From Memetics

A meme is an idea or behavior that spreads from person to person within a society. The term was coined by Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene in 1976.[2] Dawkins proposed the idea that social information could change and propagate through a culture in a way similar to genetic changes in a population of organisms - i.e., evolution by natural selection. Sticking with its roots in genetics and evolution, the term is derived from the word gene, which is a unit of hereditary biological information made of DNA. Compared to a gene, which has a physical existence within a cell nucleus, a meme is far more abstract and this has led to accusations that "memetics" isn't really science.

Memetics is the study of memes.

What is a meme? - A non corporeal entity. A replicating pattern of information that can spread.

These words are memetic. They are producing a memetic effect in your mind right now, without any magical mind rays lashing out of your computer monitor to grasp your fragile consciousness. Memes are information


Memes are amourphous information.

Move away from evolutionary theory and darwinism and into a more fluid strange loop esque notion of information itself. A move from the notion of a replicator into the vein of information theory—from the fringe into the orthodox.

Our working definition. :

information patterns

to add to abstraction:

["[meme]] = information :: abstracted"] let "::" denote action/process

This definition implies that memes internally are phenotypic, and, once abstracted, they mutate and their mutations are lamarckian.

information = Shannon‘s definition of information as that which reduces uncertainty. (We need to update this, and look into what constitutes information itself; the subjective aspect of it seems too leaky–information =/= semantic information.)[2]

Aside from fisher information, von neumann information and algorithmic information:

  • The existence of information is uncoupled with an observer, meaning that it should be by definition objective, as an observer implies abstraction (not including or touching upon the notion of quantum information).
  • Because information deals with atomic natures, it can be seen as axiomatic to memetics; it could be, as Shannon logically described it, subjective—but in his extrapolations of this, it was treated as an objective class. This distinction comes down to the "a priori" and "a posteriori" treatment of it; in this case we are treating information as "a priori".

From the DOD[3] : A meme is information which propagates, persists, and has impact.

Why are memes self propagating ? They offer some sort of utility to its host/node. This is similar to the notion of a replicator, as in DNA. But the Hofstaderian and lamarckian concepts (could use elaboration/link) make the entire notion of memes seem fractal, quine-like, and self-referential. A meme is a meme is a meme, ad nauseum; this is mirrored as you go up layers of abstraction—strange loops can appear due to the self-referential nature of memes, and the language contained within.

A self-replicating informational structure?

The self replication comes from the notion of Abstraction node. This is also ambiguous in the sense, that nodes are not necessarily human based.

This new and ambiguous, purposely vague term, allows for memetics to fit in with evolutionary theory. This then can be extrapolated to the notion that deep and Archaic Memes are indeed memes.

Why are Memes so hard to measure or unify? Law of Leaky Abstractions states that via abstraction, there will be a change in what you are trying to measure, a good analogy would be the quantum state, discussing memes for instance, requires thought, which will abstract information. What you are trying to measure will run in circles, the circle is a strange loop.

Discussion : On the difference between standard orthodox memetic thought and the MADRU school of thought, is that there is a difference between memes and replicators, and that there are hosts. the breakdown and move away from the gene analogy, has come via the insights of information theory. the very word itself, meme, is ambigious and describes a whole host of phenomena, while this can be confusing, it is a fitting design, it is reflexive. a meme is a meme. memetics is both a meme and a memeplex, a memeplex is a meme. information is information, this school of thought can also be seen as more hostaderian, who posited dna as both applet and code. the same metaphor of fractalness can also be applied to memes and memetics.

The interrelation of memetics and the notion of concepts. Memes are all abstractions of information. For instance in relation to Archaic Memes a concept is a concept of itself, and we suppose to replace this language with the format of meme, which is more a amorphous a term, a concept is thus a meme. A concept is a meme that sets out to describe other memes, language and all words have meanings attached, stemming from the structuralist school, these are better thought of as memes, it must be pointed out that language itself is a concept is a meme. They are amorphous, not subjective, as numbers dont tangibly exist the same anti-platonist view can be held of memes, yet they persist, the notion of them not being subjective, stems from the fact that the abstraction concept of the theory means that the concept itself is designed to use system dynamics with abstraction and plurality. Memes are not objective, as human experience is not objective, thus what is different is exposure to information and how abstract said information. Stemming from the fall out of the observations of post modernism and post structuralist schools, we can lead to a meta modern notion of being, which is inherently memetic and abstract. The concept of pain is shared, but the sensory information of pain that is being abstracted can vary in amount, and in intensity. This is why some become masochists, it is a subversion of information abstraction, they have different memes. Thus we can conclude that sensory information is the abstraction of information itself. as stated earlier in the definition, abstracted information is what leads to memes. once something becomes an informational artefact, or a memetic artefact, then it is essentially information or potential information which means it can be abtsracted into other memes, or protomemes. A circular definition, but information is information this is still true, but the abstraction of said information leads to difference in memes. Thus all Phenomenology and all experience is a subset of abstraction, the process of abstraction. Information being true as per a point in time and space.

On memetics as a science : things to consider :

  • scale
  • abstraction distance
  • scale
  • intensity
  • typology of memes (may be the best route to go down)
  • memes as abstracts
  • A -> B, B -> C. This makes it possible to construct complex cognitive systems on the basis of elementary rules.[4]
  • abstraction process, much like how a gene is abstracted and distorted out of shape, as memes are alot more fluid and complex, it is better to keep the term as "meta" as possible, thus genes mutate, while memes abstract. as well as other forms of recombination and definitions that fit under the mutation definition.
  • on the gene analogy, there is different selection criteria.
  • evolution itself misunderstands the notion of fitness, rather fitness is not all that is needed to survive and proliferate, but there exists a common and low denominator. there is a component of luck and a component of time iterations, time iterations apply consistent and changing bottle necks and selection pressures.

need to see difference between fodor thought and dennett thought, is dennett against thought via language construction ? where would memes fit into this ?[5]

cybernetica principa : (pron. `meem') A contagious information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. (Term coined by Dawkins, by analogy with "gene".) Individual slogans, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions, and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to someone else. All transmitted knowledge is memetic. (Wheelis, quoted in Hofstadter.) (See meme-complex).

questions : are humans the medium of to which memes transmit ?

More Resources:

see shifman on memes, however her definitions is too restricting.