Wade's hammer

From: Jeremy Bradley (jeremyb@nor.com.au)
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 06:04:49 GMT

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    Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2002 17:04:49 +1100
    From: Jeremy Bradley <jeremyb@nor.com.au>
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    Subject: Wade's hammer
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    Wade T. Smith wrote:

    > On 01/06/02 21:33, Grant Callaghan said this-
    > > A hammer is, after
    > >all, more useful to a carpenter than it is to a mathematician.

    > Wade replied-

    > Unless the mathematician wants to do some carpentry. Tools are useful for
    > tasks, not people. I use 'meme' a lot, when it's useful, and it's only
    > been useful in casual, general, discussions about culture. Once we
    > actually have a nail to hit, I try to grab one, and come up empty-handed.
    > - Wade

    Hi all
    When Dawkins coined the term 'meme' he saw it as a code, or strand of
    cultural information, that exists at the fundamental levels of sense-making.
    It is my understanding, as a narratoligist, that a meme exists in a human
    culture in much the same way that a gene exists in a biological organism. It
    may not be used for hitting anything (or anyone) on the head.
    Let me put it this way, all manifestations of a culture are cultural
    artifacts, and, as such, must have an identifying 'code' by which they are
    recognizable as valid within that culture. If an artifact intrudes into a
    human culture which does not have the code of that culture, it is rejected
    from the cultural body in the same way that a horse's kidney would be
    rejected from mine.
    I do not see, and I think that Aaron has also shifted position on this in the
    last few years, that a meme is merely a contagious thought. Thought contagion
    is more like a virus which can enter the body of culture and establish itself
    by the use of one or more strategies.
    In my work I look at the codes which underlie cultural narratives. This study
    examines things like the relationship between: the immortality of the
    biblical god, the ages of the patriarchs, the happily-ever-after ending of
    Western fairy-tales, and our increasing expenditure on anti-aging research at
    a genetic level.
    As a 'tool', as I have intimated before, memetics may be used to expose false
    doctrines (viruses) which have been inserted into our cultural thoughtscape
    by those with vested interests in cultural supremacy (such as colonizers of
    the territory, spirituality or finances of 'Others'). Even such notions as
    'Might-is-Right', obviously incorrect, is not then a meme but a 'virus'.
    However it is supported at a memetic level in Western culture. What I do is
    use memetics as a 'tool' to find evidence for cultural manipulation in our

    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)
    see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit

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