Re: virus: Replication of Memes

Steve (
Thu, 15 Aug 1996 06:30:27 +0800

KMO wrote:
>Steve, you have challenged some of the basic definitions in memetics,
>and given that these terms already have established meanings, it
>probably isn't useful to go changing them.

Yes, I have challenged *some* basic definitions in memetics. But I have also
broadened others, and made memetics more *general* and universally
applicable. The reason I have developed my own variation of memetics is
because of a very fundamental assumption that I have made:
Complexity is impossible without simplicity.
There is something very simple going on. My only serious disagreement with
the current, dominant state of play in memetics is the assumption that the
brain is some kind of biological computer that 'processes' input streams of
information to turn them into outputs that drive the biological machine.
This disagreement arises because it violates the assumption of simplicity.
But once the ball-and-chain model of brain-as-computer is discarded, *then*
the other contradictions that KMO has disagreed with are resolved. Memes
will still play a central role, but the locus of influence shifts from the
meme to the organism - that is, throughout its lifetime, the memes that an
organism has chosen and habituated have shaped its desires. These desires
are what motivates the organism to choose more of the same. These desires
are powerful. But they have arisen out of choices that have been presented
to the organism from the environment. What is more, had the organism not
made these choices, it would have died. (Humans that choose the wrong memes
become designated as insane, and they are unable to look after themselves)
Further, the lower an organism is in the hierarchy, the more it is confined
by its physiological form that predisposes it to making one choice over
another. And so, yes, memes are very important, very powerful and essential
to survival. But they are not the *source* of behaviour. And with this shift
in perspective, what I said in an earlier post makes a lot of sense - that
is, mind precedes matter, choice precedes form.

Steve Tramont