Re: Adventure Memes/Duration Memes

Karthik Swaminathan (
Tue, 26 May 1998 22:40:22 -0400

Date: Tue, 26 May 1998 22:40:22 -0400
From: Karthik Swaminathan <>
Subject: Re: Adventure Memes/Duration Memes

Aaron Lynch wrote:

> A related point is that there is an evolutionary connection between
> replication rate and preservation fidelity of memes. This is analogous to
> viruses, where a highly contagious virus does not need to keep a hold on
> its host for very long. Hence, the common cold is so contagious that it
> needn't evolve elaborate mechanisms to achieve life-long infection. Herpes
> simplex, on the other hand, often must wait for a host to change sex
> partners in order to retransmit. Hence, it must evolve mechanisms to evade
> the immune system for a long time. With memes, rumors exemplify the highly
> contagious infections that need not evolve long-term self-preservation
> mechanisms. A religion, on the other hand, has a long mean interval between
> retransmissions. So it must evolve mechanisms to preserve itself for
> decades in the average host. There is more about this in my article
> "Thought Contagion and Mass Belief" at

Thank you Aaron for a very interesting article.

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