virus: Phenotype or Genotype? (was: Memetical Axioms)

Tim Rhodes (
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 23:44:28 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 23 Sep 1997, Kirt A. Dankmyer -- aka Loki wrote:

> So then it would be more accurate to say we are made of our memes and the
> "physical state of our brain"? The latter would include the effects of
> nutrition, genetics, dropping acid, etc...

Quite so. Now if someone can someday pin down the neuro-chemical effects
of a meme (/assuming/ they work that way) we could envision a sort of
"grand unified consciousness theory" coming together.

Along these same lines:

I was thinking today, just before the bus I was riding to work was hit by
a truck, "What if the meme is not the genotype, but rather the
phenotype?" What if the meme is the product of something else (neural
substrate? neuro-chemical combinations? a higher/lower level of linguistic
coding?) and the reason that the same meme can appear in so many
manifestations and expressions is that these are in fact phenotypes. And
as such their development into "memes" from the as yet undiscovered
"memetic genotype" is as greatly effected by the environment it developed
in as the child is effected by the diet of the mother during pregnancy.

Because of some previous sillinesses on this list, I feel it necessary to
point out that I am merely offering this as a point for discussion. I
think it could be a useful avenue to explore and may lead to some
interesting insights about memes. But I am not saying "This is what I
believe". I may defend this idea in order to see if it holds water, but
that is the point, after all, of discussion.

And I regret having to make such a disclaimer among adults.

-Prof. Tim