Re: List of meme definitions

Adrian Kelleher (
Thu, 09 Apr 1998 12:19:14 +0100

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 09 Apr 1998 12:19:14 +0100
From: Adrian Kelleher <>
Subject: Re: List of meme definitions

(A. Lynch, JoM Vol 2/No. 2), the definition of meme quoted elsewhere in
the paper results in some odd conclusions, in particular:

..... A*B formed by the event ~A*B+A*~B->~A*B+A*B is not a meme,
although it is meme-derived.

Yet as mentioned earlier, A*B can also propagate as a set by the
non-parental conversion event A*B+~A*~B->2A*B. Formed this way,
A*B is a meme. Thus, the host population of A*B is yet another mixture of
memes and meme-derived mnemons.
[end of extract] (under the definition given, classifying only those memory
abstractions arising from previous instances of an 'identical' memory
abstraction as memes), A*B is sometimes a meme and sometimes not a
meme, depending on the circumstances of its creation - this strikes me
as untenable for the following reasons:

i) A*B=A*B=A*B - equal things should have equal attributes, so
A*B should surely be a meme either always or never, otherwise the
notation needs to be changed.
ii) The host populations of the meme and non-meme varieties
cannot easily be distinguished.
For example, in the bee pollen example quoted in the paper, is the
'bee pollen invigorates' belief in a purchaser a meme or not a meme? We
need to find the original persuader (the merchant in this example) to find
out (in order to verify he wasn't being disingenuous). This may
frequently be impossible.
iii) Under this constraint, a novel idea or discovery which
propagates through a population is a meme for all hosts except the
discoverer! (S/he is the only host who's belief doesn't originate from a
prior instance of the same belief set).


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