Re: virus: Will the real meme please stand up.

Tim Abbott (
Mon, 4 Aug 1997 21:29:27 -1000 (HST)

ERiC wrote:
> "A meme is a unit of information in a mind whose existance influences
> events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds."
> (Richard Brodie, Virus of the Mind, pg.32)

Good start. But what exactly is this *unit*? With a gene, this
was easy, because a gene is a gene. A part of a gene is not a gene,
but a part of a meme can be. Also, a collection of genes is not a gene,
(I think. I may be wrong - I'm not a biologist) but a collection
of memes can be a meme (or meme complex, but I see the two used

Also, by this definition, anything expressible in any language is
a meme. That is any >idea<. I don't have a particular problem with
this, but it does rather leave the debate wide open.

> that is, a meme is a specific *type* of idea, one which is
> self-propagating. Any other use of the word is *abuse*[1].

Interesting. So all those ideas that float around my head and I wish
I had time to write down or work on more but don't, are not memes...
Aren't they just unsusccessful memes? Like genetic sports, not viable
so they don't reproduce.



Timothy M. C. Abbott, Ph.D.     
Resident Astronomer                          
Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope                         Tel: +1 808 885 7944
Box 1597, Kamuela, HI 96743                            Fax: +1 808 885 7288