Re: Sensory and sensibility and a big question

From: Francesca S. Alcorn (
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 05:58:22 GMT

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    Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 00:58:22 -0500
    From: "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    Subject: Re: Sensory and sensibility and a big question
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    Wade wrote:

    >Some developmental types suggest the 'self' is not intact until somewhere
    >in the fourth year.
    >- Wade

    As the mother of a three-year-old, I think there is memetic stuff
    happening *way* before that. Especially when you talk about memes on
    a behavioral level. Maybe the way to operationalize this is to ask
    when is the first time you demonstrated something for your child and
    they copied you. No. That won't work, babies imitate facial
    expressions at birth, it is hardwired in. Perhaps certain types of
    behavior then. Manipulating objects, maybe? Is memetic behavior by
    definition learned and not hardwired? If so, how can you
    operationalize that distinction?

    I have always had a distinction in my own mind between behaviors and
    memes. When it's inside your head, bouncing around certain neural
    pathways, interacting with other memes, then it's a meme. Whatever
    behavior you emit - be it spoken, written, acting (bashing someone on
    the head) or creating artifacts, those are all expressions of the
    meme. Part of the *process* of replication, but not a meme itself.
    I suspect you guys have hammered this out before, and have good
    reasons for including behaviors and artifacts as memes. Could
    someone give me a *brief* (please, I beg you) explanation why this is
    so? Has anyone ever worked out a working model of the different
    steps in memetic replication, (using possible parallels between
    biological models - sexual and asexual reproduction). I think that
    human minds might be the first environment in which sexual
    reproduction of memes could take place. Although there is some
    variability in communication, it does not even come close to what
    happens in the human brain. Is there a meme gamete or a meme zygote?

    If you are going to eliminate the word meme, and talk only about
    replicators, then there must be patterns and processes of replication
    in all replicators.


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