Re: Words and memes

From: Ray Recchia (
Date: Mon Feb 04 2002 - 01:52:32 GMT

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    Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2002 20:52:32 -0500
    From: Ray Recchia <>
    Subject: Re: Words and memes
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    Hey Keith

    At 05:23 PM 2/3/2002 -0500, you wrote:
    >At 10:46 AM 03/02/02 -0800, "Dace" <>
    > wrote:
    >>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
    This is the distinction I would draw. If it hasn't replicated it isn't a
    meme. I am not sure this is the distinction that Ted is drawing though.

    Ray Recchia

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