Re: Meaning generation

Mark Mills (mmmills@OnRamp.NET)
Tue, 29 Jul 97 21:47:30 -0000

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Meaning generation
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 97 21:47:30 -0000
From: Mark Mills <mmmills@OnRamp.NET>
To: memetics list <>


>The essence of Dawkins' suggestion--and the fundamental assumption of
>memetics--is that the meme is *a new kind* of replicator, not just a
>a more evolved manifestation of genetics.

Are you requiring memetics to be an independently initiated evolving
system, something that exists in domains where there are no biological
entities? One might propose computers as an example of such a domain. A
world entirely driven by computers and robots is popular in the science
fiction genre. I suspect that even a cybernet world gives enough clues
about its source to make a evolution from genetic sources manifest,

>The cultural behavior of humans, once
>the biological bases that the sociobiologists think about is factored
>out, is not determined by genetic inheritance. That's the whole point.

I suspect this encapsulates a fundamental philosophical difference.
IMHO, culture and biology are inextricably linked.

Most people are biologically pre-set to concentrate on human voices. When
we are growing up, we hear a lot of things. As Martti Nyman pointed out,
all of us heard dogs barking. Few grow up with a great vocabulary of dog

Those that don't focus on human voices are generally called autistic and
institutionalized, few produce children. This represents an extremely
strong evolutionary bias towards high levels of focus on human activity
and simultaneous mimicry.

Everything we ever say, every word and every gesture (including
circumambulating), grows from the biological inheritance to focus on
human activity and mimic the experience. Experience colors and shades
our pre-dispositions. IMHO, experience 'embodies' our inborn

This conversation is really the famous nature-nurture dialog. I hope we
can agree on a set of definitions for memetics that allow for exploration
of these issues and avoid 'defining' a solution. My substrate-code focus
for memes allows for a physical examination of the brain and human system
without bias about specific use or intent. One can still have the
nature-nurture dialog, hopefully at a higher level.

(I hope Ton Maas find echos of his comments in this)


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