Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id FAA01808 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Tue, 8 Jan 2002 05:51:22 GMT X-Authentication-Warning: cheetah.nor.com.au: Host [18.104.22.168] claimed to be nor.com.au Message-ID: <3C3A8C01.FAD4E00D@nor.com.au> Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2002 17:04:49 +1100 From: Jeremy Bradley <firstname.lastname@example.org> X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.08 [en] (Win95; I) To: email@example.com Subject: Wade's hammer References: <200201071358.g07Dw5S25454@sherri.harvard.edu> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
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
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
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