Re: sex and the single meme

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Fri Jan 25 2002 - 14:07:08 GMT

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    Subject: Re: sex and the single meme
    Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 09:07:08 -0500
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    From: "Wade T. Smith" <>
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    On 01/25/02 02:09, Joe Dees said this-

    >Howzabout the term 'possible memes"? They become actual when they are
    >actually replicated.

    Well, I suppose the unhardened and unglazed clay in the kiln is a
    'possible pot', so, sure, possible memes. And, yes, they become actual
    (and deserve an actual name) when they get produced, and, in order to be
    a meme at all, replicated.

    In the brain, lots of things are happening. But, as of yet, we aren't
    trying to call a specific process anything other than a process,
    although, certain areas of the brain have been recognized as performing
    somewhat usual and expected processes. But claiming that the teeming
    activity of the brain is the activity of memes, well, it smacked, to me,
    of precociousness on an extreme level. Memory is certainly a good source
    of heat in the meme kiln- but, what are the chemical glaze constituents,
    and the placement criteria? What catalysts are used and where and when?
    Lots of things happening in the brain. Calling them all memes, well, that
    also seemed like the logical course of having internal memes at all, as
    well as mistakenly grouping experiential and specifically disjoint
    processes under one rubric.

    Aaron's definition, is, however, workable. Memes are memory items. That's
    specific enough to let them be agents of and players in behavior, but
    not, at present knowledge, specific enough to tell us where and when and
    how they lodge in the brain or affect behavior.

    The external stance simply lets the brain do what the brain does, in all
    its complexity and mystery, and, when behavior (so far, human behavior),
    produces a quantum unit of culture, and that quantum unit tunnels over to
    somebody else, and they produce a quantum of culture that's highly
    similar to the extent of being undifferentiable, that's a meme.

    (Doing the cultural cataloguing, well, that's another kettle of fish. The
    manuscript is not the galley proof, and the galley proof is not the book,
    after all....)

    What's happening in the brain might even be very similar in both or all
    parties to this exchange, but, without knowing more, that's only enough
    to say we have similar kilns, at similar temperatures, with similar clay
    formulations, with similar glazes and catalysts applied. As any potter
    knows, what comes out of the kiln is always, in many particulars,
    unknown, even surprising, even while being carefully planned.

    - Wade

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