Re: Significance of memetics

Lloyd Robertson (
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 17:34:33 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 17:34:33 -0600
From: Lloyd Robertson <>
Subject: Re: Significance of memetics
In-Reply-To: <Pine.SOL.3.96.981122134907.3240B-100000@rocky-gw.oswego.ed

At 02:10 PM 22/11/98 -0500, levy@Oswego.EDU wrote:
>If this is the case then we should notice this more directly when more
>comprehensive languages are developed, alowing for more externalization of
>internal representation and assimilation. One implication is that the
>transfer of high level semantic structures can result in bonds between
>minds, transfering the control over the activity of a group of bodies to
>to the level of the self-organizing group mind.
> -Robert P. Levy-

When the Rev. Jimmy Jones suggested to his followers that they
compassionately administer cynanide to their young children and then mass
suicide, was he giving an order to a group of automatons or was he voicing
the consensous of the group mind? And should we call it a group mind at all
(I have trouble anthropomorphizing collections of memes)? Could we not say
that the collection of memes forming the group's religious subculture
restricted their perceived options, increasingly so as the crisis continued
until suicide appeared to be the only viable solution.

It seems to me that if it was all a matter of a psychopathic Jones who was
endowed with plenty of personal charisma then those members left in the
U.S. would not have suicided during the month following Jonestown. A more
likely process is that the suicide meme easily attached to the belief
system shared by the whole group.



This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)