Re: Recursive def. of the meme

Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 07:31:38 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Recursive def. of the meme
    Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 22:31:38 -0900
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    > >Recursive def. o/t meme:
    > >An element of culture that can be replicated/transmitted.
    > >In addition, it has a set of properties or features that
    > >determine its uniqueness which, in turn, are memes too (by some
    > >mode).
    > >
    > >In other words: a meme can be expressed in other more primitive
    > >memes.
    > >This definition has the benefit that it explicitly recognizes the
    > >observation
    > >that memes can be expressed in memes, which can be expressed in
    > >memes etc...
    > >New memes have to be expandable in known memes in order
    > >to disseminate and communicate its existence over the population.
    > >The process of recursion ends when the level of expressive memes
    > >becomes
    > >so primitive that further recursion is impossible (the
    > >non-uniqueness
    > >condition is then violated). This level may be called the atomic
    > >level
    > >of memes.
    > >
    > >Examples:
    > >
    > >An idea can be expressed in phrases, metaphors, slogans,
    > >single sentences, themes, theorems etc. which constitutes the
    > >first
    > >primitive level. In turn, phrases, metaphors and the like can be
    > >expressed
    > >in single words, the second primitive level. Words can be
    > >expressed in letters
    > >and marks. Further recursion is impossible as the sticks, bars
    > >and circles
    > >used to construct character do not uniquely belong to one
    > >particular
    > >character. The single symbols therefore constitute the atomic
    > >meme-level.
    > >
    > >An invention such as the airplane consists of parts like wheels,
    > >wings,
    > >fuselage and cockpit which may constitutes the first primitive
    > >level.
    > >Wings consist of flat and curved metal plates, fuel containers
    > >and a
    > >metallic framework to keep the construction together: the second
    > >primitive
    > >level. The metal plates may consist of several metallic layers,
    > >paint,
    > >anti-corrosive layers and nuts and bolts. All these elements can
    > >be
    > >expressed in more detail by giving the materials or chemicals
    > >involved,
    > >ways of fabrication, number of threads in bolts, etc. This level
    > >of
    > >description would be the atomic level (although recursion may go
    > >beyond
    > >this point from engineering into the realm of physics and
    > >chemistry.)
    > >
    > >A complex behavior such as a fancy eating etiquette or royal
    > >inauguration
    > >may be decomposed in several programs of bodily movements. Each
    > >of these
    > >programs may be expressed further into more primitive patterns of
    > >movement/
    > >behavior until the movements are too mundane and non-unique to
    > >allow further
    > >recursion. The atomic level has been reached then.
    > >
    > >Comments, additions, wise-cracks? All are welcome...
    > >
    > >Philip.
    > >
    > I like it. We might even try to order the memes which make up the
    > according to how they appeared on a timeline, based on the memes from
    > they evolved.
    > The airplane wheel, for example came from wheels for land vehicles, which
    > came from wheels for chariots, which came from moving things atop rolling
    > logs, etc., etc.
    > Elements of ettiquet, on the other hand, were developed and handed down as
    > customary behavior in rich or royal families. Outsiders modeled their
    > behavior to be acceptable to those they wanted to join. When royalty
    > started using forks, soon everyone was using them. When one royal family
    > visited another and were outshone by their hosts with some new practice,
    > soon became part of the scene for every royal household. Being able to
    > note of the artifacts and trace them historically provides a sense of
    > perspective to the process of meme development and how culture as a whole
    > developed.

    This illustrates how ettiquettes evolved, interesting. As a side-note, I
    ettiquettes as an example because precisely such kind of behavior seem to
    a clearly definable protocol of behavior. Compared to less restricted
    like playing football they are relatively easily decomposable into primitive


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