RE: virus: Meme, the Underlying Cause

Robin Faichney (
Fri, 26 Sep 1997 11:25:31 +0100

> From: Tadeusz Niwinski[]
> Robin wrote:
> >But I don't agree! Just about everyone around here seems
> >to be happy to reify memes, to view them as "things", when
> >for me they're theoretical constructs. Thus, any piece of
> >behaviour that tends to be propagated is a meme (or meme-
> >complex). The meme is not some underlying cause, as is
> >the gene.
> Robin, you brought the main issue here: is meme the "underlying
> cause"?
> I was furious when, as a teenager, I first heard that out genes are
> using us
> as their vehicles. It is so difficult to accept the fact that *we* do
> not
> really count in the game of life -- it's only the information carried
> by our
> genes which counts and "we are here to help". As I understand
> Dawkins,
> exactly the same concept applies to memes, so in fact memes *are* the
> "underlying cause".
Nope. You seem to mean they're the underlying cause of some
vague, general thing, which is not what I was talking about. The
question I'm interested in is, are they the underlying cause of
behaviour. I say no, they *are* items of behaviour. Your
existential doubt is your problem, not mine. :-)

> In other words it is only information which really counts.
Counts for what? What counts depends entirely on the
context of the question. In absolute, general terms, either
absolutely everything counts, or absolutely nothing does.

> Living organisms
> are preserving some information, which seems to be "more important"
> than
> life itself. With computers and the Web it seems that information
> will soon
> "find" a better way of evolving than through bacteria and humans.
Superstitious twaddle. :-)