RE: Words and memes

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Sun Feb 10 2002 - 20:25:04 GMT

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    From: "Steve Drew" <>
    Subject: RE: Words and memes
    Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 20:25:04 +0000
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    >Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2002 08:44:52 -0500
    From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <>
    Subject: RE: Words and memes

    I would like to take a different tack here.

    People are not stupid (oh, okay, not totally so). They have the
    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
    '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
    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 we
    have, thus the mutation of memes within and by the individual.) Ideas
    only be taken up if the individual, rightly or wrongly, concluded that
    it is
    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
    conforming to group standards and all that flows from that is the
    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 of
    values differ person to person, as do the levels of certainty that we
    require within our judgment-making processes.

    Does this model help?


    > > > At the other end of this spectrum, you have memes that spread by
    > > > people to go out and do glassy eyed recruiting.  Memes like
    > > > or Moonies spread by directly inducing behavior of no value
    >to the host
    > > > rather than indirectly by being darned useful to the host.

    It does indeed. I have tried to say something similar but not as clearly as
    you have.



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