Re: sex and the single meme

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Jan 25 2002 - 22:08:18 GMT

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: sex and the single meme
    Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 17:08:18 -0500
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    >From: "Wade T. Smith" <>
    >To: "memetics list" <>
    >Subject: Re: sex and the single meme
    >Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 09:07:08 -0500
    >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.
    I'm trying to think of a way to incorporate Jung's contrast beteen material
    and combinations (which I recently cited talking about his "Cryptomnesia"
    essay) and your allusion to pottery. The material (clay) is basically the
    same, so from where stems novelty? Even ideas people use to mold clay into
    different shapes (combinations?) are likely borrowed from a cultural
    reservoir. Nietzsche may have borrowed from his cultural milieu when shaping
    Zarathustra (from a book he may have read in his teens as supported by a
    letter from Nietzsche's sister to Jung), though perhaps not to the degree
    apparently as a recent case where a well known author apparently borrowed
    quite liberally.

    It's still hard to recall from where ideas floating around in your head may
    have had their specific origin.

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