Structures, memes, systems, etc.

Josip Pajk (
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 18:38:09 +0100

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 18:38:09 +0100
From: Josip Pajk <>
Subject: Structures, memes, systems, etc.
In-Reply-To: <

>Kastytis Beitas wrote:
>What about anabiosis analogy in memetics?
>There is anabiosis problem in biology. 'Anabiosed' organism is non-live.

There will be no such problem if a precise definition should exist in
biology of what a "anabiosis organism" is. In my opinion, a plantís seed
(!!out of a "favorable" environment!!) could not be defined as an organism.
It is not capable of producing even the simplest reaction. It is only a
STRUCTURE with an imprinted pattern, which is completely dependent about
the environment. Only in "particular" environmental states this structure
could arise in an organism (an island of organization capable to defeat
entropy for a limited life-time period). We could say that this organism is
a mean for the reconstitution of the "meme" that was "living" in the
parents that created the seed. BUT, even if the "mathematical" models
(patterns) upon which the "lineal descendent" organisms are growing from
seeds may be identical, every such organism is a particular entity more or
less different (semicompatible?) from itís parents and other entities of
the same species. If all entities of a species in the same period of time
would be identical how would selection (evolution) occur?

The answers to these questions have repercussions that are far beyond this
innocent discussion. When can we state a person is a living organism? Are
cells that participate in the human fertilization live organisms? What is
produced with cloning? What about euthanasia?

>Kastytis Beitas wrote:
>There are no Ďparticular systemí. But if some group of people learn to
>speak read this language (for example, this hypothetical historian), the
>system for this meme is recreated.

Yes, the yoke in the manuscript is a "would be" meme, but the manuscript
could stay in some archive for another thousand years, or maybe someone
could use it to ignite a fire. It was not the manuscript containing a
"would be" meme who recreated the system able to understand what is written
in the manuscript, but in the contrary, an EXISTING DYNAMIC SYSTEM
(environment), or by chance, or because it was searching for such kind of
"memes" reconstructed the meme (yoke) upon the pattern imprinted in the
manuscript by the aid of itís and other environmental resources at itís
disposition (knowledge, Internet) during the process of reconstitution.
Letís say that the "seed" in a "favorable environment" arisen in a new

>ROb wrote:
>Are you trying to say that the structure itself
>somehow contains enough information to reproduce the meme? The structure
>must explicity include instructions on how to sustain and replicate
>itself. The instructions, and whatever structures function to serve these
>ends are the memes. And the same structure's memes may mutate so to
>succeed in other contexts. The source code changes but the program is

Yes, the source code that defines the program of a dynamic system changes
(mutates) in order to adapt the program to that particular "computer" or
even to change the program itself. Where does it happen - Inside or outside
of the system? What is the meme in this example - The source code or the

The structure itself contains no information, or better, contains
information only for a system able to decode the received structure
(pattern). Thatís why I say that there are no memes or information outside
of a system. Unfortunately, there are only delivered structures (signals,
patterns) on which the creator system have no more influence. What
information, or what particular meme would another system extract
(recognize) from these structures is out of creatorís control.

>John Wilkins wrote:

>How does this differ from genes? Gene lineages in cell types within an
>organism also mutate. Therefore, so do gene lineages in gamete cells. Some
>mutations are internally selected against (sperm that "fail" to meet some
>criterion and so are apoptosed, for instance) and some fail to successfully
>develop a viable zygote. Here is autopoietic and allopoietic capability.

Unfortunately, Iím not a genetic expert, but how I understood, two genomes
with the complete set of heploid chromosomes in the parents reproductive
cells in the moment of fertilization establish the genetic constitution of
the new organism. This genotype is UNIQUE and IMMUTABLE for this particular

Memes, on the other hand, are more "flexible", they are in a continuous
competitive process inside a particular entity (system) with other memes
building the unique informational (memetics) dynamic structure of that
entity (system) as a whole.

>John Wilkins wrote:
>But memes, like genes, are digital entities and are subjected to error
>correction. Their fidelity must be high, or the differences will accrue
>quickly enough so that selection would be the least effective force on the
>change, and thus evolution as such would not occur.
>The reason why I say that memes are digital entities (see Dawkins' _River
>out of Eden_) is that they are, quite literally, messages in a protocol,
>and all protocols have the capacity to reconstruct some portion of a
>message and to reject incomplete and garbled messages. Memes are subject to
>Shannon-Weaver entropy.
>What you are proposing for memes is a form of blending inheritance (the
>idea that heredity is analogue and that recombination of memes/genes
>creates an intermediate form). This would rapidly stop evolution, for
>variants would not persist in the gene pool/meme pool. If memes are not
>recombinant, but are more like asexual lineages, then you will get what
>Eigen calls a "quasispecies" - a clustering of lineages about some optimal
>mean in the space of possibilities, and again no change will result.

I understand that memes are digital entities, but even with 0 & 1 entities
it is possible to build structures (16 million dynamic color pictures) of
complex landscapes. I do not understand how "protocols have the capacity to
reconstruct some portion of a message". Only systems familiar with the
protocol agreed between the "source" and the "destination" have this
capacity. Protocol or syntax elements (agreed structures) are incorporated
in the messageís envelope and have no functional relation with itís
semantic content.
Shannon-Weaver entropy is applied to the whole structure (signal)
transported through the communication channel. When they are speaking about
"information" it is not the information of the "source" and "destination"
system, but the structure transported through the communication channel.
The destination system has other means of information extraction (memes
recognition) even from received structures of poor quality by the use of
its previous knowledge (memetic/informational structure).

After this I must take a vacation.


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