Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id WAA28499 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Wed, 3 Oct 2001 22:44:58 +0100 Message-ID: <001301c14c55$165fe900$bd12e4d5@necdirect> From: "Pascal Jouxtel" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> References: <E15oskF-00045Ofirstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: What/who selects memes? Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2001 23:48:06 +0200 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit X-Priority: 3 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2919.6600 X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.00.2919.6600 Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
HI Salice, Hi Richard, hi friends.
Just a quick word because it is late, here in Pontoise.
I thought of that while driving my car last year, spending a good 15 minutes
every day trying to find a place to park near the Trocadero.
I used to have a favorite circuit, approaching my office in a snail-shaped
trajectory, then driving in loops connected to a center like petals,
and while I was driving (repeatedly for about one year) I noticed that some
streets offered a better probability of finding a place to park, that others
were jammed and made me late, that others were dangerous or had red lights.
Patterns took shape within me, while I was listening to the radio, or
thinking about my work.
Some trajectories made me more angry than others. Apart from shere luck, I
had to pay a higher emotional price when I entered a street that was too
narrow, and - again - jammed by construction works in progress. I had
greater pleasure when I found a place quickly. The street that gave it to me
suddenly seemed paved in gold and gems ! And so I had my little circuit
This 'act' - me driving around for 15 minutes every morning - , according to
me is a memetic creature. It has a 'phenotype' (my trajectory) and a
'memotype' (a series of choices, or decisions, not necessarily very
I suppose it was the pleasure and emotion (positive or negative) that
provided the selection pressure. (Yes, I believe there is a selection,
because selection (the principle of choice) is not only necessary to
evolution, it is necessary to any form of reality. )
So I would like to point out (I think there is a chapter about this in The
Meme Machine) the interaction between meme selection and emotions, which
doesn't mean I am on the "genes-drive-memes side". On the contrary. I think
gene-driven mechanisms (e.g.emotions) provide a biotope for memetic
creatures (e.g. behaviours). A sort of landscape. Memetic forms evolve in a
ecology of bodies and emotions like animal forms evolve in an ecology of
stones and water.
A bientôt, mes amis. Pour les francophones, je suis en train de créer une
liste de discussion 'memetique' en langue Française. Mazette !
A bientot sur / see you soon on
Tell your friends / parlez-en à vos amis
----- Original Message -----
From: "salice" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2001 12:30 AM
Subject: Re: What/who selects memes?
> > What is this meme-handling stuff?
> > What happens in brains is colloquially called thinking, and by
> The brain does not only think consciously. You can observe your
> thoughts but it won't be everything that happens in your brain.
> A lot of behaviors get copied without consciously noticing them, as
> memes get copied in the same way. This is why i differentiate between
> thinking and "meme-handling". You can remember memes. You can
> remember certain sentences or you can consciously be aware of the
> fact that something someone said changed your thinking.
> At the same time there is just too much (meme)-input that the brain
> could handle it all consciously. And most people do these
> unconscious meme-handling without knowing what they really do.
> Dawkin put the example of one meme of a professer, who would look
> down and think 2 minutes before he'd answer. As he wrote he found
> this "funny". Why he found this funny he might not have consciously
> been aware of. But the fact is, that this meme-input made
> him smile or laugh, therefore something resulted from this meme in
> his brain making him laugh and remembering the meme.
> > But all these are behaviors. There were no recommendations about
> Your behavior can change other's people thinking. Therefore it was an
> recommendation about selecting memes (why do you think it was posted
> on a memetics mailing list?) and showing certain behaviors therefore
> influencing other peoples thinking.
> > >> But Stone Age people _didn't know_, that's the whole point.
> > >Sure they knew, they wouldn't have survived otherwise.
> > >Some might died, but others learned from them who died, they received
> > this meme and survived because of it.
> > No, how can you say that they knew what was going on?
> Even if they didn't know that doesn't explain anything either for
> your or for my view.
> Nevertheless, if they were able to handle memes, to copy behavior,
> those who would copy the behavior of the person who died after
> eating certain food would probably have died too. Those who copied
> the right behavior, -not- to eat those things survived. So those
> survived who copied the right behavior, those who selected the right
> > >wouldn't let this meme survive and spread. Obvious.
> > No, not obvious. It wouldn't depend on whether or not
> > they realized that drinking petrol was harmful.
> > They would die just the same. The meme would become extinct even
> >without any knowledge of the >
> So every meme and behavior gets copied automatically?
> So why don't you buy a gun and shoot people? You surely saw it on TV.
> So what let's you not copy this?
> Looking at the petroleum-example:
> Let's assume i travel back in time, somewhere where language was
> invented but petroleum and it's effect weren't known.
> Now, i would tell these people back then "Drinking petroleum is good"
> and i would drink some liters right after. People could see how i
> painfully die. If my meme would spread it would only be in the sense
> of "what is not right", if at all.
> > Well, if it's in the brain, maybe you can show me how
> > I would identify it in a brain?
> Okay. Here's a meme for you: "God is dead."
> Read it? Look at it again. Got it? Now look away and try to remember
> it... Still there? Fine.
> >You can only point to memes as artefacts and behaviors.
> Memes in artefacts and behaviors are a result of thinking just the
> same way that thinking can be a result of artefacts or behaviors.
> >No, I merely found the argument too unconvincing to merit a
> >response. You are positing 'storage' and 'handling' capabilities for
> >which there is no precedent in neurobiology. If you are going to
> >play the 'memes are in the head' card, you have to be able to be
> >more specific.
> I can't give you a more specific description, it is to be questioned
> whether this is really possible anyway. My point is that is has to
> happen in the brain because it can't happen anywhere else. How it
> exactly happens is a different key.
> Anyways, there is so much evidence in reality that it can't be
> overlooked. People select memes all the time.
> Some publisher gets a book by a new author and decides to publish it.
> You go to a bookstore and decide to buy a certain book.
> You express your ideas in your mails, not mine.
> Hitler said: "Kill the Jews", some agreed, some did not.
> A professor looks down and thinks for 2 minutes before he answers,
> someone might find this funny and copies it, most don't.
> Some people want to imitate their star and start smoking, others not.
> And so on and on and on.
> If you have a different theory how memes get selected then do what
> you ask of me: give a detailed description of this process. Where it
> happens, how it happens. You won't even get close to my level of
> You can't explain everything in detail. You have to get step by step
> to knowledge. Darwin didn't know about dna but he observed nature and
> based his theory on this observations. Later on this theory was
> grounded when dna was discovered.
> Your theory like my theory lacks detailed description of how
> memes get selected but i think my theory is based on observation
> while your theory is not really based on anything which could explain
> real-life situations.
> 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)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
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)
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