virus: Re: sociological change

Ken Pantheists (
Fri, 20 Dec 1996 22:26:22 +0000

Craig Simon wrote:
But I would follow Giddens in saying that
social structures (akin to memes) are the medium and outcome of social
practice. Memetics seems to reverse that by insisting that humans
are the medium, rather than the creators of that structure.

Yes. The model shows that we participate in (and propogate) many social
structures unconciously. (We are carriers of the structures.)

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
think they're joking.

I don't know if I can consider myself a memeticist. But I certainly
don't believe that. Machines can carry the information and the
information can be heard or read by someone, but the meme exists in the
brain after the encoded information has been processed and been biased
and filtered by the social structures and meme sets of the individual.

The challenge is
understanding the nuances of how people and society co-constitute each
Structuration theory does a much better job of that. But "memes" have
pop lingo, even though memetic theory is far less developed.

That was my first beef when I entered the list. However I did not posess
the tools to state it as succinctly as you just did.

I totally agree. I joined the list with the idea that the arts could
benefit from memetics, and have found the reverse is also true.

There were a couple of posts that helped me to reconcile the gnawing

Eva spoke of conduit theory and Richard posted an opinion illustrating
how memetics accomodates this.

Eva? Richard? are you available for a recap?

What exactly did you say? (too lazy to look in the archives)

Craig do you care to share Structuration theory?

I liken the paradox to the the actor's process. The mask (persona) has
been a site of critical theory for many writers. From shakespeare to
sartre society and social structures have been likened to the stage and
we as "merely players".

But the player enters the mask as much as the mask enters the player.

It is a shifting place, a nexus of many texts.

Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

  Ken Pantheists