RE: information transmission

Mark Mills (
Mon, 22 Mar 99 23:47:40 -0600

Subject: RE: information transmission
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 99 23:47:40 -0600
From: Mark Mills <>
To: "Memetics List" <>


>><<b) genes are things, memes are things: Brodie and Benzon probably come
>>closest to this view.>>

>Genes and memes are both concepts, useful if they help us make useful
>predictions. For instance, you can predict that a child taught that success
>depends on hard work and disciplined study, and who then goes on to work
>hard and study in a disciplined way, will go on to pass that teaching on to
>others (probably regardless of whether she considers herself a success in
>the end). That teaching is a meme. It influences the child's behavior in
>such a way that the child passes the meme on to others.

Thank you for the clarification. I'll drop your name from my list of
adherents to memetic perspective (b).

Your use of terms like 'passes' (the child passes the meme) to describe
meme population change strongly suggests the 'memes are things'
perspective, though.

In standard English usage, one 'passes' things. A quarterback passes
the ball. A lawyer insures the deed passes to the rightful heir.
Animals pass their food after digestion.

Concepts are replicated, reconstructed, regenerated or recreated, but not
'passed.' No one seriously thinks they can take an idea and plant it, as
an identical neural network, in another mind. This sort of thing occurs
only in 'mind reading' or 'extra-sensory perception' experiences. We are
all forced to let other recreate our concepts and then use some sort of
feedback loop to convince ourselves that adequate isomorphism exists
between the original (in our head) and the recreated version.

I think it was the comments using verbs like 'pass' to describe meme
population changes that convinced me your perspective used the 'memes are
things' logic.


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