Re: virus: Re: Sociological Change

Alex Williams (
Thu, 19 Dec 1996 21:56:50 -0500 (EST)

"" at Dec 19, 96 06:57:05 pm
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> practice. Memetics seems to reverse that by insisting that humans (agents)
> are the medium, rather than the creators of that structure. Thus, machines
> can be also agents, perhaps removing humans from the picture entirely. I
> don't think most memeticians believe that, but some say they do, and I don't
> think they're joking.

Why should humans receive a privilidged position in the theory rather
than the more general? From the memetic point of view, humans /are/
removed from the picture entirely, much as when studying the species
of the world one seldom focuses on the ecology/habitat. A specific
branch of ecological study looks at habitat as the outgrowth and the
focus and animals as the agents which propogate them. Likewise,
memetics focuses on the development of the culture and the motion of
the particles that make it up (memes) within a given ecological niche
(humanity). There's no intrinsic reason that those memes cannot be
hosted by non-human entities.

Isn't anthropocentrism considered a bad way to go in modern scientific

> Memetics captures the ideas that: 1) we do not behave entirely
voluntarily in
> creating structure, and; 2) that structure is reproduced (replicated)
> our behaviors. But I agree with Barbrook that many of the "memeticians" have

Further, memetics implies that saying "we act" is a bit of the
misnomer; there is no magical "I", there is merely the complex
interaction of meme-complexes that, together, produce higher-function,
just as the expression of genes produces cells, which together
harmonize to produce our flesh.

> fallen into the trap of historical materialism, believing that society (in
> the form of hosted memes) makes people, period. The challenge is

Actually, genes make the flesh and the flesh is the gene's way of
making more genes. Memes make the minds, and a mind is the way memes
make more memes.

> understanding the nuances of how people and society co-constitute each

Occam's Razor suggests I ask: why the dichotomy? How can you seperate
the person from the society?