Re: The Meme Machine

Bill Benzon (
Thu, 8 Apr 1999 15:00:16 -0400

Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 15:00:16 -0400
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: The Meme Machine

At 11:48 AM 4/8/99 -0400, Reed Konsler wrote:

>It is my presumption that "memetics" is an attempt to apply this
>theory which has been so fruitful in the domain of biology to
>the domain of the mind. But, if in this theory we assert that
>there is an "intentional self" (as opposed to a self which we
>observe to claim intentionality) it seems to me that we are leaving
>the keystone of Darwinian thinking behind. In this case, why
>call our pursuit "memetics" as opposed to neurobiology or

No, as Jake (I think) pointed out, one's belief about the intentional
nature of human action has nothing to do with one's analysis of large-scale
cultural process. One can believe, as I do, that humans act intentionally
without having to believe that cultural evolution involves intentionality.
It doesn't, no more so than biological evolution. Nations can form and
execute 5-year plans and such, but that is not what cultural evolution is

>That is my understanding of the meme=gene analogy, anyway.

Remember that I don't think memes are in the mind. They are in the
environment. The mind provides the environment to which the memes adapt
(or not).

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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