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Preview — The Meme Machine by Susan J. Blackmore
The Meme Machine
My problem is when a theory that might work quite well at one level of explanation is expanded to include other levels of explanation that do not have the same necessity beh...more
1. She does a good job of summarizing the body of literature on evolutionary models of the spread of information (i.e. other people's work). The relevant chapters, therefore, are a good introduction to the subject.
2. The chapter on alien abduction is sensitive, fair, and careful about its subject (those with the illusion that they were abducted by aliens).
Every thing else, i.e. her own theories. Example. Her theory of w...more
Blackmore completely drops the meme-gene analogy, a smart move considering that it was untenable...more
This book is a solid introduction to Memes (which I believe are a useful way to think about human thought). I had high hopes based on a brilliant TED video by Susan Blackmore, but I enjoyed this book less than I expected.
Early on the book makes many statements to counter arguments made...more
Blackmore is a wonderfully knowledgeable author, and the varied topics she dives in to while illustrating and describing her meme theory is one the reasons this book is still somewhat worthwhile.
But as for her theory, it just is too hard to swallow. Somehow the replicator function of memes is crucial in order to distinguish them as evolutionary, but then it turns out to be impossible to consistently...more
This book is basically Susan Blackmore's PHD thesis on memetic evolution. Okay, are you sold?
Topics touched upon in this book:
* How do you explain homosexual lifestyle in the face of evolution
* What is fashion
* Why/How does tool making evolve
* Why are religions so powerful
* How/why does advertising work
* How can you stop you monkey mind
It's been 5 months, so I might be missing...more
In general, I think meme is useful as a new term for old ideas to remove old associations and perhaps look at multiple ideas that would not normally be associated in a new and interesting ways, as competing memes.
Blackmore presents her theory of the meme, the cultural and mental equivalent of the gene. Her approach is quite similar to Dawkin's The Selfish Gene and emphasizes the "meme's eye view" to develop theories on the origin of language, religion, and altruism, among other things.
Dawkins himself wrote the foreword for the book and he is careful to avoid endorsing the theory directly. I suspect he does not fully embrace it. Neither do I; though many of the arguments are compelling, Blackmore confuses...more
Like genes, memes have no modus operandi other than their own duplication. That their duplication is not error...more
The very fact that the person who first posited the meme is the person providing a foreword for this book, shows how memes can be constructed to be...more
Blackmore defines a replicator as anything that can reproduce itself with random variations. She contends that science has proven that evolution of ever more complex organisms will always result once a replicator exists.
Once humans evolved the the ability to remember and communicate ideas (memes), we became replicators. the carriers of memes. The plasticity of memory and the impossibility of perfect communication...more
Le quité una estre...more
The final result is mind-boggling and heads toward a kind of Buddhism where we realize that there is no self, only conglomeration of memes, stewing about in a brain that became large because it discovered the trick of imit...more
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I think this distinction is wrong. There is no denying that the human watchmaker is different from the natural one. We humans, by virtue of having memes, can think about cogs, and wheels, and keeping time, in a way that animals cannot. Memes are the mind tools with which we do it. But what memetics shows us is that the processes underlying the two kinds of design are essentially the same. They are both evolutionary processes that give rise to design through selection, and in the process they produce what looks like foresight.”