Re: Meme-o-random

t (MemeLab@aol.com)
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 19:44:07 EDT

From: <MemeLab@aol.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 19:44:07 EDT
Subject: Re: Meme-o-random
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk

In a message dated 4/20/99 4:30:06 PM Central Daylight Time,
syntagm@icon.co.za writes:

<< 6. To some (it seems) <meme> is a blunt instrument with which they
are frantically trying to club to death anything and everything that
stands between them and some undisclosed destination.
7. Memetics to me is like a drop of ink flattened into a blot between
the left and right halves of my brain. My ink blot is unique, but not
totally unique. There are fractal similarities (Ryle's family
resemblance) between the the concepts of memetics that we all share,
and there are differences. To be sure, not all members of a species
are identical, but all elephants look like elephants and I know one
when I see one.
8. Implicit in many of the things that I have read (in a very short
space of time) is a Theory of Everything that is analogous to the
Theories of Everything in the physical realm.(Barrow 1991)
9. If this <meme> has done anything for me it has fused together
thoughts (ideas) that I have had (and developed) over a very long
time. Ideas about marketing, advertising, communications, information
theory, strategic understanding, ecology, paradigms and syntagms,
chaos, dissipative structures, entropy, and, and, and. >>

I don't know if this is meaningful to you, but here is what I see as one
possibility for the "meme" meme.

VERY SOON, with the decoding of the human genome, Sociobiologists are going
to hold far more cards in the behavioral sciences than they have in the past
- indeed the Minnesota Twins study and other developments have forseen this
coming for quite some time. As with all new breakthroughs, especially ones
that will have the obvious empirical force that the human genome will
provide, sociobiologists will become greedy in their explanatory power.

The "meme" meme will provide other (non-sociobiologist) behavioral
researchers a conceptual point to waive in the faces of sociobiologists, both
a point of connection - as both camps will clearly be agreeing on the power
and legitimacy of the evolutionary algorithm, and a point of contention -
sociobiologists would have to concede that a replicator it its own right
cannot legitimately be considered "on a biological leash", though many will
hesitate to say it is a replicator in its own right.

I suspect that the "real" science of memetics will come into its own right
when we start to better recognize what sociobiologists cannot explain through
genetics. At such time as that happens, a science of memetics will become
*imperative*, not only because of a natural desire to know, but also because
newer possibilities of human genetic engineering will become realized - thus
completing the dominion that the cultural replicator will hold over the
planet, definitely cutting any imagined leashes, and creating massive
conflicts within the human cultural psyche which only greater understanding
of memetics can resolve.

Memetics right now is in its philosophical infancy, and I think will remain
so until it becomes imperative that it emerge into a mature science. This I
believe is the "undisclosed location" that we are frantically trying to
reach, hopefully arriving early as the mature knowers, rather than barely
arriving as the consumed subjects of an experiment beyond anybody's control.
Perhaps some dream of a theory of everything - but I think we will end up
with a theory of something that works if we are lucky.

>>9. If this <meme> has done anything for me it has fused together
thoughts (ideas) that I have had (and developed) over a very long
time. Ideas about marketing, advertising, communications, information
theory, strategic understanding, ecology, paradigms and syntagms,
chaos, dissipative structures, entropy, and, and, and.
10 What then is the difference between CK 21H30 April 14th, 1999 (yes
I can pinpoint it) and CK 23H00 April 20th, 1999?
>> I understand both differently and better (please note that I do not
claim that I am right)
>> I believe I can explain (and predict) certain phenomena within the
realm of brands, consumer behaviour and the diffusion of innovations
>> to this end I may have I belief system allthough I do not know
whether I have/ enjoy a standardised operationalisation of the concept
belief system.
>> the population density of believers in this sub-system is down to
one.<<

Well, I tell you what. You are as close to the nerve center of the memetics
community as you can get on an ongoing open-to-the-public forum. All the
closer spots are private - invitation only/gatekeeper types of affairs -
which would not include the likes of people like me. :-)

I have jumped on this stage somewhat presumptuously, and ranted my rant. I
am not sure to what avail - though the response was far from nil as well. I
am about to step down from this stage and join the more spectator group
around here, so please take my spot. I was really just saving it for you.
See?

Semiotics you say? How interesting. Not a terribly big jump into memetics
for you.

>>12. Let us not (re)discover things that have been around for a long
time, and call them memetics.<<

Yes, let's not. But at least this territory has a potential far border that
will be defined in due time by Sociobiologists.

-Jake

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