Re: new review of memetics/sociobiology/EP

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Thu 09 Feb 2006 - 20:46:20 GMT

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    ----- Original Message ----- From: Kate Distin <>

    we should look first
    > at the nature of memes. Since they are not permanently attached to
    > individuals it would seem that it makes no sense to study them in the
    > same way that we would study genes. The reason why we study genes in the
    > way that we do is that they *are* tied down in individuals. But since
    > memes aren't, we need to widen the scope of our study and include all
    > the places that they are to be found - which will include books, etc.
    > And of course because the memetic picture shifts so much more quickly
    > than (on the whole) the genetic picture does, it will be harder to take
    > an accurate snapshot - and maybe this means that the whole concept of
    > frequencies in populations is too static as a means of studying memes,
    > and we need to find something more dynamic?

    << This is a flick of the wrist I like....

    I do think memes are yes indeed permanantly attached to individuals, although at their bias they seem to have sprung at the individual/ general/ common level.

    But as each individual is unique and thus also his genetic / memetic built up, we can pre- suppose that his memes_ the ones he holds within; the ones he sees and puts and retracts into/ from artefacts are unique in nature bases along the lineages of his unique neurobiological network. That we hold memes within that we all share is right, but how we deal with them; how we express certain ideas; in what way certain concepts can/ will work for us, or against us, is for each of us different.

    Heideggers Dasein springs to mind_ the creature or being or entity that has a pre- conceptual idea about what is ' TO BE ' and just because the entity who asks the question is unique, the answers must be too. But like the Dasein, our memes too are ' temporary ', they shift along the environments wherein they are getting expressed, the manner of expression and along the (size of) context.

    Of course, the questions remains of whereby there is a reality which isn 't so independable of the Dasein !? Thus, of there are memes which are more or less NOT dependent of a recipient, communicator or performer. The term ' memes ' holds within the knowledge that there is a relationship
    ( the knowing) between on the hand a/ the connoisseur/ judge/ scholar and an object or a serie of objects ( what is known) on the other hand.

    Take the connoisseur/ the communicator. What or who is that !? Is that a pure subject that completely is emerged into the unbiased, theoretical knowledge of his ' subjectmaterial ', or is he an interested human being who is to be found in a certain place on a certain moment of ( the) time and who has with respect to the other things than just the objects of his knowledge !? And I do think that is the case !

    If we want to study memes and we need something dynamic to come to an acceptable snapshot of what might be living/ exist within a culture we take the individual as the bias for our inquiry ! We have the tendency to talk about (the) knowing as it were something uniform, like that elektrons can be knwon in the same manner as histo- rical facts.

    If you want to know something about certain artefacts/ entities it is best to realise that the knowledge is highly dependent of the nature or the being of these artefacts/ entities, but also that any communicator projects his own personal viewpoint upon these entities....and thus is any discours, ant comminication, any context, any highly personal, individualistic one and thus permanently attached to the one who pronounced it, painted it, expressed it, sculptured it, wrote it, read it,.......

    Heidegger says, " we are just one of the many ' Be's', but we are Dasein ! We are at all times in charge driven by our personal, oh so individual and thus, yes, selfish memes ! Our personal ideas/ convictions ' work ' together, only when ' they ' need to occupy more space, when ' they ' need to expand their environment, they are ' altruistic ' only when it is convenient to be so, they only supply the needed reforces to let survive their host in such a manner that he can/ will reproduce the necessary memes so that the strongest can and will survive. At the highest level of " survival techniques by memes" stand the individual way, only when it is necessary and needed they will come together and work together, otherwise, only the lonesome....and those memes stand permanently by us, because they ( the memes) need this state to augmount our survival.



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