Re: virus: Re: virus-digest V1 #120

XYZ Customer Support (
Sun, 29 Dec 1996 18:38:03 -0700

> From: John P. Schneider <>

> My working definition of meme is not as strict; it is something like:
> 'meme = reproducible concept'. In just about any transmission I've
> ever made where I've used the word 'meme', you could replace it with
> 'idea' and not change the meaning at all.

If meme=idea and idea=meme, then meme has no real meaning. It is
a ploy to attract attention.

"Hey you guys I've got an idea" becomes "Hey you guys I've got a meme"

If it quack's like an idea, acts like an idea, an smells like an idea
why call anything else other then an idea?

> I think the language of memetics has been stretched a bit. My def'n
> of 'meme' is rather loose compared to other definitions. If I double-
> check the definition over at the 'memetic lexicon page', I see that it
> is much closer to what you have. Under that strict meaning, I may end
> up agreeing that memes don't exist. But, that will not stop me from
> pursuing my thoughts concerning 'reproducible ideas'. If ever I want
> to learn about hypnotism or NLP, then a stronger version of 'meme'
> may aid my understanding.... as it happens, however, I know very
> little about such.

We need to discuss what others mean by the idea of memes then.

> > Some things to ponder while discussing this are: Is racism just a
> > "good idea" or is it a meme?

> Meme, I would guess.

Let's not guess. Let's find out for sure.

> > Has anyone ever really encountered a meme in their personal life?

> Various 'habits' maybe? Fashion? Belief in God? Conservativism,
> liberalism? Chauvinism, etc...

Those are *symptoms* of memes and not memes in themselves.

> > What are the minimum "system requirements" for a meme to success-
> > fully exist (In other words, can retarded or semi-retarded people
> > be infected with the same memes as normal people can?)?

> They must be capable of some individual behavior, I would think...
> that way, we might note how that behavior is modified when infected
> by a new meme.... for instance, in the movie, "The Rain Man", Tom
> Cruise infects Dustin Hoffman with the 'fashion meme' (causing him
> to say "K-Mart sucks".)

I think that one of the requirements is the ability to blindly follow directions
...but is that possible? Memes would have to be very rare then.