RE: socially selected memes

Raymond Recchia (
Sun, 01 Aug 1999 13:59:34 PDT

From: "Raymond Recchia" <>
Subject: RE: socially selected memes
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 1999 13:59:34 PDT

Haven't had a lot of time this week or I would have replied earlier. I
appreciate the feedback but I still think the distinction has some validity.
Yes, clothing has social function within a society and I understand that I
have to wear certain clothing to establish my rank (such as it is). I was
however more interested addressing the nature of change with respect to
social memes. Two hundred years ago my predecessors were wearing knickers
and knee length white socks (in addition to the wigs that are still worn
across the Atlantic). Over time we could easily go back similar garb if
that were the way the trends directed.

In comparison (to use a Kuhnian example) I find it near impossible to
believe that we will at any time in the future return to a geocentric model
of the planets. While there is a utility to conforming the norms of my
station those norms themselves are relatively arbitrary. The importance of
the suit is the fact that it is the social norm. That social norm could be
anything and in the future it could just as easily go back to previous
norms. By comparison once a new scientific theory is established that
explains and predicts better it is no longer possible to return to the
previous status.

The acceptance of social memes is influenced primarily by social factors
like as peer pressure. What I proposed as utilitarian memes are accepted
more on the basis of external factors

Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit

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)