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

Robin Faichney (
Wed, 6 Aug 1997 10:01:00 +0100 wrote:
>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
>(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

According to Dawkins, a collection, or cluster, of genes can
certainly be a gene. In fact, a gene is any surviving unit of
genetic information. So there is a gene for big feet, which
consists of the genes for all the different foot components.
He makes this quite clear in The Selfish Gene. I've talked
to biologists about this, and it appears they also use the
word in a slightly different way, to mean the "lowest level"
unit, the actual bit of DNA, but I really think this is a validly
different meaning of the word, not a disagreement with