RE: On 'information transmission'

Richard Brodie (
Thu, 4 Mar 1999 10:59:10 -0800

From: "Richard Brodie" <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: On 'information transmission'
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999 10:59:10 -0800
In-Reply-To: <>

Bob Grimes wrote (cordially as always):

<<it is readily apparent
that we only manage under the best of conditions to transmit a portion of
original information.>>

Another way of looking at this is that the memes we transmit may be
completely different from what we consciously intend to transmit. For
instance, after some time spent on email lists, many people tend to format
their messages in a standard sort of way. I've never seen anyone giving
explicit instructions on how to format email messages, but nevertheless that
meme gets transmitted, even if the content of the messages is ignored. And
it gets to the point where some people's formatting is so non-standard that
whatever they're saying gets lost in the metamessage of incredibility
announced by the formatting.

Much of the mail on this list recently has been less about the science of
memetics and more about jockeying for position in a perceived social
hierarchy of academic memetics. The information intended to be transmitted,
at least consciously, by the sender, has to penetrate a very formidable
filter to reach other players in this game.

We're having an interesting discussion of hierarchies over in the Church of
Virus list, which I invite any interested parties to join. No animal
sacrifices are required.

Richard Brodie
Author, "Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme"
Free newsletter! Visit Meme Central at

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)