Re: internal meme?

Bill Spight (
Tue, 05 Oct 1999 08:51:58 -0700

Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 08:51:58 -0700
From: Bill Spight <>
Subject: Re: internal meme?

Dear Derek,


My purpose was to demonstrate that internal memeticists have put very little thought into the definition of the very thing they advocate, ie. the internal meme.


I am not an internal memeticist, but let me put in my farthing's worth.

It seems to me that the definition of internal memes shares similar difficulties with the definition of internal aspect of reflexes of the brain. (I use the Russian style rather than the perhaps more familiar term, "conditioned response".)

Spinal reflexes pair certain stimuli with a certain responses. The neural structure of the reflex is quite similar across individuals. We are hard-wired for our spinal reflexes.

Pavlovian classical conditioning pairs stimuli and responses, but these reflexes of the brain are not hard-wired, they are learned. We have no reason to expect their neural structure to be similar across individuals. But the various neural structures belong to the same equivalence class, because they pair the same stimuli and responses. If I fly from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Paris, I may go through Chicago or I may go through Dallas. Both routes are still Santa Fe -> Paris routes.

Strategic memes, which pair conditions and behaviors, involve neural structures, just as do stimulus-response pairs. These neural structures belong to the same equivalence classes, regardless of their differences from person to person.



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