John C. 'Buck' Field (
Wed, 1 Sep 1999 21:19:37 -0500

From: "John C. 'Buck' Field" <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: JOM
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 21:19:37 -0500
In-Reply-To: <>

>I don't know what you mean by either of those choices.

You objected to the use of meme in reference to including "ALL encodings of ALL
information involved in cultural evolution". Can you provide a helpful example of a
component of cultural evolution which replicates, but in a sufficiently complex or
obscure manner as to exclude it from categorization as a meme? Or am I missing the
point of your concern?

><< If we are defining meme as the indivisible core (or at least a very
>small set) of a replicating concept, and a larger set of grouped ideas as
>memeplexes then the complex forms of replication appear likely regions of
>memetics most useful investigations.>>
>A meme is a unit of information in a mind whose existence influences events
>such that more copies of itself get created in other minds. [Virus of the
>Mind, p. 27] are rewording p. 27 quite a bit, and I puzzle over whether your def
evolved, or are you perhaps hoping to ramp me up to a concept I missed? The book def
proposes the "basic unit of cultural transmission, or imitation", which suggests an
atomic property holding my focus. I'm unclear on complex phenomena "precipitating"
into others through obscure or unknown processes that cannot usefully be investigated
using the basic unit.

>You missed the point. My objection is to the use of "meme," a specifically
>defined term meaning mental replicators, to refer to all information
>involved in replicating processes. The analogy to "water" would be

An example of this misused information would be really helpful...perhaps a prior
><< You very properly violate your own principle, however, with the useful
>explanation of ice as frozen water. Granted, it is different than what we
>normally think of as water, and thus "dilutes" the meaning of water in our
>mind by including solid crystals, but it is useful, even crucial for
>understanding many physical processes.>>
>EXACTLY. That's why we have a special word for "meme."

OK, we're on the same wavelength.

>No, the analogy is to the way behaviors, artifacts, and other kinds of
>vehicles are involved in the transmission of memes, although they are not
>memes themselves.

Aha! <The lightbulb appears over Buck's lead cranium> This is like claming water IS
sublimation, freezing, or the condensation process, right?

><<Like the water analogy, if what comes out of the chaotic interaction
>between the carrier and the infected is the carrier's original meme, we can
>absolutely say that at least a component or catalyst of the meme was encoded
>and present. In the water analogy, we can say that any material added to a
>container that results in water, this would include adding a spark
>(catalyst) to a tank containing hydrogen and oxygen.>>
>So you would say water is present in a tank containing H and O2?

Did I state we would know the compound itself would be present? I meant to say "at
least a component or catalyst" would certainly be present.

>But I suppose you could look at it either way.

.....and exercise my right to make idiotic mistakes? Nah...I'm trying to oppress myself
in this regard, since I indulge this freedom with such frequency and enthusiasm!

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