Re: Genes versus Memes

Fri, 11 Feb 1994 23:43:39 -0500

> I've been lurking on two discussions of memes, one here and the other
>in sci.anthropology. While memes are an interesting idea, I find
>operationalizing the concept incredibly difficult. Are all ideas memes?
>If not, how do we determine which ideas are memes? If we cannot answer
>these questions, then the notion doesn't get us very far. If the answer
>is that memes are ideas which involve self-propagation, then that just puts
>the question back another step. What ideas include "self-propagation"?
>Julia Smith
>University of Pittsburgh

OK, Julia, let's try this.
1. "The moon is made of green cheese." This is a proposition; it's a
statement; it can be part of a belief system. But it's not a meme.
2. "The moon is made of green cheese. And if you come to realize that this
is so, then your life will improve immensely."
This contains a replication factor. Therefore, it's a meme.

If you can code for it, and part of the coding includes a rationale for
replicating it, then it's a meme.
Or look at it this way. If (heuristically speaking) the brain is a
computer, then the meme is a computer virus. A program which makes copies
of itself and tries to spread copies to other brains as well, rather than
just sitting there and running.
Seeker1 [@Nervm.Nerdc.Ufl.Edu] (real info available on request)
Anthropologist, Cybernaut, PoMoDemite, Noetician, Situationiste, et al.
University of Florida, Gainesville, Cosmic Nexus of the Universal Matrix
"'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds!" --Malaclypse the Younger