Re: Words and memes

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sun Feb 03 2002 - 22:23:34 GMT

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    Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2002 17:23:34 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: Words and memes
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    At 10:46 AM 03/02/02 -0800, "Dace" <>


    >The key issue is whether the unit of culture is self-replicated or
    >intentionally replicated by a conscious agent. Memes are active. Ideas are

    Again I think this is a catchy way to express the essence of the "meme
    about memes"

    Idea is very close in "meaning space" to meme, but meme has the replication
    aspect attached.

    So you could have Watt's *idea* about how to improve steam engines
    "separate condenser" which you would use to describe Watt's study and
    coming up with the idea. You would use the *meme* of "separate condenser"
    when you wanted to talk about Watt's idea spreading like wildfire among the
    steam engineers of the day.

    I have often written that an idea fails to be a meme (at best it is a
    potential meme) when someone has an idea and never communicates the
    idea. By this line of thinking an idea written on paper is still not a
    meme until someone (other than the writer) read it. Shades of the spooky
    observer effects in quantum mechanics!

    Of course, none of this negates the essence of any particular meme being
    pure information.

    Keith Henson

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