RE: A Test

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Oct 08 2001 - 12:47:16 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: A Test
    Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 12:47:16 +0100 
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            Hi Salice,

            I wiil offer some responses to this one.

            <My sentences were reproducible, that's why they are memes.
    > And that's what meme-theory is based on. That's all.>
            Reproduction is not what meme theory is based on.
    > > <"Commit suicide now." might be an instruction/suggestion but it is
    > > > people do something. It is the persons brain which decides which
    > > > memes to believe in, which to follow, which to let survive.>
    > > No it doesn't because it's not a meme.
            <Okay, so you think that "Commit suicide now." is not a meme?
    > Ever heard about mass-suicide in sects? What if not this meme shared
    > the members of the sect the moment they commit suicide?
    > You think they all came randomly to the decision to commit suicide
    > at the same time at the same place, ALL people at this place ?>
            Wait a minute, wait a minute. Again your sentence_in and of
    itself_is not a meme. As to cult suicides read my earlier posts on this
    list, where we've discussed suicidal cults loads of times before. What
    matters is context. You posting that sentence on this list doesn't have the
    same potential impact that David Koresh writing it for his Davidian
    followers when the FBI/ATF are outside the door.

    > >> > replicate and transmit. Your words. My point.>
    >> No people decide, or inadvertently transmit things to other
    >> all the time- just like our conversation.


            But transmitting things, is not transmitting memes. E.G. body
    language conveys information but it is not intended to be copied/imitated.

    >> They only become memes if a
    >> person who has been transmitted to, decides, or inadvertently
    passes it on
    >> to someone else. (e.g. "I heard this really bad joke the other

            <After this view a meme would require three persons. I write
    > to you, you have to read it and tell it someone else so that it
    > becomes a meme?
    > I think you can see that this is not true.>
            Why isn't this true? In order for it to be a meme, it has to be
    cultural, in order for it to be cultural, it has to pass from at least one
    person to another. Indeed, to be sure, that second person should pass it on
    as well. Isn't it interesting that when most people talk about a culture,
    they're talking about something that involves entire communities or

    >> No they store specifi pieces of information
    >> (obviously there are general areas of the brain for certain kinds
    of brain
    >> function), hence the idea of replication brain patterns (which
    memes in
    >> minds must be if that idea were true) must be false.

            <I also agree that brain patterns don't get replicated. (Atleast in
    > most cases!)>
            Which is, IMHO, why memes in minds doesn't work, if memes are
    supposed to be replicators. And that's my point.

            <How do you want to know how information is stored in the brain?>

            I'm sorry I don't understand the grammar of that question. What are
    you asking ?
    > > That's the point- the meme is the sentence itself, once someone
    > > reproduces it.
            <The sentence is already a meme before someone reproduces it,
    > it CAN be reproduced.>
            I disagree here. Every thought we have is not a meme regardless of
    whether we tell anyone else about it. A meme is something that has been
    communicated, transmitted to others, and persists.

    >> You're missing the emergent properties that we're actually
    considering when
    >> talking about cultural transmission.

            <You're talking big words about 'cultural transmission' but you
    > describe how it exactly happens, outside the brain as you think.>
            Nobody can describe exactly how it happens, whether that be in terms
    of the artefact meme people, like me, OR the internal memeticists. Nobody's
    got that far yet. The artefact approach at least has something tangible to
    study- the artifacts themselves.

            <Selection of memes is an important concept of meme-theory, so
    > at the brain when it does select memes sure applies to memetics.
    > Neuroscience can sure help, but i guess most neuroscientist haven't
    > heard about memes yet. Or are there any works on "Memes and
    > Neuroscience"? According to your and dereks point something like this
    > could not even exist.>
            Well, I'll leave that one to the people on the list who do work in
    this, or related areas.



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