RE: virus: 200 words for snow

Richard Brodie (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 20:17:48 -0700

Grant wrote:

>There is a basic misconception generated by books like those of Brodie
>and Lynch that memes are always generated by contagion, like viruses
>entering the body. This is true in some cases, but
>memes are much more often acquired by people imitating successful

Actually, I think THAT is the basic misconception that I attempt in my
book VIRUS OF THE MIND to dispel. Enumerate all your memes. Start with
the distinctions: words, idioms, people's faces, brand names, scientific
models. It's likely that almost all of those were implanted in your mind
through conditioning (repetition). Now the strategies: driving routes,
cooking directions, user interfaces, sexual technique. How many of those
were acquired by your imitating successful behavior, and can you
distinguish that from conditioning? (How do you KNOW the behavior is
really successful?) Finally, your associations: what certain songs
remind you of, what emotions come up when you see friends or foes, Monty
Python sketches you quote when someone says the first line ("this isn't
an argument!"). Imitating successful behavior?

Mind you, I'm not arguing your point that consciousness CAN be used to
pick and choose among memes. In fact, that's my clarion call! But we
ain't there yet.

Richard Brodie +1.425.688.8600
CEO, Brodie Technology Group, Inc., Bellevue, WA USA
Do you know what a "meme" is?