Re: virus: Is the term "meme" necessary?

Tom Loeber (
Tue, 14 May 1996 02:44:16 -0700 (PDT)

Richard Brodie wrote:

>There has been some questioning on both lists as to the value of the
>term "meme" versus similar words such as "idea" or "concept." Having
>invested a bit of my reputation in the subtitle of my book, "Virus of
>the Mind: The New Science of the Meme", I'd like to argue for the
>usefulness of the term.

Ah, so you have a vested interest.

>The relationship between "meme" and "concept" is much like the
>relationship between "mass" and "weight". While you could often
>interchange the words and still make sense, the former carries with it a
>whole scientific model and thereby focuses your thinking in a useful
What? Huh? Doesn't weight have a "scientific model" interpretation also? In
fact, weight's scientific model includes multiple masses and gravity, a good
deal more encompassing than just mass. "Mass" is a singular phenomenon.
"Weight" is a relationship.
>The study of how and why memes evolve and spread will be one of the
>driving forces of social change over the next century; that's why I
>train myself to use the word "meme" and to identify them on a daily
Me thinks the understanding of past and new concepts and how or if they are
spread will have great value concerning social change within the next few
years, let alone the next century. I don't mean to belittle your
contributions or participation but I do seek clear understanding. Are you
with me on that point?
BTW, I have no degrees (by choice), am self employed (as little as
possible), live simply and beyond my means (HELP!). I bet you've got some
degrees, I see you are employed by one of the most successful corporations
on this planet and I bet "simple" would be far from descriptive of your
life. Shucks, I'm just a little ghost in your machine. Sorry to intrude.
Just ignore me. I'll probably just explode before too long anyways.