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

Richard Brodie (
Fri, 24 Oct 1997 10:47:12 -0700

On Thursday, October 23, 1997 12:00 PM, Eva-Lise Carlstrom [] wrote:
> If we recognize the difference between communicable ideas and the external
> phenomena, such as utterances, which constitute the means of replicating them,
> then we can argue about which is more usefully called a "meme", which is
> something we seem to do on this list periodically. I think the sensible
> way to use the term is to refer to the ideas themselves, and not to the
> expressions of them in the world outside the vector's mind. We seem to be
> able to discuss aspects of memetics, if clumsily, without having agreed on this
> point, so long as it is clear whether someone is referring to ideas or
> utterances/behaviours in a given instance. It would be much more
> efficient if we could agree on our core terminology, but so far we seem to
> be a mess. Is it just us, or does memetics in general have this
> difficulty? I thought it was clearer than this.

Dawkins, Dennett, Lynch and I all use "meme" to refer to the information in a mind, and not to external representations.

Richard Brodie
Author, VIRUS OF THE MIND: The New Science of the Meme
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