Re: meme lineages

Bill Benzon (
Thu, 3 Jul 1997 06:18:28 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 1997 06:18:28 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: meme lineages

Robert G. Grimes wrote:

> Bill,
> 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).

I don't understand this paragraph. My best guess is that you are
asserting a mind/brain dualism in which memes are in minds (which are
somehow connected up with brains) and memes can be acceptably identical
between people (what you call "effect or image") despite arbitrarily
different & individually unique "physical construct" in their respective
brains. Mind/brain dualism is an old and well-accepted philosophical
position, but I'm probably not terribly sympathetic to it. However...

I have no difficulty with the idea that there is substantial agreement
between people on a wide range of concepts; social life would be
impossible without it. But I think that agreement needs to be explained.
Somehow it is the result of a social processes in which people interact
by exchanging "meme husks" with one another. Among many other things, I
want to know how this social process works.

> 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
> representations.

That is, it eliminates from consideration much of what actually happens
in human interaction.

> 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,

What are these things? Patterns of physical energy in the brain?
Disembodied memes in disembodied minds? Where does the verisimilitude
come from?

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

How do you know they are equivalent? Because you have defined them to
be? Do the people speaking different languages know that they are
talking about the same things?

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

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