Re: Words and memes

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Wed Feb 06 2002 - 14:42:46 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: Words and memes
    Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 06:42:46 -0800
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    >I have a problem with the subjective nature of the 'fitness' concept as I'm
    >not sure that what we now think of as 'fit', may not, in another time or
    >place, be thought of as fukt.
    >Neural nets are not my thing Joe but I am sure that information is encoded
    >into artefacts.
    >Think about this short story:
    >Once upon a time there was a handsome Prince. He travelled throughout his
    >father's kingdom fighting dragons and saving maidens until one day he saved
    >a beautiful maid. They immediately fell in love and, on their wedding day,
    >his father abdicated and set the happy couple on the throne in his place.
    >They ruled long and wisely and all in the land prospered. THE END
    >I can see that the stratified 'ideas' of linear time, heredity, beauty,
    >hierarchy, travel, purity, chastity, romance, etc. form a strand of
    >normalising cultural information which replicates the culture, but I don't
    >agree that an isolated 'idea' (say travel) is a 'meme' any more than a
    >single segment of a gene (like the one that made me go bald) is a gene.
    >What was your favourite story when you were quite young? Has it any
    >relevance in your adult life? What family stories of ancestral 'behaviours'
    >do you, or will you, tell your children - why? What 'codes' are in the
    >stories and why do some survive for thousands of years?
    >I think that 'important' cultural values were passed intergenerationaly in
    >stories and that we retain them in our storyscape because they inculcated
    >those 'values' in us. In order to pass the values on, we pass on the
    >The core values of our culture are therefore to be found in the oldest
    >stories. For example, if we look at the sequence of 'ideas' in Genesis
    >(even if you are agnostic) we can understand much of what we do today.

    I think "fitness" lies in whether a human being likes an idea enough to
    adopt it and pass it on to someone else. When enough people adopt an idea
    it becomes part of the culture. Don't ask how many are enough. I don't
    think anybody knows.


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