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

Robin Faichney (
Wed, 29 Oct 1997 13:27:54 -0000

> From: Brett Lane Robertson[]
... if memes are related to behavior (and this could include
> behavior...
I agree that the firing of a neuron is just as properly
considered behaviour as the waving of a hand, but...

...if memes are related to
> behavior it would be necessary to determine which influenced the other
> and
> to what extent.
Rubbish. Internal/external/whatever, memes simply
are (patterns of) behaviour. They influence each
other, and their non-memetic environment, but I
think all this memes-influence-behaviour-type talk
is evidence of a dualistic conception whereby
memes simply take the place of the mind. On a
truely objective view, nothing in particular causes
behaviour, it just happens. Of course, the chain
of events that preceded any particular action-
event can be investigated, but that's a different
thing. Also, memes will no more be found in the
brain or anywhere else than will consciousness.
They are both theoretical constructs, though of
very different types, one being subjective and
folk-psychological, and the other a (perhaps)
objective neologism. (That's objective as in
methodology, not ontology.) Memetics is a
filter through which we can choose to view
certain types of phenomena, and which seems
likely in some cases to be very useful, but it is
not The Truth, any more than is folk psychology,
which is also quite astoundingly useful, when
you look at it with fresh eyes.