Re: virus: Does a dog have meme-nature?

Peter =?iso-8859-1?Q?=D6kner?= (
Thu, 6 Jun 1996 19:40:25 +0100

Well, i still think this thread is interesting, if not because of what we
can learn about animal behaviour, then in what it reveals about ourselves.
Its also that old question about knowledge for its own sake, or for its
imediate usefullness to what ever purpose.

KMO wrote:

>Peter Okner wrote:
>>"A human can teach a dog to play fetch the ball and the dog can teach
>>another human in reverse.

>True enough. I would still maintain that these cases, as they do not
>involve abstract symbols, are not of much interest. The interesting cases,
>especially with dogs who play fetch and thus facilitate the propagation of
>the 'fetch' meme-complex, involve, as I wrote yesterday, human guidence.

Not necessaryly, the point i was trying to make was that if you put a `fetch=
infected dog in a population of non-infected humans and dogs, i would give i=
a pretty good chance of spreading the memetic behaviour. Ever seen a dog
trying to teach a kid the game? And i wonder what the evolutionary
relationship the fetch game has with game fetching behaviour (ducks etc.).

> I would maintain that replicating patterns of non-genetic
>information get interesting when they have symbolic content.

Not that i'm an expert on animal behaviour, but such an act as a dog rolling
over on its back and exposing its throat does seem full of symbolic content =
me. And to explain this in terms of genetic hardwiring, a dog that exposed =
throat a little bit when losing a pitched fight and gaining survival value f=
this, seems difficult (to me).
Dawkins originaly used hula-hops (or what ever those rings are called in
english) as examples of memes. They are pretty low on symbolic content,
but made good examples.

Michael wrote:
" Doesn't every imprinted method or behavior contain a genetic component?
Who is to say what "threshold" qualifies for "memism"? If kissing is
60% culture and 40% instinct, and the bee dance is 5% culture and 95%
instinct (how do you measure these things?) and ecstasy from devotional
prayer is, say, 40% culture and 60% instinct (however redirected from
original purposes) and Fido sitting on command is 65% culture and 35%
instinct where do you draw the line? Would we have a fork without hunger?
But isn't a fork a replicable meme?"

I agree to the genetic component, thou i would phrase it as:
the genetic ability to accomodate the memes.
Also there must be a distinktion between the language based memes and
the physical or technical ones. Infact, there must be several distinctions.
Which are they?

Stephen wrote:
>Michael Potts wrote:
>> Does anyone else see a little Homo-centric prejudice working in this
>I agree. But then again, Art History and Archeology are very
>homo-centric as well. What can we do to remedy that?

Not a problem as far as those fields are concerned, thats what they do.
But if you see memetics not only as a study of human culture and cognition,
but also of pattern replication and complexity, and of its ways of
propagation-media, as i do, then there is no need for a limited field.
Non-earth geology was a field of little esteem until data started coming in.

> I haven't read anything about a
>chain of creation, yet that's what you see. You have the chain of
>creation meme. Do you see how memetics points to **how ideas are

If you have ever been in touch with a judeo-christian-muslim society
you have been touched by the chain of creation meme. Its a big one.

>I don't believe a fork is a meme. A fork is a thing. Forks in cultural
>contexts might be associated with memes. For example very fancy solid
>silver forks in a four star haut cuisine restaurant are associted with
>different memes than say, a fork that is handed to you in a chinese
>noodle house because you don't know how to use chop sticks.

">Brodie: "...When you are programmed with an association-meme, the
presence of one thing triggers a thought or feeling about something
else..." Wouldn't Pavlov have an opinion on this?"

Memes are associated with memes, be they physical (for example body
language) or technical (forks) as well as linguistic. This is the
i read into the use of words like memecomplex and memesphere.
The fact that memes trigger feelings are a diffrent sort of phenomena,
its personal and propably what Stephen calls 'performative ideas'.
Some connection in my personal history makes me link the meme `revolution=B4
with a brief feeling of exitement, some other makes me link desolate beaches
with existential feelings. Beaches not shaped by human hand, that is,
things in the true sense that i think Stephen was adressing.

Maybe the thread is no more illuminating than the original question,
whether dogs have budda nature or not, but also no less.
Gotta go, have fun!

Peter =D6kner
Memes wants to be free, sucessfull, and have little intrest in truth.
In fact they are much like people.