Re: meme lineages

Ton Maas (
Tue, 8 Jul 1997 08:12:43 +0200

Message-Id: <v03102803afe78864edea@[]>
In-Reply-To: <>
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 08:12:43 +0200
From: Ton Maas <>
Subject: Re: meme lineages

Mark Mills said:

>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 reminds me of a story Gregory Bateson used to tell. Consider the case
of a person using a tool, say a blind person with a stick. Where does the
person "end" and the tool "begin"? Traditionally we feel inclined to
answer: "where the skin of the hand/fingers touch the tool". But from a
cybernetic point of view we should say that the operating system consists
of both person and stick. From the perspective of learning/adapting it is
useless to try and describe the "relata" in this case as individual
objects, since the learning/adapting is done by the larger unit.

Now what if we replace "tools" with "memes"?

Ton Maas

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