Re: Selfish meme?

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sat Jan 26 2002 - 04:13:30 GMT

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    Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 23:13:30 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: Selfish meme?
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    At 03:30 PM 25/01/02 -0800, "Grant Callaghan" <>

    >> > Does anyone see a similarity here between words and memes?
    >>I see an even stronger relationship:
    >>Words *are* memes (but not all memes are words).
    >Exactly so, so why can't the study of words and how they are created and
    >propogated provide clues to the essence of all memes as well as defining
    >them, where they come from and what they do? We have a pretty good handle
    >on words and language, so why is it so hard to understand what memes are
    >in general? How can people deny that memes exist without saying that
    >words don't exist? Or saying that words are not memes? It's an illogical

    I really wish the list members would illustrate with examples. It is my
    considered opinion that most of the time words are just words and not
    memes. For example, "idea" is about as close as you can get to "meme." If
    you put it in the phrase "an idea that is passed on to another person" you
    have the "meme about memes." As I have mentioned, one of the shortest
    memes I know is Watt's phrase "separate condenser." It would have been
    instantly understood by engineers of the time because they knew where the
    big loses were happening in the crude engines of the day.

    Memes don't have to be expressed in words. You would not have to use a
    single word to show someone how to chip out a "killer frisbee" a million
    and a half years ago, and the learned songs of birds and whales are memes
    without words.

    Keith Henson

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