virus: Virus: Minds and Memes
Thu, 26 Oct 1995 14:42:12 -0600

I'm new to this whole idea of memes. I read that a meme is "a contagious
information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds and
altering their behavior, causing them to propogate the pattern"(Memetic
Lexicon by Glenn Grant). Doesn't this imply that these information patterns
are agents while minimizing the role of individual human minds as agents? I
find the idea of information patterns being exchanged, critically examined,
and refined, and being developed through this process attractive, but I don't
understand how an information pattern can truly be self-replicating (*causing*
someone to replicate it). Do information patterns realy _cause_ anything?
The whole epistemology of memetics feels alien to me. Is this more of an
active or passive mind theory? You'll probably be able to tell just how new I
am to the subject by my question of whether this whole theory is somehow
related to the theories that involve innate ideas and a priori categories
(both Kant and Hegel held theories involving a priori categories of thought-
or would you say that they were hosts of meme-complexes that involved a priori
categories of thought). Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can at
least learn how to get the jargon straight and begin to understand the theory
behind the jargon? The Memetic Lexicon is good and helps keep me from being
totally clueless about what you guys are talking about, but I still get the
impression that I have yet to really scratch the surface of memetic theory.