Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Fri Jan 11 2002 - 04:47:56 GMT

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    Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 23:47:56 -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
    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
    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

    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
    knowledge is synonymous to plain `knowledge' though,
    it depends on
    how you define knowledge.

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

    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.


    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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