Re: virus: FAQ: v1.0 (b) - What is a meme?

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 18 Jun 1999 23:49:07 -0700

(b) What is a meme?

Richard provided:

>A meme is a unit of information in a mind whose presence influences
>events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds.
>Memes can be seen as the basic building blocks of culture, or as the
>software of the human mind.

I'd be much more comfortable using some variation on the Oxford English Dictionary definition:

"MEME -- An element of culture that may be considered to be passed on by non-genetic means, esp. imitation."

Rather than spreading Richard's specific (and somewhat disputable) "information in the mind" take on them.

(And, yes, I understand that Richard wasn't particularly trying to co-opt the process, but just that he was the only one to offer an answer; to provide some memes for selection.)

-Prof. Tim