Re: Memosomes as Collections of Memes

Omar de la Cruz (
Mon, 02 Jun 1997 16:31:30 -0400

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Memosomes as Collections of Memes
Date: Mon, 02 Jun 1997 16:31:30 -0400
From: Omar de la Cruz <>

Timothy Perper/Martha Cornog wrote:

>"hybrid." Therefore the two sets of laws are memosomes -- not identical,
>but capable of exchanging elements of themselves with each other. The two
>sets of memes are *homologous*.

OD:This idea seems to be closely related to the concept of reasoning by analogy,
where we draw conclusions from some set of information using the conclusions
obtained from an "analogous" (but not necessarily identical) set of information.
The "analogy" between the sets of information can be partial, even weak, but
many times that is enough to obtain valid e interesting conclusions. Of course,
analogies also produce incorrect results.

I tend to think that the process of crossing-over happens primarily in individual
minds, and then the product spreads (of course, it can happen in several different
minds simultaneously, but in this case it is a repeated discrete
event). For example,
in a community people have a recipe for apple pie, which includes cinnamon, and
a recipe for cherry pie, which doesn't. A cook preparing a cherry pie can suddenly
realize that if cinnamon gives a good taste to apple pie, it could also work for
cherry pie. This reasoning by analogy gives origin to a 'crossed-over' memosome,
the 'cherry pie with cinnamon' memosome. That memosome will spread if it manages
to manipulate the cook into communicating it to other cooks, which probably depends
on the good or bad taste of the cherry pie with cinnamon.

Are there alternatives? Can the cross-over happen in a "diffuse", gradual way? In
the pies example that is hard to imagine, but perhaps there are other examples
where two memosomes exchange information gradually, in a way that nobody can claim
to be the creator of the new idea.

The point is to assess the importance of reasoning by analogy (which can be thought
of as a discrete event) in memetic cross-over. Its importance in human reasoning
is well known (and it is one of the most difficult characteristics of human
intelligence to model in a computer) so it is tempting to assert that the ability to
reason by analogy is one of the causes of the memetic richness of human culture (in
a similar way that sexual reproduction is one of the main causes of the genetic
richness in the biosphere)

Let me mention here too that there is a limitation in the analogy
between chromosomes
and memosomes. The product of the cross-over of two chromosomes is a new chromosome,
and the two original chromosomes don't appear in the descendant; they
are "forgotten",
so to speak. However, the creation of a new memosome by the cross-over of other two
does not entail the destruction of the old ones: after creating the cherry pie with
cinnamon, the cook hasn't forgotten about the apple pie or the cherry pie without
cinnamon. However, in some cases there is a virtual substitution: if
the cherry pie
with cinnamon tastes much better than the original recipe, it will
probably substitute
completely the old recipe, and become *the* recipe for cherry pie.



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