Re: memetics-digest V1 #19

Josip Pajk (
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 11:08:48 +0100

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 11:08:48 +0100
From: Josip Pajk <>
Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #19
In-Reply-To: <Pine.SOL.3.96.980223232130.7438A-100000@rocky-gw.oswego.ed

At 23:50 23.02.98 -0500, Rob wrote:

>Yes, a structure or (as is very often the case) an instruction.
An instruction is also a structure, but it "works" properly only for the
control of (static) systems with rigid internal structures (machines), with
no capability of learning (self-evolution). The same instruction applied to
a dynamic system will not produce always the same (wanted) output, because
dynamic systems are not affected only by the present state of the applied
input but also by how the past process of input change affected the change
in their internal states.

>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
Iím arguing here with the conception of the memeís ability of
self-replication. The existence of memes (the same as for "selfish" genes
and organisms) and their replication could be performed only in a system.
Therefore, there are no memes (nor genes) with-out and out-of a system
(organism). OK?
Unlike genes, which are stochastically replicating in the evolution of
species, and maintain their structures within an entity, memes are
continuously evolving even in a particular relatively isolated system with
a distinct "autopoesis" and "allopoesis" capability (see the "evolution of
one" on the PCP node):

Letís make things more simple, even if it is not always a good method:
A system with a "living" meme produces a piece of paper with inscribed
patterns. Has this meme the self-replication capability? NO. We can address
this piece of paper only as a structure representing a meme (it is not the
original meme). We need a whole system with a copy machine and the WILL
(goal) to make copies of this particular meme picture. BUT, the "quality"
of the copy is affected by the "quality" of the system that made the first
replica and that of the copy machine. So, what we finally have? A number of
copies (structures) containing replicas of "would be" memes. Only if one of
these copies, by chance, came in the contact with another semicompatible
system it is possible that a creation of a "living" replica of the original
meme could happen. It is not likely that this new "living" replica will be
identical to the original meme because the originatorís and the recreatorís
systems have different internal structures upon which their memes are
created. Is this mutation?
This is QUALITY! This difference between the original and the replica makes
things go on. Without this difference there will be no progress.
See more about Quality and Quantity in the ongoing "private" discussion on

>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?

We must differentiate here two kinds of "quality":
-the quality of a meme, and
-the quality of the copy (structure) that represents the meme.

The quality of a meme is individual for any system that received the copy
(structure) representing the meme. If the system "needs" this particular
meme it is GOOD for it, if not needed, the meme is rejected.

The quality of the copy is more a "technical" thing. For example, if you
are spreading pictures of memes in a printed (rigid) form you need more
copies (quantity) than if you spread them in a more flexible way (i.e. on a
Web site) when you need only one copy which is continuously evolving.


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