Re: virus: Rationality

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 16:30:35 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 28 Feb 1997, Alexander Williams wrote:

> Tim Rhodes wrote:
> > So are you saying something to the effect of: "These grunting and
> > clicking noises humans make are a means by which they cause /similar/
> > ideas to their own to be constructed in the minds of other humans.
> (clip)
> > ...aren't memes the "grunting
> > and clicking noises" in whatever format?
> There seems to be a common tendency to confuse the medium with the
> message when discussions like this come up.

I'll say. By "grunting and clicking noises" I was talking about
*language*!!! (Damn, you people are so literal around here! Must be the
evil effects of those corrupt Objectivists again!!!) By "in whatever
format" I was trying to get away from the need to distinguish between
talking and reading.

> These grunting and clicking noises, or teeth-baring and snorting
> gestures, or whatnot, take advantage of meme structures that have
> developed by common environmental factors and learned common referants
> to give a `good enough' match between the memes spawned in the mind of
> the observer and the intended memes to be spawned by the actor.

Yadda, yadda, yadda... (see above.) I hate having to explain my jokes!

> Memes are the cause and the eventual product,

Both the cause and the effect, huh? What a thoroughly useless definition
of a meme! Can we get someone else's definition in here too? Glenn?

> but are no more the media than
> M&Ms are the media between the cocoa fields and the factory floor.

I you're talking about how cocoa gets from Equador to under my desk, than
you're damn right it's M&Ms as a "media" of transmission.

I think your confusing memes with thoughts. I don't think they are
identical. Sure, in our /conscious mind/ the overlap is almost 100%, but
our conscious mind is only part of the "thought" equation and only a
small part of what we use our brains for (hence the silly statistics that
we only use 12 or 16% of our brain).

Can someone else help me out here. I don't think Alex saw my point.
Anyone? What is a meme?

Prof. Tim