Re: Words and memes

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 08:58:35 GMT

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    From: "Joe Dees" <>
    Subject: Re: Words and memes
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    >Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 22:55:08 +1100
    > Jeremy Bradley <> Re: Words and memesReply-To:
    >At 11:39 PM 5/02/02 -0800, you wrote:
    >>>Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 20:47:53 +1100
    >>> Jeremy Bradley <> Re: Words and
    >>>Ted wrote
    >>>>If "meme" is taken to be equivalent to "idea," then it becomes culturally
    >>>>universalized and ceases to have meaning. On the other hand, if "meme" is
    >>>>equated with "learned behavior," then it becomes biologically universalized
    >>>>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 the
    >>>>word we've made up for it.
    >>>Hi Ted
    >>>Good points. What if 'meme' is simply a word signifying a strand of
    >>>cultural information which resides in cultural artefacts (even a hammer)
    >>>which enables the replication of the culture?
    >>I see memes as encodings of meaningful information that are replicated for
    >fitness reasons. They may be encoded in neural nets, behavior or
    >artifacts, and many are encoded in all three.
    >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 stories.
    >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.
    It is of course circular; that which has had the most reproductive success is retrospectively adjudged as the most fit.
    >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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