Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 20:38:23 GMT

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    Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 15:38:23 -0500
    From: "Philip Jonkers" <>
    Subject: Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception
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    --- Original Message ---
    From: "Pieter Bouwer" <>
    To: "Memetics Discussion List" <>
    Subject: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception

    >I am new to this list and also, except for a few
    >articles over the last couple of years, a novice in
    the field of
    >memetics. My academic background, although somewhat
    >covers subjects like Linguistics, Psychology and
    >It is possible that you have covered the following
    questions in
    >the past, in which case I shall appreciate it if you
    could give
    >me some guidance as to where I can delve in the
    >1. Does all knowledge consist of memes or
    >2. Are all memes received/perceived through sensory
    >3. Is it also possible to acquire memes through
    >where the knowledge is not the direct result of recent
    >Any explanation, reference to websites or other media
    will be
    >sincerely appreciated.
    >Pieter Bouwer

    Hi Pieter & welcome,
    (your name sounds awfully Dutch, well it's no so
    strange when you're from South Africa)

    Here's a link that triggered my enthusiasm for

    It's the first chapter of The Meme Machine by Susan
    Blackmore, one of the chiefs of memetics. You may
    find the entire book useful and fascinating,
    as did I.

    There is still controversy going on on whether on
    the definition of a meme. As far as I know there are
    mainly two ends of the spectrum. On the one end you
    have those who argue that the def. should be
    restricted to including only the behavior and
    cultural artifacts (planes, trains & automobiles etc.)
    and not its mental sources or instigators (ideas,
    schemes, thoughts etc...). On the other, those who
    believe that the mental component should also be

    Most generally, a meme is anything cultural that is
    transmittable from one member of the culture to
    another. This does not require a recipient and
    transmitter per se. Memes can lie dormant in the brain
    of some host until the moment arises to transmit it
    to a potential recipient. New memes are created by
    interaction in meme-processing facilities MPF
    (the brain in humans) of already existing memes in a
    set of MPF of hosts. The set may consist of only a
    single member (eureka moments, moments of creativity
    etc.), or several members such as team-play in science
    or at `meetings'.
    So to answer your questions:

    1. All knowledge that can be captured
    in language (or in general, some protocol of
    communication) is memetic since it then can be
    transmitted to other humans. I don't know if
    transmittable knowledge is synonymous to plain
    `knowledge' though, it depends on how you define

    2. In humans: yes. Perception is the receptor of memes.
    But in general, perception is not relevant per se.
    In distant AI, transmission of memes will happen

    3. Yes. We all have our 'personal' moments of
    originality and creativity. If we didn't, new memes
    would not surface and cultural evolution would not
    be possible.


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