Re: Definition, Please

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Tue Nov 27 2001 - 04:09:06 GMT

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    > Re: Definition, PleaseDate: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 23:17:18 -0500
    > "Wade T.Smith" <> "Memetics Discussion List" <>Reply-To:
    >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
    My view is option #2; that memes possess a lifecycle that includes both internal and external components (L-meme + G-meme); they mutate, or not (are stored) mainly within people - and in things like books and databases, which are external memory and copmmunication aids, are propagated between people and are selected for or against within other people.
    >- Wade
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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