Meme pools? (continued)

Dr I Price (
Sat, 21 Jun 1997 02:53:52 -0400

Date: Sat, 21 Jun 1997 02:53:52 -0400
From: Dr I Price <>
Subject: Meme pools? (continued)
To: "" <>

Alex writes

>I would agree with most of this. It is the recognition of the
constraining power of these collective phenomena, (which we can
generally term, 'paradigms') which will allow us to understand cultural
and social evolution. Individual messages (individual works) flashing
throughout the social structure, gain their semantic significance, their
vocabulary and their syntax from pre-existing paradigms (adapted to
particular circumstances). As Dr. Price suggests, these paradigms define
sets of rules for behaviour in any given domain. This rule-based
definition of cultural activity is just as prevalent in the domain of
Art as much as that of politics, corporate structures, language or any
other collective social activity. Contrary to the prevailing myth,
artists do not create works in some ad hoc or spontaneous fashion any
more than Einstein did. It may be useful for anyone seeking to
understand the evolution of culture to have a look at how the various
different cultural systems theorize their own activities. These
(behavioural) rules may be seen as the limits to permissible behaviour
as defined by accumulated results of past experience which of course
keeps changing.

Where are the memes in all this? Are they the informational equivalent
of the paradigms,<


1. Thanks Alex. It is always nice to be agreed with

2. I agree with you that 'paradigms' in various field define their own ru=
set. They get called other things of course in other contexts which is pa=
of the cross-field mapping you talked about.

3. For me the memes are the components of the paradigm/language. The
addition of the 'meme as replicator' allows one to play the Dawkins trick=

that I term Metaphoric Replicator Inentionality or MRI and see the
'paradigms' as enabling/ preserving a structure for their replication, a
memetic ESS. The structure does not exist for the good of the humans in i=
It exists for the good of the meme [aka paradigm aka various other names =
other fields]

This as you say Alex takes us away from the atomistic model of memes,
though by my reading Dawkins makes it pretty clear that he is not taking =
atomistic view of genes anyway. =

As I understand it a single gene is actually a fairly arbitrary concept=
The observer puts the full stop in the genetic code where he or she think=
it should go. I would say the same thing about memes. We may isolate litt=
ones like masturbation taboos but the big ones are really complex coadapt=
systems. I am less interested in mapping the details and more in the poin=
where a particular cultural/ organisational meme/ memome becomes
dysfunctional to its hosts.

If Price
Active Personal Learning, Guildford UK

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