Re: virus: Meme vs concept

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Wed, 15 May 1996 18:05:17 -0700

David McFadzean wrote:
>At 04:45 PM 14/05/96 -0700, Tadeusz Niwinski wrote:
>>David McFadzean wrote:
>>All concepts do replicate and evolve -- or die as memes do. Can you give an
>>example of a concept that is not a meme?
>Even if "concept" and "meme" refer to the same thing, they do not have
>the same meaning. The word "meme" should automatically evoke connotations
>of evolution, that is why the word was coined by Dawkins in the first
>place. Ask most people what "concept" means and evolution never enters
>the picture.

True. It is the "pig/pork" relationship: the same thing and different
interest. Can anybody give an example of a concept that is not a meme"?
What do you think of my TeTa definition of a "meme" from a previous post?

A meme is a concept (or an idea, or a unit of information) studied from
a point of view of replication (cultural transmission or imitation),
evolution, interaction, and/or application.

This definition combines Dawkins with other definitions in Richard's book
and even adds the 'application' aspect which is evidently the most exciting
for us all (Humans and TeTa'ns).

>At 06:36 PM 14/05/96 +0000, Ken Pantheists wrote:
>>When I talk about this list I say it's a list about memes, because it
>>does a different thing than if I said, "It's a list about concepts."
>"does a different thing" = "has a different effect" = "means something

Nobody would understand what can possibly be said about concepts but
everybody "understands" talking about memes since it sounds mysterious
(commandment #10). It sure has a different meaning from the effect point of
view, but it is the same thing. Until somebody comes up with a good example
of a difference I am convinced that a concept or an idea or a meme are the
same things. Even replicability and evolution are intrinsic aspects of
ideas and concepts.

Meme sounds good to stress our interest in replication, transmission, etc.,
but if we try to define it as a different *thing* we are not accurate. In
one of my previous posts I deliberately copied Richard's definition
replacing the word "meme" with "concept" and nobody objected.

If Stephen said: "It's a list about ideas, how they spread, influence
people, and get copied" it would have been more inviting than saying
"memes". (Believe me, I am from planet TeTa!)

There is another reason for using different names: to cheat. If I am not
allowed to eat pig's meet, I can eat 'pork' (may be this is how it has a
different name; I just realised: pork is the only meat in Polish with a name
not derived from the 'source' animal). We do not want to cheat here, do we?
Please convince me with examples or lack of them.

Bennedanti wrote:
>I think that an issue that needs to be dealt with here is whether
>manipulation is memetics or whether it is an application of memetics. As
>evidence, I think that propaganda and psychological warfare suggest the
>latter view to be more accurate.

I say Applied Memetics.

:) Tad Niwinski from TeTa <>
Love is a learnable skill (Leo Buscaglia)