Re: memetics-digest V1 #19

t (levy@Oswego.EDU)
Mon, 23 Feb 1998 23:50:37 -0500 (EST)

From: <levy@Oswego.EDU>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 23:50:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #19
In-Reply-To: <>

you wrote:

> Shouldn't that read: "A structure that is understood in other
> semicompatible systems has an advantage over others that do not, and
> therefore such structure are selected for as memes." ?
> - -Tim Rhodes

Yes, a structure or (as is very often the case) an instruction.

> If the meme mutates it is not anymore the same meme. The copy is never
> identical to the original. Every copy is slightly different from the
> original. What about the copy of a copy? What are the criteria for meme
> evaluation? What is a GOOD meme, and what is a BAD meme? Every dynamic
> system has it=92s own criteria of evaluation. I agree that in

Well we aren't going to get any further than the philosophers do chasing
that elusive "identity", ie "am i the same person i was 20 minutes ago?"
What is the criteria for saying "ok now the thing is something different"?
Personally I see "identity" as a spook, non-real, it has good memes.
[segway] Can't we broadly define the "quality" of a meme as it's ability
to make copies of itself compared to the ability of *competing* memes's
ability to self-replicate? I realize this is reductionistic, but that is
a start. To the best of my knowledge, the rest of memetic theory is
determining what factors contribute to memes' ability to reproduce, maybe
what effects the memes have on their hosts, and what are memes doing
today/ historically. Or am I way off topic here?

> A GOOD meme for one system (or a group of semicompatible systems), may be=
> BAD one for other systems. A system is the sole environment where memes
> (their mutations) can survive i.e. the evaluation of their quality.
> If the meme is the pattern hidden in a seed of a beautiful flower perishe=
> last summer, this pattern could be revealed again only if the seed falls =
> an environment advantageous (matter, energy) for plant growth. Was the me=
> in the seed BAD if this does not happen?

Yes. But of course this evaluation is only a judjement of quantity.
Quality exists to further quantity. I think that what you are asking is
-if a meme only a few times produces the structure necessary to spread
that meme, can the meme still be a good meme because the produced
structure is of high quality? I'm probably mangling the memes you
transmitted right now, but from what it seems you are bring something more
to the definition of GOOD meme than the basic _measure of success is based
on quantity_ definition. The beauty of the flower might result in some
helper structure (an insect perhaps?) spreading the flower's memes. Or am
I missing what exactly it is that you are including in the definition of


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"What's the sense in ever thinking about the tomb,
when you're much too busy returning to the womb?"

-They Might Be Giants

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