RE: Words and memes

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sat Feb 09 2002 - 15:14:11 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: RE: Words and memes
    Date: Sat, 09 Feb 2002 07:14:11 -0800
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    >I would like to take a different tack here.
    >People are not stupid (oh, okay, not totally so). They have the automatic
    >capability to assess what is going on around them, including the flow of
    >language and symbols, and to judge what makes sense or doesn't, and what is
    >'useful' to them or not.
    >We all have hierarchies of values that come into play when we make these
    >judgments. If an idea floating out there seems to enhance the ability of
    >individual to manifest these values (and especially the more highly held
    >ones) he or she will adopt it. (I am simplfying here a bit, and leaving out
    >other cognitive elements that also influence the adoption of ideas but
    >mainly as filtering mechanisms that reduce the number of ideas that are
    >going to be judged. Within these filtering mechanisms we also have the
    >ability to reshape the idea we are considering, to discard some of its
    >elements and keep others, or to add to it other elements from other ideas
    >have, thus the mutation of memes within and by the individual.) Ideas will
    >only be taken up if the individual, rightly or wrongly, concluded that it
    >useful to do so. Note that this allows for the adoption of ideas under
    >conditions of group pressure: for those who do it under these conditions,
    >conforming to group standards and all that flows from that is the immediate
    >value achieved.
    >Memes cannot destroy or bypass this judgement-making mechanism: to be
    >adopted they must meet its criteria for adoption. This helps explain why
    >some memes are taken up by some people and not by others: our heirarchies
    >values differ person to person, as do the levels of certainty that we
    >require within our judgment-making processes.
    >Does this model help?
    I like your model. It includes such things as why teenagers spread fads.
    Their filtering system is full of ideas such as "cuteness." They will buy a
    style of clothing based on the fact that a "cute boy" or "cute girl" wore
    it. Any model that does not include the mass of minds in which the meme
    dwells will not be useful. Social intercourse is the playground in which
    memes are spread between memebers of the same groups. Work is the place
    where more serious memes are generated and from which our civilization rises
    (or falls). The filtering system is the province of all of society, not
    just academia, religion or politics.


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