Re: New meme-ber!

Bruce Howlett (
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 00:59:20 +0000

Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 00:59:20 +0000
From: Bruce Howlett <>
Subject: Re: New meme-ber!

Jake and Lloyd,

What I said originally was an oversimplification. But I do not have
this complex model of memes. Our predisposition for attributing and
attaching meaning is a function of the patterning system (de Bono)
evolved to fast track our neural processes. What is "instictive need"?
I agree with Lloyd, we are suckers for this type of memeplex. If two
humans have some sort of spontaneous understanding, does this prove the
existence of a collective "mind" or "spirit"? To me it just means we
think similarly because we are both human.


Bruce. wrote:
> In a message dated 6/8/99 11:19:38 AM Central Daylight Time,
> writes:
> >> Those memeplexes that offer "spiritual truths" have shown a greater ability
> to replicate than those that do not. Why? I would suggest because our minds
> have evolved the compulsion to find meaning. We become suckers for
> metaphysical answers that promise us "purpose" and "meaning".<<
> I think the need for meaning is key. I don't think that we are "suckers" for
> meaning and purpose. I think we all have an instinctive need for it.
> >>Does this mean that "spirituality" is just some ethereal ad man's hookum?
> Not if we separate the metaphysical valuing (e.g., the worth of the
> individual, the group, humanity, life) and the emotional constructs (love,
> awe, wonder, etc.) from the magical thinking that has been used to
> propogate many memeplexes. <<
> Indeed I think it is almost imperative that we do so. Aside from what this
> means for memetics.
> >>I am torn as to where I am going with this one. On the one hand, I would
> like to suggest that a secular spirituality is something useful that we can
> distill from the above process. On the other hand, I am tempted to suggest
> that this "meme-world" is synonomous with "spirit-world". I would like to
> hear other's views on this.
> Lloyd<<
> See my earlier posting subj:"spiritual memetics"
> In religiously neutral or even secular terms, I would say that spirituality
> is a characteristic of those memes that the evoke the greatest schemes of
> association and recognition within the target audience - in otherwords the
> greatest meaning - regardless of whether that meaning is truthful, magical,
> or even consistent throughout the target audience.
> For example, the question, "What if God was one of us?" (pardon the bad
> grammar, I am quoting the song), is a spiritually evocative question/meme.
> Though I would doubt that it coherently means the same thing from one
> individual to the next, it does have a tendency to have great meaning for any
> one individual. As long as an individual thinks that the word "God" is a
> meaningful word, the question will probably seem very significant and
> spiritual.
> If not it will seem like a lot of buzz like it does to me - though I can
> recognize that it would be meaningful to lots of other people. For me it is
> like being the one dog that does not salivate or foam at the mouth when the
> bell rings, watching all the other dogs respond to the bell.
> More *religious* spiritual memes will tend more to evoke meanings for the
> sake of evoking meaning. At least from the individual's point of view it
> would seem to be experienced that way. From the larger perspective of
> memetics, they function to evoke a drive for the propagation of those memes
> and the greater memeplexes (religions) which employ them. When people fail
> to find or create the sense of meaning that they need from life, many of
> these pure-meaning (meaning only for the sake of meaning - or magical
> meaning) memes fill in the picture - or even take the picture over.
> Finding or creating enough meaning to satisfy our needs without relying on
> the more magical thinking of religion can be quite challenging, and perhaps
> for some people even impossible. Perhaps some people even genetically have a
> greater thirst for meaning than the secular world could ever provide. But
> for those for whom it is possible, secular philosophy and secular
> spirituality - without magical meanings - would be the non-religious
> equivalent.
> As far as I am concerned, there is a spiritual world - we are living in it.
> This is it. But for some people that is not enough.
> -JS
> ===============================================================
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This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)