Re: The necessity of mental memes

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sun Jan 20 2002 - 17:22:06 GMT

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: The necessity of mental memes
    Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 12:22:06 -0500
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    >From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    >Subject: Re: The necessity of mental memes
    >Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 07:35:52 -0800
    >> > Sat, 19 Jan 2002 16:59:55 -0500
    >> > "Philip Jonkers" <> Re: The necessity of
    >> >
    >> >Joe:
    >> >>what no one has been able to explain to me is how, in
    >> >the absence of a mental storage and percepttion/action
    >> >translation pathway between the perception of
    >> >another's actions and the replication of those actions
    >> >by oneself, how the actions of one could ever become,
    >> >by apprehension, learning and imitation, the actions
    >> >of another.
    >> >
    >> >I guess your interesting perception is based on a
    >> >understandable misconception.
    >> >What the guys in the artifact-behavior meme-camp argue
    >> >is that it is wrong to speak of memes residing in the
    >> >brain for no other reason that the don't fit with any
    >> >of the current definitions. They are undetectable,
    >> >highly personal and non-uniform in stored form.
    >> >And they are right I think, Derek
    >> >Gathererer has made a good job argueing that.
    >> >They probably don't deny occurrence of those mental
    >> >processes which eventually lead to meme-processing
    >> >but they just consider them to fall outside the range
    >> >of applicability of memetics.
    >> >
    >> >You can then go either two ways. One, is to retain the
    >> >definition of the meme and abandon the whole
    >> >meme-in-head concept and limit meme-theory to apply to
    >> >only cultural artifacts and/or behavior, both of which
    >> >classes do fit with definition.
    >> >The other one I personally favor is to alter the
    >> >definition of the meme in such a way that it also
    >> >encompasses memes residing in the head. I think
    >> >two steps in the right direction would be:
    >> >1) to get rid of the meme-as-unit insistence, as there
    >> > are virtually no atomistic memes I contend.
    >> >2) admit that memes can assume different forms while
    >> > conserving associated meaning and head on to
    >> > a more abstract semantic definition of the meme.
    >> >
    >> >Philip.
    >> >
    >> >Cheers,
    >> >
    >> >Philip Jonkers.
    >> >
    >>A third is to access the PET scan and fMRI studies that indicate
    >>cortical energy usage changes in specific areas correlated with the
    >>performance of particular tasks, both physical and mental. the gun is
    >>smoking, and internal meme location no longer may be dismissed on the
    >>grounds of a lack of empirical evidence. Of course, we are not able to
    >>decode thses indications in a fine-grained manner, but we DO know that
    >>a person listens to music, or reads poetry, or reads text, or imagines a
    >>landscape, or performs mental mathematical calculations, or remembers a
    >>word string, that in each case, a different portion of the brain burns
    >>sugar (meaning that it needs more energy because it is being used).
    >> >
    >I think we store most of the memes we adopt in our brains. When you want
    >repeat a behavior you have picked up from someone else, where do you get it
    >from the next time? Isn't that what culture is in an individual? We
    >operate with a collection of memes we picked up in various times and places
    >as the result of interacting with other members of society (this includes
    >reading and watching television, etc.). How do you know the "right" thing
    >to do at any time in any situation? It has either become a habit that
    >requires little thought or you choose from a store of behavioral options
    >have accumulated during a lifetime of watching and interacting with others.
    >And where else would you keep such a store of knowledge but in your brain?
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    I'm wondering how Joe makes the leap from PET/fMRI studies and "memes" being
    in the head. Maybe if one *assumes* the mantra of "memes" and views the
    world through such lenses one might interpret such studies as confirming
    pre-set biases. One winds up seeing smoking guns everywhere one looks.

    OTOH are PET and fMRI *researchers* *themselves* saying that they are
    finding internal memes? If so, what references to the peer-reviewed journal
    research literature can inquiring minds peruse? Yes I'm automatically
    excluding pop-sci books.

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