Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id GAA16013 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Sat, 11 Aug 2001 06:48:21 +0100 Message-ID: <004b01c12228$fbb58ca0$9e24f4d8@teddace> From: "Dace" <email@example.com> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> References: <F823MI9VsZDgw0V8Lr200003a59@hotmail.com> Subject: Re: Morphic memes Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 22:46:27 -0700 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.50.4133.2400 X-MIMEOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.50.4133.2400 Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Scott Chase
> >When he first coined the term, Dawkins located "memes" in the brain. If
> >brain is reducible to genes, then memes are functions of genes. But if
> >brain is informed by past, similar brains, then memes are patterns of
> >neurotransmission that follow habitually from previous, similar patterns.
> Well, if there is a social heredity or means of cultural transmission,
> whether Dawkinsian memes or the noogenetic/noetic patterns of Julian
> (somewhat following in the footsteps of Teilhard), the brain could be
> informed by past "similar" brains without the spooky MR principle. This
> means of social heredity need not be tightly leashed by genes either.
This doesn't tell us anything about memes, which are units of culture that
propagate under their own power. Yes, phrases, ideas, and tunes are
transmitted through the usual cultural channels. But what is it that makes
one tune "catchy" while another is dead on arrival? I'm suggesting that the
terrain of competition between tunes is in their degree of resonance with
our pre-existent musical sensibilities. Ideas propagate under their own
power to the extent that they appeal to our intellectual orientations.
Tunes and ideas are manifest in the brain in terms of arrays of
neurotransmission. I'm assuming that whatever we think is in some sense a
neurological event. So the resonance of memes with pre-existent biases
plays out synaptically. Genes are involved in this process only to the
extent that they predispose us to one kind of music, for instance, over
another, such as classical over pop or vice versa.
It all depends on whether memory is defined morphically as the resonance of
current structures with past structures or materially as the storage of
information. If it's the former, then brains are built through resonance
with previous brains. If it's the latter, then brains, despite encoding
personal memories, are themselves expressions of genetic memory. So memes
are reducible either to resonance or genes. There's no in-between.
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 2b29 : Sat Aug 11 2001 - 06:52:37 BST