Re: List of meme definitions

Ton Maas (
Mon, 27 Apr 1998 08:04:45 +0200

Message-Id: <v03102800b169ce4634c2@[]>
In-Reply-To: <004401bd6a6f$efb0d6e0$2570cacc@lil--elvis>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 08:04:45 +0200
From: Ton Maas <>
Subject: Re: List of meme definitions

Tim wrote:
>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.

Although the issue is important enough, the proposed solution doesn't cut
it. Whatever is stored in bibles or other media cannot be defined as memes,
unless we would accept the fact that they have an existence of their own,
outside our mental process. We might follow Ben Whorf in saying that
whatever gets written down, is nothing but the cadavre of a conversation
and quite irrelevant in terms of understanding the full dynamics of the
communicational process, which is after all much more about *relationship*
than about information or content matter. I'm sure he would have the same
gripe with memeticists as he had with linguists and ethnomethodologists -
namely that they were reifying the *wrong* aspect of the process.


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