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> At 10:54 PM 8/9/2001 -0700, you wrote:
> >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.
> As I read this, you are stating:
> 1. if the brain is reducible to genes, then memes are a function of genes
> 2. if the brain is informed by the pre-existing brains (not only genes, I
> assume), then memes are 'patterns of neurotransmission (whatever that is)
> that follow habitually from previous and similar patterns.
> I'm wondering why the need for 'similar patterns' is inserted. Surely, if
> you make the distinction between genetically informed states and 'not'
> genetically informed, there must be a brain state 'informed' by such
> natural phenomena as light/dark, hot cold, positive charge/negative
> etc. Is a 'pattern of neurotransmission' a meme if a similar pattern is
> verified in another brain, and something else (enviro-eme) if not?
> I hold that genes and memes are differentiated by substrate, not
> 'functional role'.
The question is why some memes are so successful at colonizing brains
compared to other memes. What gives them their power? According to the
morphic model, the more often an organic structure is replicated the more
powerful its resonance becomes. If a whole lot of people think a particular
style of clothing is cool, then other people are liable to feel that way as
well. This would explain why some memes propagate so well regardless of any
factors that make them somehow more "fit." The terrain of human
consciousness is far different from the earth. In the real world you've got
to be smart and resilient to survive. In the human world, even pet rocks
are suitable for propagation if enough people think they're cool.
On the other hand, pet rocks didn't last very long, did they?
Btw, Sheldrake himself doesn't say much on memes except to point out that
they don't exist atomistically. Instead they're arranged in nested
hierarchies. So, for instance, the meme for a particular tune is nested
within the meme for the pop star who sings it, which is nested within the
meme for pop music in general. The meme for genetic determinism is nested
within the meme for deterministic thinking in general, which is nested
within the meme for nature-as-machine, which is nested within the meme for
anthropomorphosis. That is, we tend to project ourselves onto nature. In
modern times, this manifests in a projection of human technology onto
nature. The idea that nature has a machine-like predictability has served
to resurrect the ancient meme of "fate," which has since manifested in terms
Memes take on different guises over time in order to remain pleasing. In
early modern times, the preformationism meme took the form of the
homunculus, but as our understanding progressed, this meme had to transform
into "genetic blueprints" in order to survive. This is where pet rocks
I've never tried to apply the morphic model to memes before. This effort is
certainly better than the post I fired off last night under the heading
"morphic memes." Definitely a work in progress.
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