Re: A Question for Wade

Date: Sun Nov 25 2001 - 22:05:03 GMT

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    > What are memes than from your point of view !?

    I'd say they are basically means of transmission.

    > It confuses me a little bit, to read that memes can transfer ideas etc.
    > Out of what consist than those ideas, if I follow the applied logic, if
    > they are not memes !?

    Let's compare it to genes/alleles. There are genes which include the
    information for an human leg for instance. But the gene itself is not a leg. The leg
    is constructed out of the genes.

    > Do you see memes as only those entities which transfer ideas, etc and not
    > so mush as the tranferred information !? Or do I miss something !?

    Memes only become visible in the mind. When we receive a meme it can not
    only result that we remember exactly this meme but more likely that an
    idea-complex pops up in our head. This resulting thinking-complex can be considered as
    an idea, the meme serves as a transmitter between two thinking-complexes.
    The resulting idea in the head is not a direct result of the particular meme
    but our mind uses it to build up something more complex. And this usage of
    memes varies between people.

    Let's compare this again to the dna-world. Genes for themselves are useless.
    They stand for nothing when they're not used to build something more complex
    out of them again, and this usage happens according to body functions which
    strangely themselves were build up by genes.

    Further I wouldn't agree to the cultural artefact theory because it's too
    limited and at the same time including too much. When i copy the behavior of
    one of my friends it also happens through the use of memes but i don't think
    that my friend's behavior is considered to be an cultural artefact. If i would
    formulate that simple behavior and write it down in a book and publish it and
    let's say i would even become famous with it, it would certainly become a
    meme? No, it already was a meme at the simple behavior-copy level between two

    From the other side, imagine giving a 3,5" hd disk to a native tribe on some
    Would they discover the same memes in/on that disk as we could do? One could
    still argue that the memes are still in there because WE can find them. But
    this is actually the point. We are the ones who make something become a meme.
    To find a meme in the outside world, in the sensual information we receive
    the physical reality of an object has to resemble something in our
    mind-structure. In this way it's not even important whether this information is human
    made. Even space-noise or the look of stars in a clear night includes memes,
    because our minds are cabable to find them in there. Take astrology for an

    So concluding from all this a meme is basically an incoming information
    which we identifiy as something relating to a part of our mind structure. It can
    change or add to our mind-structure, whether it is that we can remember
    exactly this meme or whether it even builds up a more complex structure or changes
    an existing one.

    Memes can be used to transfer ideas from one mind to another, we can use
    them as a tool.
    When i write a word here i change the physical reality of something in the
    random access memory of my computer, when i will send the mail i change the
    physical reality of the cables were it goes through for a few nanoseconds.
    Finally the physical reality of your screen changes, you can identify the
    physical structure on your screen as a word i have written. So i used the physical
    world, i changed a part of it, structured it into something which i can
    recognize as a meme and which i consider to be recognizable as a meme to you

    In this way we both utilize the outside physical world for our
    information-transmission purposes. What actually is the meme is the physical structure
    pattern which in an abstracted form we both can recognize as an information
    which resembles a part of our mind-structure.

    Our usage of memes is in that way a special case. We can also identify memes
    when we look at the stars and find structures in them for instance. We can
    copy this abstract structure or build up ideas like astrology from it. It's
    the same concept just that that there is only a receiver and no sender.

    So the concept is quite elementary. I'd say for meme-theory it would be
    better to just consider the sender->receiver special case anyway.

    GMX - Die Kommunikationsplattform im Internet.

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