Re: virus: Meme vs concept

Reed Konsler (
Tue, 14 May 1996 01:02:24 -0400

*****Tad Niwinski(May13,6:44pm)
The question is: what is the difference between a concept and a meme?

I'd like to expand on this later but for now:

To paraphrase Dennett:

The "meme's" eye-view allows us at least this one new perspective:

Ideas may perpetuate our culture, not becuase they are benificial to us, but
because they are good at getting themselves replicated.

If this is the only new perception which comes out of memetics it is a valuable
one. The idea has been stated before: "Religion is the opiate of the masses"
and such. But herein is contained the potential of understanding something
very important:


This potential to understand how something works is, at heart, what
differentates the "crane" (also quoting Dennett, read: science) from the
"sky-hook" (read: religion). A real understanding of something includes not
only cause and effect but also the path in between.

Memetics doesn't yet deliver on this promise, but just look at the Memetic
lexicon contained on the Virus home page. The words themselves grasp to
explain: "how".

And if you know how something works, you know how to modify it to work for you.