Re: implied or inferred memes

t (
Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:40:41 EDT

From: <>
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 16:40:41 EDT
Subject: Re: implied or inferred memes

In a message dated 9/12/99 7:15:45 AM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> Stated more abstractly, aren't there going to be situations in which we can
> say that if Meme A and Meme B are transmitted, then Meme C will arise.
> C is not directly transmitted, but is an indirect consequence of the
> transmittal of A and B.

As per Lakoff and Johnson in addition to Brodie. Meme A is metaphor, and
Meme B functions to cause cognitive dissonance, and Meme C is a potential
entailment of the metaphor -- Meme A -- that would resolve the cognitive
dissonance created by Meme B. Then I would say that this is a simple

First of all Meme A is transmitted, if necessary. More likely than not the
target already has Meme A - Meme A being part of the cultural environment
which both the target and the vector inhabit. This probably being the case
the first step would then be a suggestive cue that would activate the
cognitive metaphor, though probably unrelated to Meme B. The next step would
be the introduction of the cognitive dissonance -- Meme B (See Richard Brodie
on this). Meme C is a relatively apt entailment of metaphor, Meme A, that
would operate to resolve the cognitive dissonance created by Meme B. And of
course this leap will be easy because the suggestive cue has already
activated the cognitive metaphor, so it will have a particular
readiness-to-fire that it wouldn't have without the cue (See Lakoff and
Johnson -- "Philosophy in the Flesh" for references to empirical confirmation
on this point). The target then spontaneously produces Meme C, believing
(and really to some extent correctly) that they have thought it up themselves.

Where the transmission of Meme C is a functional outcome, the target will
most likely endorse Meme C more strongly because he/she "thought it up on
their own" rather than being told so by somebody else. And then of course
perhaps spread Meme A and Meme B, "because these were useful ideas in that
person's thought processes." Meme A if it is part of the cultural environment
will be strengthened in its position, or if not may get a foothold that it
didn't have before. Meme B rather than being seen as a "negative problem"
will be viewed as a "positive challenge." The truth of the matter would be,
however, that the memeplex probably evolved in such a way that this is all a
somewhat forced outcome. By triggering the target person's thought processes
to engage them more directly the target becomes more likely to endorse and/or
spread all three.

I believe that some of the techniques which I have heard discussed in
reference to NLP operate in similar ways, though someone a little more
familiar with NLP could probably explain that better than I could.


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