Re: virus: Does a dog have meme-nature?

Ken Pantheists (
Tue, 11 Jun 1996 12:14:44 +0000

Reed Konsler wrote:
> >Ask an artist how they paint. What do they say? Mostly it's "I start
> >painting
> >what I see inside, but as it progresses I see new things, it takes more
> >definite shape, I finish it" Yes, there was an idea. But the final
> >expression, the most definitive and final draft of that idea is
> >recorded in the
> >painting, not in the artist's mind. An artist could start the next day
> >and
> >paint the same painting. The second might also be very good, but it
> >will not
> >be the same painting.

>Richard Brodie wrote:

> It's even dangerous to say that the artist's idea is recorded in the
> painting. What an effective artist will do is create something that will
> inspire people--that will aid them in creation of new memes in their
> minds. But those memes may not be the artist's memes at all--how about
> "piss Christ", the crucifix in a bottle with urine? Different onlookers
> created different memes upon viewing it, certainly.

I have to agree with Richard. Using the painting example is riddled with
problems. It does not adderess the Process. The painting you are
describing sounds like it comes from someone who is an Expressionist. I
would define Expressionism as a medium for transmitting memes, not a
meme in itself. It is also a stylistic choice that places that painter
in a "position" when one looks at his or her work and considers the
ongoing (sometimess frustrating) dialogue between styles and history and
modes of representation.

Secondly most "good" art does not include the closure Reed proposes. It
leaves itself open to interpretation. Art that is a fully closed
statement is advertising- as Richard alludes to in his reply.
> >A meme is an expression, not something held internal. It might be
> >recorded in
> >a brain but it is the expression, not that recording that is
> >transmitted. What
> >is reproduced is the expression, not the physical wiring from one brain
> >to
> >another.
> Well, you've come up with an unusual definition for meme, which I think
> muddies the issue. No one thinks a meme is "physical wiring". Memes are
> software. But it's generally agreed that the meme is the internal
> information, not the expression.
I sounds like we are confusing memes with behavior. The idea that God is
Great can produce many different patterns of behavior in people. I think
it does muddle the issue to try to identify a Jyhad meme, an Evangelize
meme, a serenity meme, an eat food with your family meme, etc. I think
it's a step down the ladder. Maybe some of the subtleties of this thread
are lost on me, but I still have to say honestly (and I don't mean to
sound gruff) I don't understand how an animal can produce a meme. My
feeling is that we lay memes on top of animals and we use animals to
carry our memes. Examples: animal imagery in language- lives like a pig,
works like a horse etc.

Animal imagery in art- cloven hoofs, bats wings, doves, big-eyed fuzzy

Even if we look at an animal and totally copy it eg. make a web to catch
fish-- I still don't see a direct transmission of a thought or an idea
a.k.a. meme. Making a web is something the fisher person extracted from
interpreting the behavior of a spider.

I would even go so far as to say that if you don't speak the same
language or come from the same culture as the person who is attempting
to communicate a meme to you-- you won't pick up their meme. You will
interpret it and use your own, more powerfully integrated memes to do

Eg: General Custer! The Chief is waving his spear in the air. What does
it mean?

Custer: It's probabaly a sign that the attack is about to begin! Fire at

My $.02

Ken Pantheists
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