RE: Words and memes: Memes and religion/cults

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Sat Feb 09 2002 - 18:32:18 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Words and memes"

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    Subject: RE: Words and memes: Memes and religion/cults
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    > I would put it that memetics (study of memes) tends to be value neutral,
    > but I see nothing at all wrong with putting highly negative
    > values on memes
    > that damage people and positive values on memes that support the
    > things we
    > generally consider to be good.

    Yes, of course, this is what meme-wars are all about!
    > >I _can_ see how figures in authority over systems that are largely
    > >belief-based would worry about the field of memetics, as it rather
    > >undermines the notion that beliefs are purely linked to truth
    > and reality or
    > >some non-human authority, such as gods or religious tomes.
    > The concept of replicating cultural element has been around at least 35
    > years and the word meme used for over 25. " memetics OR meme" limited to
    > English in Google returns 144,000 hits. This area of knowledge may not
    > excite a lot of opposition. At least the history so far suggest that.

    Wow! Keith, I am amazed by the 144,000 hits. Can they all be referring to
    what I have been thinking of our rather small group of memeticians? I'll
    have to look at some of them. Perhaps the lack of opporition is due to the
    confusing nature of the assertions that have been made about memes so far,
    and their linkage with gene-analogs -- all a brilliant camouflage :-) I
    do think I would prefer it this way, at this time, though there are some on
    our list who have well-reasoned arguments for issuing larger warnings about
    the nature of memes and their capacity for harm (as you suggest above).

    > >Memes, as instruments of transmission of beliefs, are neutral in the same
    > >way that a hammer is: they can be used for purposes or effects
    > that we might
    > >consider good, or bad but it has more to do with the designer
    > and wielders
    > >of the contents of the meme than its intrinsic existence as the medium of
    > >transmission.
    > So far as I know memetics has not been used to create a meme or resulting
    > social movement for either good or evil.

    This is a view that I would express support for.

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