Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id VAA14462 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Mon, 4 Feb 2002 21:05:37 GMT From: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 16:01:26 -0500 To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Words and memes X-Mailer: WorldClient Pro 2.2.1 In-Reply-To: <005901c1adb8$c870ade0$6a24f4d8@teddace> Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for the clarification. It is an interesting distinction but I see
it as one that would cause more confusion than is necessary. Suppose
someone goes back and relearns the underlying processes behind the meme
and then chooses to consciously repropagate what had since become a meme,
would it then loose its memetic quality? Similarly suppose that some
people were 'intentionally' propagating the idea and others were just
passing it along without thinking would it be a meme or not? Since
acquisition of any idea requires some mental processes where could we
draw a line that we distinguish for data gathering purposes? Wouldn't we
have to ask everyone who passed the idea along whether they were
acting 'intentionally'? And isn't the term 'intentional' going to be
subject to numerous interpretations?
Also I have to disagree with your statement that 'learned behavior' would
necessarily equate to 'meme' in the absence of an 'intent' distinction.
Memes would have to have been learned from interaction with other
organisms possessing the same meme while a large of class of behaviors
can be learned with resort to acquisition from other organisms (ie
learning not to touch a burning candle after doing it once)
Thanks for the response,
From: "Dace" <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 12:16:06 -0800
Subject: Re: Words and memes
> > >From: John Croft
> > >
> > > > 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.
> > >
> > >Culture can be divided into intentional and memetic. While the
> > >of culture" are always taking on a life of their own-- far beyond
> > >intentions of their creators-- we are continually regenerating
> > >the foundation. Even if a particular tune is known to be "catchy,"
> if I
> > >consciously decide to hum it, it's a function of intentional
> > >when it starts playing on its own-- and continues replaying long
> > >begun to annoy me-- does it become a function of memetic culture.
> > >
> > >I agree that it's important to distinguish between what is memetic
> > >what is genetic. But it's also important to distinguish between
> what is
> > >memetic and what is intentional. In order for the term to be
> > >"meme" must be delineated on both sides, from biology and from
> > >reflexive consciousness.
> > >
> > >The key issue is whether the unit of culture is self-replicated or
> > >intentionally replicated by a conscious agent. Memes are active.
> > >are passive.
> > >
> > >Ted
> > I would be curious to see an example of a 'meme' and an example of an
> > 'idea' that will display the distinction you are trying to make.
> > Ray Recchia
> If we think of a tune as a musical idea, then the tune that gets "stuck
> your head" is a nice example of an idea that turns memetic. The
> began as an idea, hatched by the Defense Department's advanced research
> projects division, and then became a meme as it caught on. No one has
> reflect anymore on what the Internet is and what its value is. We've
> since reached the point at which this idea propagates unreflectively.
> on our minds whether we want it there or not.
> If "meme" is taken to be equivalent to "idea," then it becomes
> universalized and ceases to have meaning. On the other hand, if "meme"
> equated with "learned behavior," then it becomes biologically
> and also ceases to have meaning. Any term that can be collapsed into
> another term is just an abstraction. It has no existence outside of
> word we've made up for it.
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