virus: Memetic sex

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Sat, 22 Feb 1997 12:30:35 -0800 (PST)

Speaking of which, if transfer and interaction of memes is the memetic
equivalent of sex (in the biological sense, providing a source of change
via remixing the materials), are there forms of conversation or other
apparent communication that are infertile? Obviously, with each host,
there are approaches which are more or less likely to engender adjustments
in the host's memetic makeup. We even seem to believe that there are
approaches which in general work better than others for stimulating such
adjustments. One odd thing about memetic 'sex' as contrasted with the
standard genetic version is that rather than creating a new entity with a
new combination of the old materials, it changes the existing ones. Hmm.
Maybe it's more like the way bacteria trade genetic material, than like
sexual reproduction. Unless, of course, you're raising a kid.