RE: What/who selects memes?

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Wed Oct 10 2001 - 17:26:01 BST

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    Subject: RE: What/who selects memes?
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    Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 18:26:01 +0200 (CEST)
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    > Sorry to butt in, but here's where you miss Derek's point
    > completely. The only demonstrably consistent feature of
    > "God is dead", are the words, and the letters they are composed of.
    > There is no identified physical structure that you can demonstrate
    > exists in my mind and yours that relates to this.
    > That we both use our brains to process that phrase is
    > certain, but when we're talking about memes, we're talking about
    > units of replication that should retain their form when being
    > transmitted (otherwise they don't replicate). There's no
    > evidence for a mechanism in the brain that does that, indeed
    > it's been well argued (by Derek in the journal) that
    > it is highly unlikely such a mechanism exists. All one is left with
    > that can retain its form, and can clearly be transmitted is the
    > artifact of the written phrase "God is dead".

    I guess I see what you mean Vincent. The meme manifests
    itself differently in each person that adopts it.
    The example, "God is dead" evokes different images in different
    people; also people may interpret the meme differently (depending
    on their prior memetic history or intelligence); the implications
    it stands for vary among people; the meme might bring back related
    memories also individually unique. So the representation of a
    meme is rather personal, extremely complex, intricate and therefore varies
    hopelessly to high extent among people. This makes identification of the
    meme virtually impossible on a neural level.

    However, I was wondering whether the artifact: in this case the
    written sentence `God is dead' really is the only entity that retains
    its form in transmission. When you pronounce the sentence in your head
    without actually saying it, isn't that also a robust representation of
    the meme. I mean, shouldn't this representation be more or less the same
    in each person that imaginatively pronounces it.


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