virus: The One or the Many? (was: META)

Tim Rhodes (
Thu, 16 Oct 1997 09:22:29 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 14 Oct 1997, Tadeusz Niwinski wrote:

> Reed asked a very important question if we were going anywhere in
> particular. There is no clear agenda, I think. Should there be?

I have a question along those lines which I hope we can discuss a little
before the BIG QUESTIONS sneak back in and thwart us. It is this:

If we wanted to make memetics into a science [1], one that could prove
itself through the predictive powers of its theories, which is a better
approach: studying the effects of memes on the individual or on large

I had thought that understanding the effects on individuals would lead to
understanding larger groups, but now I wonder. As someone said (Robin
maybe?), "Each person leaving a theater is a free agent, but the movements
of the crowd are statisticly predictable." So now I don't know. Which
approach do you think would yield the greatest results?

-Prof. Tim

[1] an assumption for the sake of argument.