RE: virus: Angelica de Meme

Wright, James 7929 (
Mon, 07 Apr 97 09:06:00 EDT

Tim Rhodes wrote:
>What can /we/, you reading this and CofV as a whole, do move memetics
>the mystical hypothesis it now into the realm of science? <
You are doing it, here, now; discussions attempting to generate a summary
of the knowledge pool, ironing out disagreements, identifying areas of
>Are there experiments that can be performed to gather quantifiable data
to support
the hypothesis? <
Try this one: postulate a given meme in this forum, which you find
demonstrably true, beneficial to the global society, and worthwhile. See
how long it takes, with no more effort than the existence of this mailing
list and such offline encouragement as the members choose to exert to
spread it, to become known through a measurable segment of the global
society (as demonstrated by the first major-media story found by anyone
on the list that mentions it, favorably or not). Call this time-period
M(t), the global propagation interval, and repeat the experiment a few
times to see if M(t) is constant, varies according to the perceived
strength of the given meme, or whatever.
>I've had one bouncing around in my head for a while, but I've got a
>stumbling blocks between it and my ability to carry it out completely.
>don't think I'll share it quite yet, though, and not for 4
>reasons (It would look at rates of transmission of a given "test" meme
>through the e-mail memesphere and I'm afraid talking about it too much
>before hand may queer the data. If I get a chance to hammer out an
>outline of the experiment I may make it available to a couple interested
>parties off-line to get their input, though.)<
This sounds like an excellent opportunity to measure M(t).
>But does anyone else know of any research going on at the moment? <
I don't.
>Shouldn't *we* be doing it?<
I contend that we are, already.
>We'll always have questions of philosophy to fight over, but can we
agree to work on making progress in the field of memetics at the same
time? <
I think we are making progress whether we agree or not.
> If this (memetics) is an empowering tool for understanding both
objective and >subjective realities, than every one of us should have a
stake in realising it's >potential.<
I think you're preaching to the choir here.
>Can we all conspire to put a capital "M" on memetics?<
"There's a conspiracy, and you're part of it!" (VBG!)