RE: i-memes and m-memes

Lawrence H. de Bivort (
Sun, 29 Aug 1999 13:57:31 -0400 (EDT)

Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 13:57:31 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Lawrence H. de Bivort" <>
Subject: RE: i-memes and m-memes
In-Reply-To: <000b01bef243$4facae00$>


On Sun, 29 Aug 1999, Aaron Agassi wrote:

>Ideas, behaviors, and artifacts. If these are indeed already memes, then
>they don't need new names.

I would say that ideas, behaviors and artifacts CAN be memes IF they have
the architecture and functions needed to 'displace' competing memes, and
if they are provided with the requisite distribution channels. This
provides that many ideas, behaviors and artifacts are not memes, because
they lack the above characteristics.

>But are certain genes memes?

I would say not, unless it is argued that genes can produce beliefs that
shape behavior, etc. The key, in the way we use the term, is that a meme
is above all else a belief, or a belief-creating structure. The beliefs of
a culture are memetic, and subject to memetic manipulation.

To the extent that behavior encodes AND manifests a belief, the bhavior
can be held to be a channel for the expression and (if successful)
replication of a meme. But any behavior is not and of itself memetic. A
memetic engineer might encode a belief-meme into a behavior, in order to
disseminate the idea, but, again, the behavior itself would only be viewed
as the channel for the belief that has been embedded in it.

>mediation. Indeed, it has been suggested that all memplexes must have a
>needed instinctual basis as an indispensable component.

Well, that is what one is forced to consider if we insist on attributing
to memes a gene-etic structure and model. Which is why I find it not
useful to do so.

Lawrence de Bivort
The Memetics Group

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