Memes

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daydalus
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Re: Religion

Postby daydalus » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:09 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Robin S wrote:Religion is a meme. It survives based on its own ability to replicate, not the ability of religious humans to do so (at least not directly).


Just as genes are passed through lifeforms reproducing, memes are passed through the human condition (society, culture, whathaveyou). They don't propagate themselves (these ovum aren't going to impregnate themselves!)


"Religion is a meme" is also a meme.

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Belial
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Re: Memes

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:25 pm UTC

Insofar as it's an idea, yes, you are correct. Relevance?
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Izawwlgood
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Re: Memes

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:59 pm UTC

@FIDDLEMATH: YOU DIRTY ROTTEN DEVIOUS CRUEL HEARTED, uh... MEANIE! I HAD THAT FUCKING MEME OUT OF MY HEAD FOR OVER 6 MONTHS NOW AND YOU BRING IT BACK. GODDAMN YOU!

Now i'm going to associate the game with these fora, and lose every day... 24 hour grace period be damned!

I'm really intrigued though at how that meme has propagated itself. I've explained it to people on both sides of the country and had them stop me before I was finished and say "Yeayea, now I lost twenty dollars and my self respect, thanks for reminding me..."
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Belial
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Re: Memes

Postby Belial » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:01 pm UTC

I never understood the appeal, honestly.
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daydalus
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Re: Memes

Postby daydalus » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:07 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Insofar as it's an idea, yes, you are correct. Relevance?


Well, I guess it demonstrates an important property of memes: they are recursive. Genes (as far as I can tell) are not.

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Indon
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Re: Memes

Postby Indon » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:16 pm UTC

daydalus wrote:
Belial wrote:Insofar as it's an idea, yes, you are correct. Relevance?


Well, I guess it demonstrates an important property of memes: they are recursive. Genes (as far as I can tell) are not.


Genes can be self-referential; in this, they resemble computer code. But, yeah, describing something as a meme introduces another meme. This brings up an interesting thought:

Say you have two sets of memes. One set says, "One is larger than Zero, Two is larger than One, Three is larger than Two..." and so on. The other set says, "Numbers go from smallest to largest in this order, Zero, One, Two, Three..." and so on.

Are these memes any different? Can they be different? Can an idea be presented in two functionally identical, but memetically distinct ways?
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Ari
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Re: Memes

Postby Ari » Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:23 am UTC

Does it introduce a meme, or does it modify your meme of conceiving of ideas as memes?

It seems to me memes aren't well-defined in the sense that genes are. They don't have a natural border. Do we individually append "meme" onto every idea we manage to associate, or do we have a broad category of memes that we link to things we conceive of as memes?

edit: As for simple memes, the simplest you really get is:

X is the same as Y.
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Indon
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Re: Memes

Postby Indon » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:16 am UTC

Ari wrote:X is the same as Y.


I'm inclined to agree that a simple equasion is the simplest possible meme. That would include both definitions, and synonymous associations.

Ari wrote:Does it introduce a meme, or does it modify your meme of conceiving of ideas as memes?

It seems to me memes aren't well-defined in the sense that genes are. They don't have a natural border. Do we individually append "meme" onto every idea we manage to associate, or do we have a broad category of memes that we link to things we conceive of as memes?


I agree that defining memes is tricky. I suspect that most of what we think of as memes are in fact constructs of less complex memes, and that the functions of many memes are simply to affect other memes in some way, like viral bits of DNA injecting into cells.
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Robin S
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Re: Memes

Postby Robin S » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:54 am UTC

Ari wrote:It seems to me memes aren't well-defined in the sense that genes are.
If we use Dawkins' definition of a gene, then they aren't well-defined either.
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Ari
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Re: Memes

Postby Ari » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:02 am UTC

Indon wrote:I agree that defining memes is tricky. I suspect that most of what we think of as memes are in fact constructs of less complex memes, and that the functions of many memes are simply to affect other memes in some way, like viral bits of DNA injecting into cells.


Well, what I wonder is, is it possible that our complex memes are sort of like instruction sets that help us interpret the more simple ideas that permeate our lives- essentially meta-memes? In that sense you could ostensibly talk about things like political world view as an individual meme that helps you interpret and analyse less complex memes?

Robin S wrote:If we use Dawkins' definition of a gene, then they aren't well-defined either.


Well, sure, if you go and redefine a word to mean "the thing that explains this process I'm thinking about", you risk that kinda thing. (although you can come up with some really good explanations that way too :) )
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jabberwock33
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Re: Memes

Postby jabberwock33 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:58 pm UTC

I was thinking about this very concept a few weeks ago. Ideas follow some basic properties of living organisms, namely reproduction (passing on of ideas) and death (people ceasing to believe in some of their ideas). One idea held by one person could be said to be a single idea "organism." Since ideas are rarely or never communicated perfectly between two people, there is some randomization in reproduction and they would in that case "evolve." One major difference is that an idea can also spring to life from a person's experiences without the need of a parent idea, though this happens less frequently than idea reproduction through communication.

I conclude that most of the ideas people have are pretty well evolved by now. These ideas must survive well, meaning people usually find them correct, independent of whether they really are. If it's a really tough specimen, we might never think about questioning it at all. These ideas must also reproduce well, meaning that either they are forced on people in society unconsciously, or people want to spread them. Note that many religions consider it good to convert others.

As pointed out on the first post, reproduction rate of ideas is unrelated to the benefit they bring to their hosts. Assuming most everyone has caught mainly the more infectious ideas, which seems likely, most everyone has a large number of ideas which are either malevolent or neutral crowding out benevolent. These ideas would almost certainly be thought of as definitely correct, or taken as an unconscious assumption without being thought of. These ideas are also not necessarily correct, they only appear so. What sees to be the most important application of this idea-life philosophy is examining these ideas and replacing or modifying them to have the maximum number of correct (if that can be determined) and/or benevolent ideas.

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4=5
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Re: Memes

Postby 4=5 » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:18 am UTC

I just had a weird idea

what if we don't have any original ideas all we get is hybrids and mutations of memes different enough to be interesting maybe that's what we ourselves are just a collection of memes and genes


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