Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception

From: Pieter Bouwer (
Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 13:39:00 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception
    Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 15:39:00 +0200
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    Hi Ray

    May thanks for answering my questions. Your answers to
    questions 1 and 2 made the relationship between 'knowledge' and
    memes very clear. Please look further down for some elucidation
    of question 3.

    > Hi Pieter and welcome,
    > I will take a stab at your questions.
    > At 10:05 AM 1/10/2002 +0200, you wrote:
    > >I am new to this list and also, except for a few magazine
    > >articles over the last couple of years, a novice in the field
    > >memetics. My academic background, although somewhat
    > >covers subjects like Linguistics, Psychology and Education.
    > >
    > >It is possible that you have covered the following questions
    > >the past, in which case I shall appreciate it if you could
    > >me some guidance as to where I can delve in the archives:
    > >
    > >1. Does all knowledge consist of memes or memeplexes?
    > No. Knowledge is a meme only if it is acquired by
    transmission from
    > another organism. Learning about the environment through
    other means does
    > not create memes unless that learning is then transmitted.
    Some on this
    > list would argue that 'knowledge' should not be regarded as a
    meme at all
    > because of problems characterizing what an organism knows.
    For those who
    > follow this rule only 'behaviors' which are acquired from
    organisms are
    > memes. In either case though transmission would be required
    > >2. Are all memes received/perceived through sensory
    > >perception?
    > Yes. Since they have to be acquired from others. Some
    internal processes
    > will have to occur during the acquisition process and in fact
    it may be
    > some time after the perceptive event occurs that the meme is
    > acquired. So for example, someone may show you how to skate
    but you may
    > have to work at it for a while before you can duplicate their
    > >3. Is it also possible to acquire memes through
    > >where the knowledge is not the direct result of recent
    > >communication?
    > I think I have covered this in 1 and 2.

    Pieter again:

    I did not formulate question 3 properly. I am referring to a
    hypothetical case where somebody allegedly receives knowledge
    'intuitively'. The behaviour resulting from that experience
    looks like a meme, although there is no other organism involved
    in the transmission process. The following could serve as an
    example: Say for instance somebody is totally in the dark as to
    what he/she is to do with regard to the future. He/she goes to
    bed and on awakening the next morning says that he/she
    'intuitively' received an 'answer' during the night. This
    person then acts according to the 'message'. What he/she does
    is in all respects concurrent with something that looks like a
    meme, although there was no organism present in the transmission
    of the meme. One normally observe this kind of behaviour in
    people heavily influenced by religion and/or cult activities.
    It was not a dream, because in a dream there would have been a
    virtual organism communicating with the recipient. The client
    will normally say he/she intuitively 'knew' that it was the
    right thing to do.

    Can this be regarded as a meme? Please be patient with me. I
    am new in this field of study.

    Pieter Bouwer

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