Re: virus: Meme vs concept

David McFadzean (
Wed, 15 May 1996 14:08:09 -0600

At 04:45 PM 14/05/96 -0700, Tadeusz Niwinski wrote:
>David McFadzean wrote:

>All concepts do replicate and evolve -- or die as memes do. Can you give an
>example of a concept that is not a meme?

Even if "concept" and "meme" refer to the same thing, they do not have
the same meaning. The word "meme" should automatically evoke connotations
of evolution, that is why the word was coined by Dawkins in the first
place. Ask most people what "concept" means and evolution never enters
the picture.

Words mean what they cause. Their semantics come from the effect they have
on the audience. In _The Virus of the Mind_ Richard Brodie postulates that
there are three types of memes: distinction memes, strategy memes, and
association memes (I hope he'll correct me if I'm wrong). Distinction memes
make up our ontology, ie. the list of things that are. Strategy memes
encapsulate an inferred causal relation, "if this happens then that will
happen". Association memes are connotations, thinking of one meme will
evoke another.

I claim that all distinction memes are actually association memes. Words
and concepts have no meaning outside of what effect they cause, be it
images, memories, feelings or other words.

At 06:36 PM 14/05/96 +0000, Ken Pantheists wrote:
>When I talk about this list I say it's a list about memes, because it
>does a different thing than if I said, "It's a list about concepts."

"does a different thing" = "has a different effect" = "means something

At 01:28 AM 15/05/96 -0400, Reed Konsler wrote:
>It's kind of hard, you see, becuase anything I say can be taken as an attempt
>to manipulate you...and in a sense it's true. But that very fact makes it
>recursive upon itself.

Why else would language evolve in the first place if not to influence
(affect) other people? (Notice "influence" has better connotations than
even though they refer to the same practice.")

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus