Re: when is a meme selfish?

Robin Faichney (
Sun, 29 Aug 1999 17:33:14 +0100

Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 17:33:14 +0100
From: Robin Faichney <>
Subject: Re: when is a meme selfish?
In-Reply-To: <>

In message <>,
Richard Brodie <> writes
>Would you call a string of letters on paper a gene?

Perhaps. Given sufficient biotech, it might be possible to encode it in

>As far I can tell, the
>point you are making is that everything is information.

No, the point I'm making concerns the identity of the meme.

>Fine, you'll get no
>argument from me. Now I want to understand how culture evolves. Memetics is
>about how certain kinds of information, in certain environments, tends to
>influence the future by causing replicas of itself to proliferate.

Agreed. Well, I'm not too keen on the unnecessarily intentional
language, because it seems to suggest that there is really something
special about replicators besides the fact that they happen to replicate
-- but I guess I can let that go for now.

However, what about the case where an item of information is transmitted
from one type of environment, to another, then back to the first type?
Does it thereby change its identity?

>This kind
>of information in a mind is called a meme.

So you keep saying. But I will keep saying that it is silly to restrict
the use of a particular name to a particular location. If I were in
suspended animation, I'd be very like the message on the rock at the
bottom of the sea, but you'd still think of me as "Robin", wouldn't you?

Robin Faichney
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