Re: Words and memes

From: Dace (
Date: Mon Feb 11 2002 - 03:06:30 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Words and memes
    Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 19:06:30 -0800
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    > > The key issue is whether the unit of culture is self-replicated or
    > > intentionally replicated by a conscious agent. Memes are active.
    > > Ideas are passive.
    > Charming, so we have a further division of camps. On the one side:
    > cultural elements are memes only when they are active and `in control'
    > and on the other side: memes are recursively and ubiquitously present
    > (including myself).

    That which is everywhere is nowhere. The term means nothing when it refers
    to everything.

    > What about the ideas that comprise cults for instance, such ideas drive
    > its hosts into sentiments of superiority and delusions of grandeur and
    > immortality. Are they still to be considered as passive while seeming
    > so propelling or do they cease to be ideas?
    > Confusing, please explain Ted...
    > Phil.

    The advantage of memes is that they carry culture without our direct
    supervision. Language is perpetuated memetically long after it arises in
    the course of intentional, human interaction. The downside is that they can
    promote cult as easily as culture. Memes don't know about truth or reason.
    L Ron Hubbard gets this funny idea that he's the savior of mankind, and the
    fact that it's a ridiculous lie doesn't keep it from taking on its own
    momentum once he's repeated it enough times. It continues propagating long
    after he's died. Hubbard conned people who wanted to believe they'd found
    *the answer*, the secret to happiness and immortality. The meme perpetuates
    this con, mindlessly exploiting people's emotional needs just as Hubbard did
    intentionally fifty years ago.


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