RE: What/who selects memes?

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Fri Oct 05 2001 - 17:04:56 BST

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    Subject: RE: What/who selects memes?
    Date: Fri, 5 Oct 2001 17:04:56 +0100 
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            <We can't demonstrate memes in brains direclty because
    > we aren't that far in science yet. But every person can remember
    > memes and can find some of them conscious in his mind.>
            No, we can't find memes in brains because they aren't in brains.
    Remember the specific point is about memes as replicating entities, and as
    replicating entities memes need to retain their form in transmission. Yet,
    it seems quite reasonable to suggest that 'god is dead' sits in your mind in
    a completely different way to the way it does in my mind- which means that
    inside our heads there aren't replicating entities. That's the point.

            <Just because we haven't found out how things get saved in the mind
    > doesn't mean that they're not saved there. I mean yeah what is so
    > hard to understand? Can you remember your name, your language?
    > So is this not in your brain just because you can't show people where
    > in your brain it is exactly saved?>
            That we do not know exactly how long term memory works does not
    allow free reign to any idea under the sun. My name is not a meme, thoughts
    or piece of knowledges we may have are not memes. Memes are culturally
    transmitted- which means at least two people have to share something, and
    the only way to transmit something like the notion of 'god is dead' is
    through a medium, be it language, writing, art or whatever. The only way to
    track cultural transmission, therefore, is to look at those external aspects
    of culture, the artifacts.

            My name and language require no memes whatsoever, in some well
    established theories (e.g. Cavalli-Sforza's cultural traits idea) because my
    brain selected neither- my parents named me, and the country I grew up in
    determined the language I speak.

            <I've read a meme from you it was "Remembering", a book title. It's
    > some time ago. I'm able to write it down now because i remember it.
    > And i selected this meme because i wrote "Remembering" and not
    > "Green Orange is nice".>
            OK, now I don't want to be unfair in overusing this easily made
    error, but this is exactly what I mean. I didn't send the 'remembering'
    reference, I think Bill did. There you go- the way you remembered that
    piece of information was different to how it was transmitted, and how I
    remembered it. How then can it be the same thing existing in Bill's, yours
    and my brains? It can't be. And if memes are replicators, then it has to
    be the same in order to be a meme. The thing is we don't need to
    hypothesize a mechanism in the brain to allow memes to transmit, we already
    have numerous mechanisms for artifactual memes to transmit (again, language,
    writing, art etc. etc.).

            <So such a mechanism exists. One example which shows it is enough to

    > prove derek wrong! Atleast as long as you carry and believe the
    > "logic"-meme.>
          Also, again, not every piece of information is a meme, I think you've
    missed that point entirely, and in the example above, demonstrated the
    point I was making very clearly. I think you'd better read Derek's article
    before presuming to have argued it away with an error.

          Anyway, I'm off home for the weekend, so I'll be back on Monday. Have
    a good one everyone!


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