Re: Memes Meta-Memes and Politics 1 of 3 (1988, updates 2002)

From: Ronan Dodds (
Date: Mon Feb 11 2002 - 02:31:19 GMT

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    On Sun, 10 Feb 2002 13:04:41 Philip Jonkers wrote: >Keith: >> The new study is called memetics after "meme" (which rhymes with >> cream). "Meme" is a coined word from a Greek root for memory, and >> purposefully similar to "gene." Dawkins devoted the last chapter of his >> earlier book, The Selfish Gene, to defining memes and discussing the >> survival of these replicating information patterns within the meme-pool >> (roughly culture). "Meme" is close to "idea," but not all ideas are >> memes. An idea which fails to propagate beyond the person who first >> thinks of it is not a meme. "Beliefs," especially organized and promoted >> beliefs, are memes, or, depending on how you think about them, >> cooperating groups of memes. I will use memes, ideas, replicating >> information patterns, and beliefs as similar terms in this article. > >I'm with Derek when he argues that beliefs by themselves are not memetic. >A state of belief may emerge from adopted memes though. For example, the >meme `god exists' is easily transmitted to everyone. The actual belief in >the meme >is quite a different story. A first requirement of believing it is that it >has >to be compatible with your religious worldview. Atheists don't believe it, >christians >do. The concepts `belief' and `meme' thus seem to behave independently. > >Philip.

    Its funny that this should come up, as I've just tried explaining to one of my mates about the difference between God, the meme 'God', and the meme of belief in God. I don't think I did too well in explaining it.


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