Re: Emotional memes?

Aaron Lynch (
Fri, 28 Aug 1998 11:47:36 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 11:47:36 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: Emotional memes?
In-Reply-To: <>

At 03:14 PM 8/28/98 -0400, Derek Gatherer wrote:

>It's more than that. The issue is: what is memetics all about? It's
>been going for 22 years now, and has made not exactly impressive
>progress, because we are chasing things which aren't there, or rather
>they are right under our noses, but we insist on looking for them

Actually, the slow progress must also be attributed to delays in getting
people to take up the subject as major parts of their careers. Dawkins, for
instance, could only devote a small fraction of his time to memetics given
his commitment to biological sciences.

You also might not be aware that publishers were hesitant to publish titles
in this area, because it did not fit any recognized formulas or markets.
They wanted to know that at least there would be some academic discipline
whose members would go out and buy the book, but the term "memetics" left
editors scratching their heads.

My own manuscript was first copyrighted in March, 1993. I then sent it to
Douglas Hofstadter, who wanted to help get it published. But, as he was in
Italy and extremely busy, he had to postpone reading it until late 1993.
Then his wife died in fall 1993, and it was two more years before he was
back to himself enough to read the book. (Meanwhile, I had 2 years of
dealing with editors who never heard of memetics.) It's a different story
now, as editors and agents are eager to see my next title.

I know that Derek has a vastly different concept of how memetics should
proceed, but the fact that the progress of memetics as such does not
reflect 22 years of full-time effort by numerous people should not be taken
as evidence that we are on the wrong track. To really see 22 years worth of
results, we should start the clock much later than 1976.

--Aaron Lynch

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