Re: Genetics/Memetics analogy

Arel Lucas (
Wed, 09 Jul 1997 16:29:27 -0700

Date: Wed, 09 Jul 1997 16:29:27 -0700
From: Arel Lucas <>
Subject: Re: Genetics/Memetics analogy

Mark Mills wrote:

>One difficulty that immediately comes to mind is the notion that the
>number of genes is relatively fixed while every experience represents a
>new meme.

I hope I'm not jumping in impertinently on an ongoing discussion, but
this is a topic about which I've been cogitating lately. Memetics is a
field I entered shortly after Dawkins invented the meme, and which I
named, but more or less abandoned temporarily in favor of motherhood. My
child is now an adolescent, and I itch for intellectual challenge again.

I do not think that every experience represents a meme. "Experience" is
an abstract for a series of percepts which may or may not be classified
or encoded by the perceiving brain. Only replicable experiences that are
encoded in the ideosphere and can be spread to other brains in an encoded
state can be memes.

Using a receptor-site analogy (though I don't know how to fit this into
Calvin's model, which I've adopted in my present thinking), only one meme
in a scheme would have to "bind" initially, leaving the possibility that
a limited number of binders and lookalikes exist. These would have
evolved to "fit" "shapes" in mental receptors; or perhaps we could think
of them as enabling comforting or compatible patterns in Calvin's
workspace. These binders can drag with them "cooperating" or compatible
memes linked in a scheme (meme complex) and create receptive workspace
conditions for their adoption, thus preparing the mind to prejudge
further "cooperative" or competing memes/schemes. Binders and lookalikes
thus might bind to or "shape" censoring functions. For fun, in a rhyming
scheme I've invented for memetics, I call these binders/lookalikes
"beams," as in a beam of light, as in "I see the light"
(*Die Dreigroschenoper*--"Sei nur ein grosses Licht!")

This viewpoint might enable thinking about a classification schema in
which all memes could be divided into mutually exclusive (incompatible)
teams or (with your indulgence) "reams." (For instance, tolerance versus
prejudice; but not all memes are antagonistic in such a digital fashion.)
Growing out of this possibility might be a knowledge classification
schema based on brain function rather than on more arbitrary divisions.

I will appreciate comments, references, etc. relating to the above.
Thank you.

Arel Lucas

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