Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id VAA13980 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Mon, 21 Jan 2002 21:42:05 GMT X-Originating-IP: [184.108.40.206] From: "Scott Chase" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: The necessity of mental memes Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 16:37:40 -0500 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed Message-ID: <F450gZQf5UIpmjbnlfp00014833@hotmail.com> X-OriginalArrivalTime: 21 Jan 2002 21:37:40.0646 (UTC) FILETIME=[DA373C60:01C1A2C3] Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
>From: "Grant Callaghan" <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: The necessity of mental memes
>Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 07:40:31 -0800
>>Anyway, since I already have been using the various terms "idea,"
>>"behavior," "artifact," "thought contagion," "doctrine," "opinion,"
>>system," and "urban legend," I find no communication difficulty arising
>>not using the word "meme" alongside them. My book chapter "Evolutionary
>>Contagion in Mental Software"
>What I dislike in the choice of the word "contagion" to describe the
>of information is the implication that the receiver has no choice but to be
>"infected" by the idea. It also has connotations of sickness and a process
>that leads to death. Most of the bacteria and a lot of the viruses that
>invade our body do so harmlessly. Some are killers. But we have little
>choice about catching the flu or HIV. I don't believe this is the case
>memes. Although some memes, if taken up by a large enough number of
>can lead to sickness within a society and the death of many of its members,
>the overall effect of memes is to make the society stronger and allow us to
>adapt to a changing environment that is changing too quickly for genetic
>evolution to keep up with. It seems to me the terms "virus" and
>were chosen to create fear and controversey. They are loaded with
>baggage from historical attempts to survive plagues and their aftermath.
>Emotion laden terminology should be kept out of the study of culture and
>mind if we are to reach objective conclusions about them.
"Contagion" may be apt for uses in certain cases though not a term to focus
upon to the exclusion of other possibilities. I'm an agnostic on memes so
I'm open to other terms and other views.
There's a plethora of terms (erroneous or not) out there which refer to
stuff influencing human individual and social behavior. It might be neat to
construct a taxonomy of these terms, though I'm only aware of a limited
number such as meme, mind virus, contagion, culturgen, engram, mnemon, neme,
complex, idee' fixe, collective representation, archetype and so on.
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