RE: virus: Meme, the Underlying Cause

Brett Lane Robertson (
Wed, 01 Oct 1997 15:48:19 -0500

>Memes are behavioral abstractions.

That is as close as I can get as well. (I tend to call memes cultural


Things are real to me before I see them in a culture. I assume that culture
is a product of individual behavior and individual behavior is a product of
mental behavior. I might therefore agree that a meme is a "mental quanta";
but, even that is too broad a term--so are thoughts, ideas, ideals,
revelations, inspirations, insights, truths, understandings, knowledge,
imaginations, information, data..."mental quanta". A meme is a particular
type of mental quanta.

After studying the mental representations in my own mind (and although this
is not open to scrutiny, it is scientific; it is, hermeneutically
*valid*--being a controlled situation where all variables may be thought of
as dependent on the independent variable...could the independent variable,
theoretically, be isolated--and it can be independently verified--should all
external information be considered "independent"...and all similar results
be seen as verification)*...after studying the various types of mental
representations it would appear that a meme is ALSO such that a quanta, or
"packet" of information must be stable and self-consistent (like an
independent system of logic against which another independent system might
be compared or contrasted without violating the integrity of the first).

A meme thought of this way affects behavior and culture; it likewise affects
mental behavior--but is not affected by it. I think it safe to say that a
meme, at this level, is an organizing principal. I do not think that
looking for this principal in an actual physical structure violates the
behavioral or cultural confirmation of this phenomenon.


*after some prompting to keep certain concepts to separate threads I will
put this idea on a new post for independent consideration

At 11:08 AM 10/1/97 -0400, you wrote:
>>Memes are not mysterious forces controlling anything, just a useful
>theoretical construct
>>that allows the analysis of culture on an evolutionary model. And the
>observable aspect of
>>culture, the one that's amenable to a scientific approach, unlike thoughts,
>is behavior.
>>Memes are behavioral abstractions.

>That is as close as I can get as well. (I tend to call memes cultural


> Wade T. Smith

Rabble Sonnet Retort
It's not an optical illusion, it just looks like one.

Phil White