RE: Words and Memes

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 18:51:19 GMT

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    Subject: RE: Words and Memes
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    > Ideas become memetic only when they self-replicate. When they replicate
    > through human intention, they're just ideas. Yes, memes can involve
    > behavior as well as ideas. But if we equate memes with behavior
    > and ideas,
    > then we might as well just refer to behavior and ideas and forget about
    > "memes." There has to be something that distinguishes some behaviors and
    > ideas from others. When they're not only habitual but *culturally*
    > habitual, then they constitute memes.
    > Ted

    Yes, well said. This is how we view memes. Memes are ideas or beliefs that
    specifically have structures and elements (primarily linguistic or symbolic)
    that will enable to self-disseminate and self-defend. If an idea does not
    have these structures it is not a meme.

    Memes are not behaviors because behaviors _can_ have no idea behind them,
    nor need have self-replicating structures. A behavior, if it given these
    structures and an idea or belief embedded within it, can then but only then
    serve as a medium for a meme. i would add, for this same reason other
    instances of the human experience are not memes either, e.g. emotions, or
    the expression of emotions....unless they are embedded in the memetic
    To take this a little further: It is the structure that allows
    self-diseemination and self-defense that makes a thing a meme, not the thing

    We're going to have to get some Venn diagrams going here. ;-)


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