Saturday, October 18, 2014
Protomemes vs. Memes
I want to avoid endless coinage of terms because as mentioned previously, endlessly coining terms without a methodology for testing memetics just convolutes the conversation and wastes energy.
However, when our minds get hung up on the improper use of a term or the lack of clear definitions, it becomes necessary to alter the dialogue with a little linguistic innovation.
Saying other living organisms have memes goes too far for some...it's a deviation from the definition of meme (a bit that transmits culture).
Bacterial colonies and ant colonies do not have culture.
The chemical memes talked about earlier are transmitters. They carry information from one individual to another, creating a network of communication and giving the network a stronger survival advantage than the individual. But calling them real memes may be going too far.
Or perhaps we can call those chemical signals, body postures etc. "memes" but call the bits that form human culture "true memes" so we can tell them apart?
(But then you get tangled up with the emotional weight applied to the word "true" and the devaluation of the regular "meme" which is widespread in nature and deserves equal attention).
So KISS me baby: Keep It Simple & Stupid.
Don't overcomplicate things if you don't have to.
This is what we'll do:
The chemical memes, postures, etc. which are network signals and form the scaffolding for cultural memes will be called "proto-memes" from now on. This shows their pre-emergence and critical role of scaffold for human cultural memes. The cultural memes we'll keep calling memes. There we go, simple and devoid of emotional weight. Let's keep going.