Re: Selfish meme?

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 09:22:36 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Selfish meme?
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    > "Philip Jonkers" <> <> Re: Selfish meme?Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2002 13:52:19 -0900
    >> >>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
    >> >arguement.
    >> >
    >> >Grant
    >> 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
    >changing its
    >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
    >identified four
    >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'
    Showing (demonstration), Telling (discourse), Drawing (actually, any construction of a likeness, even miming), Writing.
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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