Re: List of meme definitions

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 19:04:03 -0700

From: "Tim Rhodes" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: List of meme definitions
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 19:04:03 -0700

Chris wrote:

>The encoding, by the human nervous system, of its memes in
>extra-neural media (such as paper, stone, vibrating air, etc.) is for
>the purpose of transmission of them to other human nervous systems.
>The meme is not a meme without the nervous system.

This returns to a question I ask a couple months ago without getting much in
the way of an answer: "If a meme is ONLY a meme inside a mind, what term
will we choose for the encoded material of transmission?"

In other words, if the bible is not itself full of memes (since a book is
not a nervous system), what does it contain? If the Bill Gates e-mail Aaron
posted is not a meme, what is it? I suppose we could continue to call them
"memes encoded into extra-neural media", but that is a clumsy and awkward
terminology at best.

Let's face it, if we, who are creating this new science of memes, cannot
even package our _own science_ in good memes, who do we think we're foolin'
here? :-)

>>>>>If we say that the "meme" is _the configuration_, what term will
>we chose for _the products_ of that configuration, the parts which
>actually transmit and replicate the configuration in another
>Please clarify, give example(s), of what you mean by "_the
>products_"/"parts which actually transmit..".

See above.

I think is important to distinguish between the meme as it exists
internally, in the "host" mind, and the rough and often inaccurate form it
is encoded into for transmission (be these words or drawings or gestures).
A vital link in the process of transmission is the memes ability to trigger
that encoding process in the host. I simply think it would be valuable to
define some terms we can all agree on for the encoded offspring of the meme,
in order to speak about this part of the process more clearly.

With curiosity about what a "meme" really is-
-Tim Rhodes

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