Re: Meme pools?

Hans-Cees Speel (
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 09:00:11 +0000

From: Hans-Cees Speel <>
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 09:00:11 +0000
Subject: Re: Meme pools?

If you are interested in meme pools, you might want to read my first
essay online. It has a lot of text on that. I will copy it in this
mail. For all the concepts you should read the whole text:

A definition for the memepool and its unit-pool
After the analysis of some analogies and differences between
memes, genes and viruses we can return to the definition of a
replicator pool, and unit-pool in memetics. According to the
replicator pool characterization previously, the memepool is a
content description (in terms of memes) of a unit-pool which
boundaries are determined by communication or replication
mechanisms in it that replicate replicators from identical
lineages. A memetic unit-pool thus exists of replicator
mechanisms (brains, or minds), that are connected by
replicator-lineages. According to this definition, two minds
that share a meme-lineage belong to the same unit-pool.
Boundaries between memetic unit-pools occur: where humans do
not communicate, where memes are transmitted, but not
replicated, because they are not understood, or ignored for
other reasons. Such almost physical boundaries occur between
people that speak different languages, or that use different
paradigms in a scientific community.
However, if we take the criterium that all humans (being the
replication mechanisms) that have ones shared, or share only
one lineage must be counted as vehicles in the same unit-pool,
virtually all humans belong to one big unit-pool in
contemporary society. This is the case of course because of
the horizontal multiple parent spreading, which characterizes
a great part of memetic dissemination, as well as because
there is an enormous amount of memetic information in every
For example, if a theory is used in a scientific discipline
the replication sphere for this lineage would be the minds (or
parts of the brain that replicate) of scientists involved.
These scientists are thus part of the unit-pool for this
theory lineage.
If we imagine that the scientists work on environmental
problems, like acid rain, they will probably replicate
theories that belong to the same lineage, as government
workers that are involved in policy planning to solve that
problem. According to the characterization of a unit-pool,
both scientists and government workers should thus be included
in the unit-pool. Both share identical meme lineages.
According to the definition of the unit-pool different
lineages that are replicated simultaneously belong to the same
replicator unit, and pool. This means that all other lineages
that are replicated by the scientists must also be counted as
a part of the memepool (If we relax the criterium that they
must be replicated at the same time). But if the scientists
also share some meme lineages with philosophers, regarding
methodology for instance, and with many other professional
groups, not to mention with people they deal with in the
personal sphere, the unit-pool will in reality virtually be
unlimited, since the philosophers, etc. will in their turn
share identical meme lineages with other people again, etc.
While genetic unit-pools are highly constrained because
interspecies breeding is impossible, and populations of the
same species can be divided geographically, memetic evolution
might not have such boundaries.

Theories come and go, the frog stays [F. Jacob]
Hans-Cees Speel
Managing Editor "Journal of Memetics Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission"

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I work at:
|School of Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and management
|Technical University Delft, Jaffalaan 5 2600 GA Delft PO Box 5015 The Netherlands

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