"More Real"

Reed Konsler (konsler@ascat.harvard.edu)
Thu, 8 Apr 1999 12:37:19 -0400

Message-Id: <v02140b06b332880e5124@[]>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 12:37:19 -0400
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
From: konsler@ascat.harvard.edu (Reed Konsler)
Subject: "More Real"

>From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <D.Gatherer@organon.nhe.akzonobel.nl>
>Date: Thu, 08 Apr 1999 08:48:37 +0200
>Subject: RE: "More Real"
>- -----Original Message-----
>From: konsler@ascat.harvard.edu [mailto:konsler@ascat.harvard.edu]
>Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 1999 5:04 PM
>To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
>Subject: "More Real"
>It would be a principle of memetics that memes are entities
>with a real material structure, wouldn't it? I think to question
>that hypothesis would undo the endeavor completely.
>I think that the strict Dawkins B school, ie. those that regard memes as
>neural configurations, are the 'most' materialist in this sense.
>Externalists (or rather anti-internalists) like me are also materialists in
>that we see memes as having a real material structure when they are
>artefacts etc. It becomes a bit more difficult when we are refering to
>behaviours, as these may only have a transient manifestation. There is also
>a variant of Dawkins B which is less materialist in that it sees memes as
>not necessarily having any hard-wired neural structure but nevertheless
>being 'in the head' in some sense.

No, I don't disagree with you. If you want meme to mean
"The Eiffel Tower" and also the "real" Eiffel Tower, that's OK
with me.

different in kind from speech or gestures. Textbooks, wheels,
the sound of drumming or singing...all of these would be
memes. Some material artefacts are more permanent than
others, like the Eiffel Tower. Some, like speech, are ephemeral
in the extreme. But they are all physical methods of memetic

The reason I would agree that memes can be both in and out
of minds is that with very hot, immersive, ephemeral media,
like speech, it becomes impossible to avoid "talking to yourself".
The words come out of your mouth and go back into your
ears, they come out of your hands and appear as words on
this screen. In ephemerial media this happens almost
instanteously, making it more obvious that the memes are
making a loop outside your head...like the ping of a sonar.

Some pings take longer to bounce back than others. Other
people can pick up and interpret the signals emitted by
each of us.


Reed Konsler konsler@ascat.harvard.edu

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