Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id BAA15085 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Tue, 5 Feb 2002 01:15:57 GMT Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 17:10:15 -0800 Message-Id: <200202050110.g151AF306016@mail13.bigmailbox.com> Content-Type: text/plain Content-Disposition: inline Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary X-Mailer: MIME-tools 4.104 (Entity 4.116) X-Originating-Ip: [18.104.22.168] From: "Joe Dees" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: ply to Grant Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org('binary' encoding is not supported, stored as-is)
>Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 16:22:25 +1100
> email@example.com Jeremy Bradley <firstname.lastname@example.org> Re: ply to GrantReply-To: email@example.com
>At 07:45 AM 3/02/02 -0800, you wrote:
>>>Subject: Re: ply to Grant
>>>Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2002 22:36:55 +1100
>>>At 07:52 AM 14/01/02 -0800, Grant wrote:
>The problem we are having is
>how to separate memes from things that are not memes. In other words, the
>definition of a meme. Everyone wants to draw the line in a different place
>and include things other people won't accept. Is a meme an idea? Is it
>behavior? Is it something you can name? Or is it all of these?
>I have cut up your post so as to answer its various parts
>My definition of a meme dates back to Dawkins' original concept that a meme
>is to a culture what a gene is to a biological organism. Therefore, if a
>gene is a codified strand which exists within every cell of an organism,
>then a meme is a code which exists within every unit of a culture. As a
>gene enables the recognition of appropriate cells to the body of that
>organism, a meme enables the recognition (within a culture) of artefacts
>which are then perceived as valid or invalid to that culture. Acceptance or
>rejection is therefore predicated by the presence, or absence, of
>sufficient memetic 'switches'. Thoughts, activities, behaviours, ethics and
>other artefacts can only become infectious if they either contain enough of
>the relevant cultural meme/code, or if they can deceive the cultural body
>into perceiving/believing that they do.
This depends upon how you define culture; if I mention the Sicilian defence, very few nonchessplayers will understand to what the term refers. But if we go this way, we end up with the circular and useless definition that a meme is shared by all members of a culture and a culture is a group that shares at least one meme.
>Mostly, the people who concern themselves with this problem are
>reductionists. They are searching for the smallest unit from which the
>whole of culture is created. They want to use this dichotomy to create a
>formulaic method of predicting how memes are created and propagated. Is the
>idea you borrow and use really a meme? Or is it just the original idea we
>can call a meme?
>A geneticist is not accused of reductionism because they study "the
>smallest unit" from which the organism is created. A gene is what it is,
>and a meme is what it is. They are both small but potent.
Right now, I would have to say that, linguistically, words and morphemes are the smallest units (excluding letters, which are all taught as a unit, the alphabet), because they are the smallest units between which one may distinguish meaning differences.
>What we all seem to agree on, though, is that the culture we have built
>around us to support us was created in bits and pieces that emerged into
>something greater than the sum of its parts. It evolved as the new parts
>replaced old ones and the old provided the material from which to create
>what never existed before. Methods and materials were created that changed
>how we organize ourselves and the kinds of dwellings we live in, how we get
>from place to place, and the kinds of food we eat as well as the utensils we
>use in the process. All of civilization is a result of this memetic
>evolution and we want to understand it so we can use it, just like we use
>everything else in our environment. We think we won't be able to do this
>until we understand exactly where to draw the line.
>That, at any rate, is my take on the situation.
>I agree with most of what you say here Grant with the exception of your use
>of the singular "civilisation". There are many civilisations and some of
>them have more respect for the environment than we Westerners do. Also, as
>a narratologist, I question whether cultures evolve or are the result of
>conscious introductions, exclusions and re-defining of cultural elements.
>For example, a successful propaganda campaign must be rooted in the
>cultural values (ie contain the meme code) but is able to engineer a change
>in those values so that the change is accepted by the cultural body as the
>If we "built our culture around us" as you suggest, then it is engineered
>rather than evolved. As Aaron wrote recently the mastery of memetic
>manipulation could be "worth billions", or it may just preserve something
>for our children's children.
>This is an important field of research whatever your "take on it" is.
>==============================================================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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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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