Memetics theory?

Randolph Fritz randolph at netcom.com
Wed Aug 11 19:28:31 EST 1993

In article <1993Aug10.050545.8468 at debbie.cc.nctu.edu.tw> 
u7911005 at cc.nctu.edu.tw () writes:
>I've read some stuff about evolution of genes and memes recently,
>and I wonder if there exists any *general* theory about evolution.
>Not only biological evolution, but also evolution of ideas, traits,
>etc.  Since there seems to be so much common in all these kinds of
>evolution *quantitively*, it would be rather natural to ask if these
>evolution processes also have common properties *qualitatively*.

There's been some research on this, under the name of cybernetics (in
which computers were originally both tools of the discipline and
objects of study) and General Systems Theory.  It's about 50 years old
by now.  Gregory Bateson dealt with some of the issues in *Steps
Towards an Ecology of Mind.* The original work predates, and in some
ways foreshadows, chaos theory.  In addition, reseachers dig into
these issues as part of specialized disciplines, where the general
implications are often lost.  As far as I can tell, there is still
some work done in this area; the "Artificial Life" people are working
there, among others.  It's very obscure, though; there is even some
question as to whether fruitful results are possible--it's one of
these fields that attracts would-be mystics and, perhaps because of
this, is regarded with some skepticism.


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