Re: Anyone here?

Robert G. Grimes (
Wed, 05 Nov 1997 19:17:40 -0500

Date: Wed, 05 Nov 1997 19:17:40 -0500
From: "Robert G. Grimes" <>
Subject: Re: Anyone here?

Ton Maas wrote:
Snip for brevity

> I admit to singing an old tune, but this brings us back to an issue that
> for me is still deeply problematic about memetics: the fact that
> "information" as it is currently defined, actually represents a case of
> misplaced concreteness or reification. Any reference to "information" as
> being stored or "dormant" ignores the fact that it informs only as it is
> being received/processed by somebody (or some thing with adequate
> capabilities). Information is therefore processual, relational and
> interactive and cannot be stored as such. Whatever is stored, is only the
> "carcass" of the original information (freely adapted from Ben Whorf). Or
> am I overlooking something?


You don't ever "overlook" anything but catch each variance as it occurs. I
was attempting to reply to a question about "inherited" memes but didn't want
to get into the same thread that the meme doesn't exist except in the
cognitive milieu. At least that is my position; however, the representation
of the meme, i.e., the husk or seed, separate from a cognitive milieu, can be
printed, codified, digitized, painted, and continued in the process of
transfer from organism to organism while the "society" of organisms changes
in its entirety. We have bibles with symbology that represents the meme
complex of a religion but the religion (or its memes) doesn't exist until or
unless that symbology is "read," filtered by the receptors and abstracted
and, again resides in the cognitive milieu, producing whatever stimulus it
may to encourage its replication by the organism. Thus, memetic structure,
complete and "working" exists only within the organism but its "armature" is
transferred, copied or replicated by various means from organism to organism
through speech, media, etc., and, again in my opinion, results in some pretty
astounding communicative results, i.e., a level of "understanding" which
occurs when the meme is "in place" in the receiving organism. As I stated
earlier, it is in this process of "replication" or copying and transmission
that the evolution is apt to occur, just as it may occur within the unique
environment of the receiving organism. Thus, we would have evolution whether
we wanted it or not as a result of the "process," which might be compared to
the games where people whisper concepts from one to another in a group and
then compare the original with the resultant from the last person. But it
would always occur as the abstractive process itself is a modifier just as
one person doesn't see the same colors as another.

I believe we are talking about the same process but perhaps I can word it
another way. Memetic information is symbiotic and synergistic, the whole is
greater than the some of its parts (meme symbology, organism and the memetic
construct within the organism). The codified material (which some would call
information) that passes between organisms or is symbolized in literature,
art, etc., is a codified mode of transfer. But, I was referring to all of
this as the "meme continuum" as there are: (1) Active memes within organisms,
(2) Codified memes in process of transfer (replication), from organism to
organism and, (3) What I referred to as meme husks, seeds, etc. (codified
memes) that are "dormant" as they are not "interacting with organisms" where
the resultant symbiotic relationship can commence again.

We seldom get the chance on the list of expressing these things individually,
in toto, and when I responded to a proposition about memes "having been here
all the time" I translated that concept into one that would be commensurate
with the current "models" that are being interchanged. As you well know, I
have always insisted that the meme didn't exist "outside the cognitive
milieu," for it is (in my opinion) the meme construct in place in the
organism and in that unique environment (chemistry, heredity and nurture)
that determines the "meme in situ," so to speak. Thus, in my opinion, as
with everything else, they are all unique but whose general characteristics
fit specific categories which, to the human observer, make them fall into
groups and domains, etc., "close enough for government work," as I have said

I do think that we are in agreement here but holler if I stepped out of

Good to hear from you again old friend...



Bob Grimes Jacksonville, Florida

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore....."

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