Field of Memes

From: Dace (
Date: Wed Nov 28 2001 - 03:31:10 GMT

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    Subject: Field of Memes
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    > As Ernst Mayr says of the meme:
    > (bq) "It seems to me that this word is nothing but an unnecessary synonym
    > of the term "concept"." (eq)

    A meme is a concept with its own motive power, an idea on wheels. In the
    context of mental self-existence, every idea is capable of taking on a life
    of its own. With the onset of human consciousness, life is remade into a
    kind of mental body-- a soul, so to speak. In the course of their
    interaction, these mental selves generate secondary mental creatures, all of
    them autonomous, all of them devoted to their own replication. The original
    child of consciousness is the tribe. Early humans identified not with
    themselves as individuals but with their group. The ego began collectively,
    and its collective influence remains powerful, as we saw in the tribalistic
    reaction of America to the terror struck against it. Language also began
    collectively, emerging not from one mind or another but from their
    intercourse. The departure from Africa set off gradual fragmentation into
    distinct languages, each one a child of the mother tongue, each with its own
    will to endure. The tribal ego began its decline three thousand years, most
    conspicuously in ancient Athens. Egos, languages, and all the institutions
    of human culture consist of self-perpetuating corpuscles of thought.
    Culture is nothing more than the field in which memes are the particles.


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