Re: meme lineage

Robert G. Grimes (
Wed, 02 Jul 1997 14:32:38 -0400

Date: Wed, 02 Jul 1997 14:32:38 -0400
From: "Robert G. Grimes" <>
Subject: Re: meme lineage

Bill Benzon wrote:
> Hans-Cees:
> I've been through your paper & I have a question about your notion of the
> lineage of a meme. As an example you use the concept of democracy which
> came up in the course of the policy formation process you describe. Snip

> All that
> is passed along or replicated from one person to another is the code
> element "democratic principles." When B receives that code element from A,
> his brain links the code element to whatever meaning is already stored in
> his brain. That meaning may or may not be very similar to A's meaning but,
> whatever the similarity, it has nothing to do with this particular
> transaction.


Your comments take me back to discussions held on Alt.memetics sometime
back where we discussed that a meme couldn't exist outside of the mind
but that only the "husk or seed" of a meme, i.e., the symbology
representing the meme in its milieu, could be spoken, written, etc. The
physical construct of the meme with its associative references and
electro-chemical attributes (including any neural transmitters or
hormones possibly stimulated when the meme is "accessed") would actually
be unique in each and every individual but the "effect or image" as
stimulated by the symbology would be as close of a "replication" as
could be achieved under the circumstances (such as perceived color to
true color).

This conceptually takes care of problems associated with language
differences, the descriptive narrative of a meme - spoken or written -
and other storable or recordable constructs, i.e., digitized

The implications attributed to linguistic evolutionary "prewiring or
hardwiring" elaborated by Noam Chomsky could easily be associated with
meme identities, i.e., a predilection toward conscious imagery
constructs of verisimilitude, that are stimulated by the symbology and
are shared by disparate individuals.

Thus, "equivalent" memes can exist and operate (evolve and replicate) in
various races and linguistic groups when the symbology is entirely

Since there is easily an argument that there is no "identity" in nature
anyway, it solves the "appearance of sameness" of replicated memes when
such constructs would appear to be unique but possessing verisimilitude.

I'm interested in your opinion if I've missed a point or have
"over-reached" in this description of the subject. "True replication"
would appear to some to be an impossibility but "effective or equivalent
replication" would seem to suffice without losing any of the import and
strength of the memetic concept. Individual mental associations and
brain chemistry could affect such evolution and replication in a similar
relationship as alleles and genes.



Bob Grimes Jacksonville, Florida

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore....."

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