Re: Meme Extinction

John Robb (
Wed, 28 May 1997 13:36:19 -0400

Date: Wed, 28 May 1997 13:36:19 -0400
From: John Robb <>
Subject: Re: Meme Extinction

I think what Peter means is that a meme which is extinct can be viewed
through an examination of its surroundings -- the impression it leaves,
its fossil. Joseph thinks that the act of reconstruction of an extinct
meme from surrounding evidence revives the meme. Both are right to a
limited extent.

I think the impasse is largely due to a lack of a clear definition of a

What is a meme? An idea in abstract. The evidence it leaves in storage
materials -- books, tape, and disk drives. The action by which an idea
incorporates itself into a living mind. The amalgam of combining a new
idea with the old conceptual structure within a living mind. The impact
of a new idea on society as a whole -- its splatter pattern. The action
by which it mutates to impact society as a whole. The extent to which a
society or individual changes course in response to a new idea -- the
delta in time paths.

Which one? I could come up with quite a few more. Each are equally
valid. However, our question should be: which is most useful?


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