so far.


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