Re: Thesis: Memes are DNA-Slaves

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Mon Oct 08 2001 - 18:17:58 BST

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    Subject: Re: Thesis: Memes are DNA-Slaves
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    The first mail from Cali, guys, I moved to Berkeley to start
    working as a research scholar in the field of Neuroscience

    > > > The question is, what makes a meme become successful?
    > > Now that's fairly easy to answer: Blackmore and Dawkins
    > > identified three criteria to characterize the success of a meme:
    > > 1. copying-fidelity, memes should resist mutation to high
    > > extent in order to maintain their character after many
    > > copies are made of it. NB: fidelity, should not be infinite,
    > > that is the meme must be open to some small mutability
    > > potential, if not absence of variation prohibits evolution
    > > of the meme.
    > This is not enough. These simple rules don't explain why certain
    > memes were succesful in history but aren't still.

    Okay, I see what you mean Salice. Indeed, these three criteria
    are more like quantifiers of success; they do not explain *why*
    a given meme is more successful than another, they offer a
    means to determine the successfulness of a meme. The reason why one
    meme more successful is than the other is, within the Cultural
    fitness context I like to use, that the more successful meme
    stands to transfer more cultural fitness to its host than the other
    less successful one. Whether the offered actual fitness increment
    is genuine, remains to be seen as sham memes have become really
    apt (evolutionary-wise) in finding ways to falsely keep up an
    identity of true fitness.

    The WTC sets a good example of
    a genuine meme transferring a high fitness increment
    through sensation, but moreover through the far reaching
    implications it stands for.

    > Or why memes become succesful today. Did the images of the collapsing
    > WTC-towers became succesful just because they had copying fidelity?
    > No. They spread so wide because people considered these memes to be
    > important. People let these memes spread not these made up rules.
    > If Dawkin or Blackmore have achieved anything with these rules it's
    > that people MIGHT change their decision on which memes to let survive
    > and spread.. They don't have enough influence to let this
    > happen on a large scale tho.
    > > 2. fecundity, the meme ideally must spread like wild-fire.
    > > The more copies the merrier.
    > Yes but what let's it spread and survive?

    The persuasive impact on people, now that's the key factor I contend...
    The higher the persuasive potential the higher the success-rate of the
    meme under question.
    > > 3. longevity, the longer the meme is present in a brain
    > > the higher the expectation frequency is of copying the meme
    > > to other brains.
    > I thought your point was that memes are not in the brain?

    Woahhh.. hold your horses right here Salice, it was me, me, me who
    championed the view-point that memes are processed in the brain!!!

    Greetings to you all from Berkeley University Library,


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