Re: Meme Machine reviewed in Science

Chris Lofting (
Sat, 17 Jul 1999 23:22:10 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Meme Machine reviewed in Science
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 23:22:10 +1000

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark M. Mills <>
To: <>
Date: Saturday, 17 July 1999 3:38
Subject: Re: Meme Machine reviewed in Science

One can say
>that a 'belief' is a Gatherer-meme. One would never expect to 'isolate' a
>Gatherer meme, it has no physical existence.

Beg to differ.... a little.. if the concept of an object is built-in to our
neurology so there lies the raw beginnings of 'a belief' in that all beliefs
are objects, they are self-contained and so can develop internally with no
external interaction; the moment you assert a belief you are making a 'cut',
you are distinguishing a strong preference for 'this' over 'that'.

The establishment of that belief, prior to its assertion DOES involves the
gathering of information (both by explicit means and implicit means where
the latter can sneak up on you). The gathering of information, the noticing
of particular patterns, can then lead to the assertion of the belief.

The shortcut is (a) the unconscious noticing of patterns and (b) someone
presenting a belief that incorporates those patterns and so elicits a
resonance between the presented belief and the implicitly acquired set of
patterns. Here (b) acts to 'collapse' the seemingly unconnected patterns
into a context and you think.. "by god, that is right!" etc.

>Thus, a Gatherer meme has little to do with genetics.

I think there is a possible link in that in genes 'random' processes create
variations that are almost useless until a context comes around where things
suddenly click; a set of genes form a relationship that fits in with the
context and so a feedback loop develops. This feedback loop is a gatherer
process in that it acts through discernment, the feedback forces a
particular path to emerge and so acts to constrain and so direct.

This emphasis on feedback shows a possible structure of your dichotomy:

Lynch = the one, a raw "..configuration of neural tissue".
Gatherer = the many, a process of selective refinenment which is linked to
feedback processes.

Your dichotomy eventually links these two in a cooperative manner where
Lynch can be modified by Gatherer and later this refinement can be seen as a
'raw' state for a new process of L/G interaction.

>>Though genes have a single obvious stable
>>mechanism for information retention - DNA - that is not the sum total of
>>a gene is.
>While I can see how this perspective is built, I chose to follow the lead
>of geneticists. Geneticists as a group define the term, and they say a
>gene is instantiated in DNA sequences upon a phosphate sugar substrate.
>There is probably some disagreement amongst geneticists about genes
>existing in mitochondria DNA, but this is tangential.
>I think it is important that geneticists and memetics work together.
>Telling a geneticist that genes are more than 'just DNA' falls on deaf

If you look carefully at human DNA it is more 'geneless' in that it is more
the storing of relational data that is then cut'n'pasted into RNA, the
conversion process is a gatherer where the tRNA contains the gene as a
whole. This is more efficiant than on Bacteria etc where the genes are
stored in contiguous space; the human DNA method allows for diversity where
we store the relationships and so allow for a core set of codes (structural
emphasis) to which we can tack-on relational variations. This is like a kit

BTW Memes also have a code: objects (wholes, parts)/relationships (static,
dynamic). The emotion-based patterns that this code is made of allow us to
communicate as a species but with localised variations (culture, individual
etc). Thus I can pick up things without knowing the language since the
expressed feelings can cause resonance which I can then particularise into a
label/name etc

A gene is a sequence of instructions that make a protein. Without protein
there is no you.
A meme is a sequence of instructions that make a meaning. Without meaning
there is no you. The set of fundamental meanings we all share as a species
(e.g. feeling of 'wholeness') serve as the bedrock upon which elaborate
patterns are created at the social level.

What is of interest is when we view these instructions as being hierarchic
in form where we read from the general to the particular; thus a gene
sequence of say ACCTGTGA is not seen as just a linking mechanism but also
contain context data where the previous sequence members 'colour' the
expression of the next sequence member (gets into secondary/tertiary
structuring etc?)

Both gene/meme vary in context sensitivity but they do use feedback. If I
unconsciously start to mimic someoneelse then a wave delivery system has
dumped a lot of data on me in one go (a memeplex?); this is so since this
method of delivery allows you to bypass all walls, where a wall here is the
psychic type which acts to resist all explicit 'invasions'; we attempt to
retain our identity often unaware that at the unconscious level we are
influenced by species drives and this includes mimicry etc. Rhetoric does
this where there is a qualitative emphasis such that the words can be pretty
much meaningless, it is the rhythm/feel that gets you say "YES that is


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