RE: Internal meme? - the what and the where

Wade T.Smith (
Wed, 22 Sep 1999 19:40:13 -0400

Subject: RE: Internal meme? - the what and the where
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 19:40:13 -0400
From: "Wade T.Smith" <>
To: "Memetics Discussion List" <>

>>>Would you further agree that an idea can be communicated from one brain to
>>>another brain, sometimes with high fidelity?
>>From what I know, which ain't much, ain't that particular question the
>>whole focus of memetics? And ain't there no real answer yet?
>I don't think so. There are certainly folks who do study that question,
>they tend to be psychologists of one kind or another, or have degrees in
>communications (which can mean almost anything). But memetics is something
>else. It's about the large-scale changes in the culture of populations.
>Depending on how you think the whole process works,this may or may not
>require high fidelity brain-to-brain communication.

OK, I will certainly say that _communication_ is the why and wherefore of
psychologists and other perceptual studiers, but, that _ideas get
communicated_ is, well, I thought it was, memetics. Well, okay, cultural
ideas. But what is the difference between a plain vanilla idea and a
cultural idea? Sounds slightly memetic to me.... Indeed, if we have a
totally sociobiologic view of all these behaviors, where culture is a
genetic behavior played on that environment we shape with our feedback
tools, there is no need for ideas at all, in a reductio ad absurdem
sense. We're just birds with more tunes. And who is to say, at this
point, that high-fidelity is even remotely possible with ideational
communication? Seems to me the basic rhythm and melody line is sufficient
to retain most tunes.

Besides, we're stereo animals, not hi-fi....

What part of the communication of ideas is the fleshing out of the
structure, especially during re-transmittal? How much of a cultural idea
is the training to simply perceive it, and is that maybe all that is

It still seems to me that saying that ideas are transferred _is_
memetics. I've just seen this quote posted on another listserv- "The meme
is an instruction for producing behaviour, stored in a brain and passed
on to other brains by imitation." [Blackmore]- and since I haven't read
Blackmore's book yet I like that description immensely. And I can see it
quite nicely dismissing 'communication' as a requirement if
'transference' is sufficient.

>But would you agree that humans communicate?

So, well, at this point, I am ready to side with anyone who wants to say,
'no, there is no way I have to agree with the statement that humans
communicate'. Indeed, I can play a game quite easily where the contention
that communication is totally impossible would be the answer to all of

- Wade

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)