Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id XAA14842 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Mon, 4 Feb 2002 23:45:42 GMT Message-Id: <firstname.lastname@example.org> X-Sender: email@example.com X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 5.1 Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 18:42:06 -0500 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Keith Henson <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Words and memes In-Reply-To: <004f01c1adb3$b73a7f60$6a24f4d8@teddace> References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
At 11:39 AM 04/02/02 -0800, you wrote:
>From: Keith Henson
> > 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.
>It was still an idea when it began spreading among engineers who studied it
>and approved of it, but before long its propagation would have taken on its
>own momentum and become memetic.
By the distinction of replicating, once Watt told anyone about his idea it
became a meme. (Perhaps we could require that the person who had been told
understood the meme well enough to pass it to yet another person.)
>Gradually the idea becomes set, and no one
>much examines it anymore.
Not so. The "separate condenser" meme guides the construction of every
steam power plant built. I have worked on the design of variations needed
to make condensers for use in zero gravity myself.
>In other words, it wasn't simply an idea in
>Watt's mind and a meme in everyone else's. It began as an idea that spread
>through conscious intention and then picked up "steam" as it became
>ingrained. Even in Watt's mind it eventually would have become memetic.
It get's redefined by replicating. When Watt told the first person about
his idea, it became a meme. Of course it is still an idea, but it has now
also become a meme.
Meme, an idea that has replicated at least once.
Potential meme, an idea that has not replicated, but could. Either the
person who thought of it is alive still remembers it, or if they are no
longer a potential source, it was written on paper and paper has not been
> > 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.
>True. It's not a unit of culture until it gets beyond the mind that
>generated it. Failing that, even if it becomes ingrained, it's not a meme,
>just a personal habit of thought.
>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 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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