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> >>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
> >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
> 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."
> 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.
What property should a meme have in order for you to call it a meme? From
the looks of your reply it seems a meme should have meaning. But that again
every word has a meaning because if you omit any word in a sentence either
meaning is changed or the sentence becomes non-sensical. Consider the
sentence: 'The bird flies to its nest.' and try to omit any word without
meaning. Therefore every word has a meaning and every word is memetic as
it can be transmitted to other hosts.
Talking about shortest memes: what about acronyms? Laser for instance
or radar? Those are memes too, most people don't even know what the
abbreviations stand for. Do you? Even shorter ones: CIA, FBI all are memes.
Is it really necessary to know what the abbreviation stands for when you
know their rough meaning?
Even more extreme, what about reading marks: for example,
the exclamation mark of which Kenneth is so fond of using.
Or the German `umlaut', or those weird Swedish dots and dashes on or through
characters? They all carry meaning as they change
the semantics when omitted. They can all have unique properties and they can
all be transmitted (by whatever means), they all are memetic I contend.
> 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.
Precisely so. According to the latest poll here on the list we have
modes of transmission: verbal, depiction, and ...?? When AI machines emerge
they will too produce memes (see the Meme-Machine) and transmission of
memes will happen entirely electronic as software exchange between `smart'
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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