Re: virus: Definition of meme (from alt.memetics)

Alexander Williams (
Thu, 02 Jan 1997 14:09:01 -0500

Wade T.Smith wrote:
> But that would pretty well seal the debate about memetics being a
> science, wouldn't it?

Science works with imprecise terms all the time, terms which various
groups define slightly differently, /especially/ in the soft sciences.
The difference is that they've argued enough that they agree to disagree
about it and we haven't tired of the argument yet.

> I actually woke up this morning with a kernel of a scintilla of an idea
> about what a meme may actually be, all to do with the actual
> electro-chemical formation of memory, a new and recently augmented
> neurobiochemical study, and fascinating.

It'd be nice if you generalized it beyond neurochemical capability,
however. We can concieve of applying meme-analysis to non-human and
non-organic intelligences as well.

Now, maybe you should look into infomation-theoretic analysis of
processes and consciousness and apply the terminology to that level, as
defined seperately from whatever physical matrix gives rise to it.

> the memory process of a brain, and more specifically within the conscious
> memory functions, is the way to go.

This certainly /feels/ right, no matter what the matrix of consciousness
underlying is. You can't really have memes without active memory.

> Yes, this means I think there are no memes in dreams.
> Is that a heresy?

Depends on how you define dreaming. I've had memes occur when
considering the dreams I had the night before (or immediately
preceeding). Saying dreams /themselves/ don't contain memes is no more
heretical than saying that no /perception/ carries memes, which you've
already bought into by supporting the Zanderian Heresy. :)

   Alexander Williams { /}
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