Re: Definition, Please

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Sat Nov 24 2001 - 01:58:37 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Definition, Please
    Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001 20:58:37 -0500
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    Hi Philip A.E. Jonkers -

    >> >anything verbal is memetic by definition
    >> And so is that can of worms.
    >That's another meme I don't know. Enlighten me please...

    Well, making memetics so overarching that all of language and all of
    technology fall under its spell, is, well, problematic, inasmuch as it's
    very hard to describe the universe in a few words, pages, models, or
    institutions. Or a fishbowl.

    "Opening a can of worms" is the phrase I allude to, much like Pandora's
    box, since inside that can is a seething mass of -

    5. An insidiously tormenting or devouring force.

    - and, once out, practically impossible to recan.

    But, again, calling all the processes of culture a memetic process is
    also difficult if we see so much of those processes in patterns of normal
    behaviors among such species as birds and termites and chimpanzees. It
    seems simpler, in the Occamistic sense, to cover such things simply with
    behavior- cultural behavior being a complex subset of developmentally
    formative genetics.

    All of which means, I suppose, that after a long time looking at each and
    every side, I'm coming down on the socio-biologic. It describes the best
    model of fishbowl that fits the observations.

    So, I'm also coming down on the side that declares that 'meme' is only a
    handy word to describe a cultural artifact, and that any claim that such
    an entity resides in any way within a mind is evidenceless prattle.

    - Wade

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