RE: What does the replicating?

Bill Benzon (
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 23:33:43 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 23:33:43 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: RE: What does the replicating?

Richard Brodie says:
>Sure, the DEFINITION of "good meme" (technically "fit meme") is
>replicative success. But you can then hypothesize and test empirically
>what characteristics such fit memes would have. This is a fecund and
>exciting area for memetic research! I threw out a few candidates in my
>book VIRUS OF THE MIND as broad categories of fit memes: (1) memes that
>push evolutionary buttons and thus attract attention (danger, food, sex,
>celebrity); (2) memes that promote self-replication by their very nature
>(tradition, evangelism); (3) memes that resist attack (faith,
>skepticism); (4) memes that utilize neocortical functions (making sense,
Possibly "yes" on 1 & 4, but 2 & 3 seem very weak; I suspect that, at the
core, they are just variants on the notions that nothing success like
success or nothing fails like failure.

Independently of that I don't know what a tradition "meme" would be. OTOH
there is the word and concept of tradition, which would stand muster as a
meme, but there are also all the various cultural practices to which the
word refers. I suspect that many of those practices can get along perfectly
well without the practitioners even having the explicit concept of
tradition. That is, one can act in a traditional way, without knowing the
word. So the word-meme tradition isn't necessarily what it is that governs
traditional behavior. Now, is the thing actually governing traditional
behavior also a meme, or is there a meme (ore meme-plex or memosome or
complex meme or whathaveyou) for each tradional behavior or, why not be
generous, and have both?

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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