Re: memetics-digest V1 #916

From: John Croft (
Date: Sat Feb 02 2002 - 02:55:34 GMT

  • Next message: John Croft: "Re: memetics-digest V1 #916"

    Received: by id DAA08551 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Sat, 2 Feb 2002 03:00:50 GMT
    Message-ID: <>
    Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2002 02:55:34 +0000 (GMT)
    From: John Croft <>
    Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #916
    In-Reply-To: <>
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
    Precedence: bulk

    Joe, Ted, and Keith on the activity of memes to
    duplicate themselves suggested that

    > >To be replicated is necessary but insufficient to
    > >qualify as memetic. Memes are not passively
    > >replicated but actively self-replicate. The mere
    > >repetition of words doesn't mean memetic
    > >propagation is occurring. Memes exploit our
    > >conscious interaction in order to replicate
    > >themselves from one mind to another.

    I would strongly disagree. Memes come in many kinds.
    Some memes do invest a great deal in "actively self
    replicating". Others do not. Still others invest
    almost nothing, "piggybacking" on the active ones.

    It was Blackmore's contribution to recognise any
    replicable learned behaviour has the character of a
    meme. "The bacon is in the fridge" from the moment it
    is repeated by a second person is a meme. Whether it
    gets repeated a third time, or a fourth depends upon
    other circumstances, some of which the mem has "under
    control" and others which are contextual and
    environmental. But this is the same about gene
    duplication also. It is the meaning behind the meme
    that will determine the number of repetitions it gets.
     For instance, if you are living in a community of
    baconophiles "The bacon is in the fridge" would be
    duplicated many times. But the same contextual
    fashion is found in "bacon is evil" also operate. In
    a community of "bacon is evil" people, it would only
    duplicate if bacon were present, and a believer were
    wishing to let otyhers know. Both are composed of
    sub-memes. "Bacon" by itself is a meme, if
    duplicated. "Fridges" certainly are memes in their
    own right. A whole culture of "bacon" and "fridge"
    using can evolve to duplicate both. This operates in
    the same way that termite fishing operates as a meme
    amongst Gombe chimpanzees.

    Thus Ted wrote
    > >In order for this to occur, the words must involve
    > >some kind of interpretation ("bacon is evil") and
    > >not a mere statement of fact ("bacon is in the
    > >fridge"). If it's merely factual, the repetition
    > >of the statement can be accounted for according to
    > >normal, intentional use of language.

    and Keith replied
    > Good way to put it. You can't call everything a
    > meme or it becomes a useless word.

    Again I would disagree with you both here. Everything
    that is culturally duplicated and diseminated is a
    meme. (Not just statements with interpretation - for
    instance - a sung melody is a meme, a gesture (eg
    shaking hands in greeting) is a meme, washing potatoes
    in the sea before eating them is a meme. It is the
    fact of duplication that makes it mimetic. If not
    duplicated, but learned individually with every
    generation, or if "instinctual" and passed genetically
    then it is not a meme. "Fridges", "bacon" and putting
    "bacon" into "fridges" are all mimentic, specific to
    one culture, and all "seek" replication.



    Do You Yahoo!?
    Everything you'll ever need on one web page
    from News and Sport to Email and Music Charts

    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)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Feb 02 2002 - 03:15:11 GMT