Re: virus: Fw: L- and G-memes (was: Re: Measuring Memes)

Tim Rhodes (
Sun, 20 Jun 1999 14:04:14 -0700

Eric wrote:

>Interesting message and ideas, Tim. I think your L-memes and G-memes
>are similar to Blackmore's 'copy the instructions' and 'copy the
>product', respectively. (it is the same kind of divide, although I
>think your terms are more confusing). What really threw me for a loop
>is when Blackmore showed how 'copy the instructions' would gradually
>come to dominate any instance of Universal Darwinism -- and we see
>evidence of that effect in such places as
>(a) the evolution of spoken language
>(b) the creation of text
>(c) the vast technological communication systems of today.
>Each of which enhansed the ability to copy the instructions. DNA, of
>course, is 'copy-the-instructions' all the way -- she speculated that
>Lamarkism, even if it had never been present in biology, would have
>faired badly.

I'm only on chapter seven of the _Meme Machine_ at the moment, so I'll have to see if she sinks my boat in the next couple chapters.

But my real purpose wasn't to pick one or the other as the DNA of memes, but to find, for myself, a model in which variation and selection occurs at the brain to behavior stage as well. Right now I see stable stratigies possible in both the 'copy the instructions' and 'copy the product' arenas, with the best combining both, even where the two are unrelated. (i.e.: An easily propigated behavior can link with an easily propigated idea to form a more successful meme even if the action and the explaination have no real causal link.)

But maybe Blackmore touches on that later as well...

-Prof. Tim