Re: Machiavellian Memes

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Tue, 14 Oct 1997 15:11:56 -0700

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 15:11:56 -0700
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: Machiavellian Memes

N Rose wrote:
> Hi Mario,
> First let me apologise a bit for my last listing to you- which
> was a bit sarcastic. Hey, I could blame the weather, the
> pressures of academia, but there's no real excuse for being
> flippant about your objections. So let me start again.
> First off, we both *know* that memes do not have agency - but are
> passive information. I concede that the term 'replicator' when
> applied to memes can, for some people, imply agency. At first I
> didn't think people would make that assumption. It seems so
> obvious to me that memes cannot have agency that it's hard to
> believe that anyone would think that they did - or that *I*
> thought that they did. However, some feedback from one of my
> supervisors and a fellow memeticist (Hi Alex!) pointed out that,
> at times, they had thought I was implying meme agency. So I was
> wrong - the term 'replicator' (and 'active' statements) when
> applied to memes *does* generate confusion.

Dear Nick,

There is really no need for apology at all. There was nothing in your
posts which was meant to be insulting. We had a tough discussion, but as
I said, I liked it.
(Sorry to bother everyone with this kind of message, but I have no
personal email address of Nick. Maybe we should add our private mail
address on each post, so that we can exchange some information

That you can change your opinion proofs that you have the true spirit of
a memeticist. Many people, many scientists cannot admit any small
mistake. With regard to an earlier question on this list on about what
memetics can learn us (the example was about coca cola and Levis jeans,
etc.), I think this is an example: we should be very critical towards
our own opinions held for useful. We should, because even the most
elegant ideas might just be some tricky meme. As a matter of fact, the
more elegant, the more tricky they are. People who manage to achieve
this, already show to what better insights in memetics might lead for
everyday life: a society of more self critical, open minded people.

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