Correction accepted: Meme Machine p. 45

Aaron Lynch (
Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:24:12 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:24:12 -0600
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Correction accepted: Meme Machine p. 45
In-Reply-To: <>

In a field where hostility is sometimes vented in the form of aggressive,
even pathological misreadings of a colleague's work, it is refreshing find
corrections being graciously accepted for misreadings that happened as
honest mistakes. Such is the case for a misreading of my work found on p.
45 of _The Meme Machine._

In the last paragraph, it says "Some authors, however, imply that virtually
everything we know is a meme (e.g., Brodie 1996; Gabora 1997; Lynch 1996).
On reading this, I wrote to Susan Blackmore to point out that my 1996 book
only considers "actively contagious ideas" --a subset of ideas generally--
as memes. I also pointed out that my 1991 and 1998 papers very formally and
explicitly rule out vast classes of memory items from consideration as
"memes." She did not remember why she included my book in the list on p.
45, but agreed to drop it in future printings of _The Meme Machine._ I
commend Susan Blackmore for accepting this correction intelligently and
politely. Meanwhile, I will make efforts to be more emphatic an repetitive
in my statements that only a special subclass of memory items are memes.

I agree with Blackmore that Brodie 1996 and Gabora 1997 belong on the list
of works implying that virtually everything we know is a meme. This is one
of the most important differences between those works and my own.

--Aaron Lynch

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