Re: Definition, Please

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 04:17:18 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Definition, Please
    Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 23:17:18 -0500
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    From: "Wade T.Smith" <>
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    Hi Philip A.E. Jonkers -

    >Anyway, I'm dwelling, it doesn't mean that the
    >theory is basically wrong or not fruitful.

    Nor do I think so. Parsing the trail of a meme seems to me to be highly
    wonderful. Introducing the cultural quanta of a meme itself is
    delightful. It's just where we put it that's up in the air.

    >It seems that
    >you have little faith in the prospect of memetics being able to explain all
    >the diversity of our culture. What propels you to proclaim such a
    >heretic vision?

    I have little faith (well, I'm not a faithful person at all, ever) in
    anything other than sociobiology to do so, especially when the definition
    of the word culture itself is a filthy mess. It was very nice, indeed, to
    have a quantum of culture, to call it a meme, and then to march on, until
    I came up against the fog created by the absence of a solid definition of

    So, I give to biology all that might be biology's- birdsong and spider's
    webs and termite mounds and even language, maybe. But, since we have
    artifacts, made only by humans, before us, then those are special things,
    deserving of special names. (Hey, unless they're not- unless it's all an
    illusion, culture, human uniqueness, artifacts- it may be that that shiny
    new Lexus in your garage is just the new mutant aphid of your symbiotic
    colony, and all your behaviors to purchase it just the call of the
    queen's chemtrails.)

    Coming down on the side of artifact memes (and artifact memes only),
    don't seem to me to be heretical at all- in fact, I'm pretty sure it's
    one of only three choices that are available- either memes are inside, or
    outside, or some combination of the two. After wrestling with various
    explanations of all three, and then wrestling with the way they interact
    with other models of life, the universe, and everything, I cut out the
    crap with Occam's razor, and I was left with choice number one- memes are
    outside and artifactual, period. What's inside is something else. Human
    evolution requires sexual reproduction, and the only way memetic
    evolution could happen would require a sexual component as well.

    And, so far, sex is physical. And so far, memes are physical. Interior
    sex is, well, impossible. Lust as much as you want in your heart, but, it
    won't make a child.

    That ain't saying that memetic processes don't _involve_ what happens in
    the mind, since, sure, putting one foot before the other is still a
    brain/body process, but, I don't see any need to put a meme in there,

    And, well, I was just getting more and more confused whenever I tried to
    put any there. Right now, keeping them artifactual is enlightening to me.
    Perhaps someone will kick me into internal memes, but, it seems like a
    hard push to shove, and I don't see any science about to do it, and I
    like science.

    But there ain't nothing so ridiculous that some _philosopher_ won't say

    - Wade

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