The Meme Machine unleashed, according to Susan Blackmore.

Martin Willett martin.temporary55 at
Fri Sep 20 15:47:07 EST 2002

"Simon Laub" <silanian at> wrote in message
news:3d84ec90$0$66776$edfadb0f at
> "Andrew Plotkin" <erkyrath at> wrote
> news:am2nq8$4l0$1 at
> > In rec.arts.sf.written, Simon Laub <silanian at> wrote:
> > Please do not crosspost random philosophical rants to a bunch of
> > unrelated newsgroups.
> It is of course your opinion that these are just "random philosophical
> rants" :-)
> According to memetics (Blackmore) they are not. There they are highly
> relevant to
> the inner working of the brain. And an evolutionary system in itself.
> I cross posted to two sf groups, as I think/thought it would be
> to hear if anyone there can remember seeing these ideas explored in that
> context. As you might know, sf authors sometimes point to
> interesting things to come.
> Please argue against the "rants" rather than just try to kill the
> before it gets started.
> And btw. I am not saying that I am "believer" in memetics. I am just
> interested !
> Simon
> Simon Laub

The idea that we all live in self-contained little boxes is absurd. All
subjects overlap. Memetics touches everything. If you are not interested in
a particular thread ignore that thread, don't whinge about it.

My view on memetics is that it is a great tool for thinking but at all times
it must be remembered that the memes are not real, they are abstractions,
they are incapable of having ideas, thoughts or plans. They are the pattern
observed by looking backwards at events. Memetics can help us understand so
much but I hope that this is not at the expense of turning them into a form
of deity. They are the expressions of the universal evolutionary algorithm.
That which is inherently replicable is likely to be replicated, in
competition for the means of replication (in this case our minds) the ideas
with the superior tendencies to favour replication will be replicated in
preference to other ideas. Memes are just ideas that have proved worthy of
replication. They are not, and never can be, alive or capable of planning
their own destiny. Purpose and planning cannot be generated on this scale of
organization, anymore than the nature or "carness" of a Porsche can be found
in the atoms that form it.

Martin J Willett  : The Meme Machine

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