Re: Memetic Experience | And meme's anabiosis

t (erimann@ix.netcom.com)
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 00:29:02 -0700

From: <erimann@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 00:29:02 -0700
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
Subject: Re: Memetic Experience | And meme's anabiosis

Kastytis, I love your accent...sincerely. Your ideas are right there
shining away...ummm, thanks. I respond here to your contributions.

You wrote:
>So memetic anabiosis is possible?

Like I said, beautiful concept. I never heard of anabiosis but I have
been giving a lot of thought to the conditions you describe. Living
meme-carrying machines (humans in culture) leave tracks or signs of
their passing. We read the ancient text in much the same way as the
paleontologist reading the inner surface of a homonid brain case. We
derive meaning. We laugh or get agitated at a particularly exciting
moment. A trace of the meme continues beyond the life of the
culture/mind of origin. It may be bent and battered but its 'anabiotic'
state ends. cool

Other times, we share too little of the interpretive structure to 'get
it.' The joke, or meaning, goes right over our head. All we can do is
manufacture interpretation after interpretation assuming that perhaps
somewhere in all of it lies something close to the original meme behind
the structure. Prehistoric cave paintings and petroglyphs would seem to
fall under this scenario. The meme is quite faded, only a whisper deep
in the shared subconscious.

And you wrote:
>Misunderstanding is a way of meme adaptations. Evolution keeps up one
>adaptations and eliminates other ones. Some misunderstandings are birth >of new meme's variations, some - dead born memes.

Misunderstanding is not simply 'on' or 'off.' At its best, the
transmission of a meme from one carrier to another will result in
superficial deviation from the origin. Absolute replication is
impossible due to the involvement of environmental context. However,
there are many grades of 'good enough.' The successful meme maintains
identity in the necessary trade-off inherent in the transmission
process.

For most misunderstandings, successful memes carry on. When memes come
up against overwhelming misunderstanding, they cease to exist. The
balance between tolerable and terminal misunderstanding must be a
complicated thing to figure out...so many variables, so little time.

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