From: Dace (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat 18 Feb 2006 - 00:18:11 GMT
> From: Keith Henson <email@example.com>
> Subject: Re: Cartoon meme
> At 01:52 PM 2/12/2006 -0800, Ted wrote:
> >I see three memes here, none of which are the cartoons themselves. The
> >first meme is the idea that the cartoons are good, which exploits the
> >Western belief that Islam, all the way back to Muhammed, is inherently
> Given the history, there is a lot of support for this meme.
> >The second meme is the idea that the cartoons are bad, which
> >exploits the Islamic belief that Westerners disrespect Islam. This meme
> >also circulates in the West by exploiting our fear of retaliatory
> True and true.
> >The third meme is the idea that Muslims don't understand free speech,
> >exploits the Western belief in the superiority of our enlightened
> >Far from being memes, the cartoons are merely artifacts which, like cows
> >a tornado, have been picked up and tossed about in a memetic maelstrom.
> The cartoons are also memes. They are replicating information and are now
> elements of culture. But "so what?"
Granted, the cartoons themselves are memes. But these memes are different
from the others in that they have nothing to do with memory. That Islam is
inherently terroristic, that Western culture is more enlightened, that
Westerners disrespect Islam-- these memes are all products of culturally
shared habitual thinking. They are memes in the mnemonic sense, enduring on
the basis of habit. By contrast, what incites people to seek out and
discuss the cartoons is that they have a buzz. The cartoon memes carry a
charge both because they're current and they resonate with established
mnemes. We may also speak of a memetic field that embraces the individuals
under the influence of the cartoons and their associated mnemes. The more
people drawn into the field, the more powerful it becomes. But ultimately
the cartoons cease to be current, that is, the current is reduced and
eventually cuts out. At that point the memetic field dies, and the
associated mnemes return to their dormant state.
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)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat 18 Feb 2006 - 00:39:57 GMT