virus: My meme question answered
Tue, 07 Nov 1995 21:14:26 -0700


Thanks for the lucid explanation. Especially your comments,

"I think the distinction you are trying to make is between passive
and active memes. A meme is active when it is currently affecting
your behaviour. It may be encoded in a passive form (as I am doing
here as I type this in) for storage and/or transmission, and be
reactivated later when someone reads, hears, or somehow interprets
the code such that their behaviour is affected in similar ways."

That is precisely the distinction I was trying to pin down.

Although, couldn't we say that there are fuzzy boundaries between your
passive/active distinction, as well? It seems that we'd have to define the
parameters of "currently affecting".
For instance, what about those memes that shape our identity but don't
always exhibit themselves explicitly in our behavior and cognition? (eg.
mores, taboos, fixations, etc.) Are these memes then 'passive' because they
aren't currently affecting, say, an e-mail message about memes. Or, are
they active because every meme that constitutes my sense of identity colors
every other decision-making process.

Passively active? Actively passive?