No meme?

alt.memetics archives
February 25 - March 9, 1995
Number of articles: 4
From: cyboy@
Subject: NoMeme?
Date: 25 Feb 1995 18:13:55 GMT

Would someone please give me an example of something that is NOT a meme?


From: (Statikos)
Subject: Re: NoMeme?

If I'm correct, then the letter 'e' would not be a meme, but the concept
of an alphabet, and the alphabet itself, are both memes.

From: cyboy@
Subject: Re: NoMeme 'e' but not abcdef...?
Date: 26 Feb 1995 23:38:18 GMT

Forgive me for being dense, but I can't see how the letter e is any less a meme than
the alphabet.

If you think about it I bet the letter e is exactly the same age as the alphabet that 
contains it!

From: (Statikos)
Subject: Re: NoMeme 'e' but not abcdef...?
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 06:14:09 GMT

Well, it's not just a matter of age... 

I'm not an expert on memes, but a lowely student, so take none of this as
truth. That said, let me ramble about e and meme.

A meme can be defined as the smallest transmitable unit of social
information. To me, an e is not a meme in the same way a nucleotide is not
a strand of dna. DNA is replicating information. A nucleotide is a
component of that information, but by itself is not an replicating bit of

But at this level we split hairs; is a virus alive, or not? Is an AL
program alive, or not? Is an e a meme, or not?

Where I can see our ancient traveler returning to her villiage with an
amazing new concept to share called 'alphabet,' and having that idea
replect from person to person in that villiage, I cannot see the same
happening with e. By itself, it would not contain any information.

In the same way, one note is not often a meme; a tune is. But often one
sound can become a meme; the simpson's 'Doh!' sound, the 'Not!' from
Saturday Night Live, etc. In that instance, the note contains information,
and spreads from host to host. The concept of a tonal scale is a meme, and
travel from host to host.