Re: meme lineages

Mark Mills (mmmills@OnRamp.NET)
Mon, 7 Jul 97 19:26:35 -0000

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: meme lineages
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 97 19:26:35 -0000
From: Mark Mills <mmmills@OnRamp.NET>
To: memetics <>

Bob Grimes wrote:

>I don't believe in ESP or "non-physicial meme/mind
>stuff." I do believe that it is apparent that the symbology doesn't
>carry the total meme construct.

This comment led me in some odd directions...

I began to wonder if the 'meme as idea' concept represents a twist on the
ghost or fairy-spirit notion, something of a scientific name for entities
of the 'other side.' The 'meme as idea' seems to live as a cognitive
(spiritual) entity devoid of physical body just like a ghost. Since we
have a hard time placing ghosts in a Newtonian universe (ie, haunted
house, etc), we use the magic of Darwin and neuro-complexity to imagine
they live in minds and survive by a 'replication' process.

For example, there is supposed to be a haunted house down the street from
my office. Perhaps the ghost is not in the 'house,' but in the minds of
'believers.' The ghost lives as long as people remember it and share
the tale. If it is written down, it may come back to life when an
unsuspecting individual reads the haunting words.

This allows us to get the ghost out of the Newtonian world, but remain in
the experiential domain.

Thus, ghost, fairy and meme (meme as idea) become interchangeable. Meme
and 'curse' are probably probably equivalent, too. Here are some example
phrases: The ghost/fairy/meme made me do it. The ghost/fairy/meme spilt
the milk. The curse/meme is my family's ruin.

Just an idea, probably biased by my inclination to view memes as inert
coded substrate. I thought someone might help me distinguish between
ghosts and 'memes as ideas,' though.


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