virus: Meme environments

Eric Boyd (
Sat, 02 Aug 1997 02:09:24 -0500

Neco and Jeff wrote:

> But they are probably a bit more of whatever
> it is that makes a meme fitter than its rival memes. In fact, (as if
> this question hasn't been asked probably a million times in this
> mailing, and possibly even answered a few,) what exactly is it that
> makes a meme fit? Fit for what?

My dad asked a similar question, although with a different slant. He
noted the remarkable analogy of genes to memes, and asked this question:
if this analogy holds, where is the meme environment?

What could possibly make a meme more fit for this hypothetical


I answered "buttons"

The environment is our brains, and the forces of natural selection
select memes that push our button. Sex, Danger, Food. And all the
secondary buttons.

But then it occured to me that in fact the environment is bigger than
that, too.

Just like in nature, part of the environment is
*what*is*already*out*there. That is, the memes (or gene=organisms) that
are already a part of the environment are going to have an effect as

And so when you beleive in reincarnation, more memes (which you would
call evidence) come to your brain to live becuase the environment
selects for them.

And chances are you beleived in reincarnation becuase you were *afraid*
of death. <danger>


whose memetic glasses are either very clear, or very cloudy. To bad I
can't take them off to check...