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PHD-DESIGN  July 2018

PHD-DESIGN July 2018

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Subject:

Re: meme

From:

Lubomir Savov Popov <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 21 Jul 2018 13:01:27 +0000

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text/plain

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OK everyone,
(A disclaimer: in this text I do not envisage any one on this discussion list. No one should take it personally.)

Don just mentioned that a meme is an unit of culture that can be taught and disseminated. I will omit the Viral at this time because it introduces an additional spin.) This is probably the clearest definition I have come upon up to now. Thank you Don!

However, at this point of time I still have many considerations and questions.

A meme is a unit of analysis. (This is my starting point.) And a concept of a very high level of abstraction that can encompass anything and everything.

Several questions: Analysis of what? For what purpose? What is the substrate of this concept in our case? (Or, what kinds of substrates are encompassed in our case. I intent do go to a lower level of abstraction and have more substantive information about memes.)

There are some ridiculous statements online, for example: the meme resides in the brain. And then I read that memes jump from the mind of one person to another. Well, this is not good even for a sixth grader. Some people evidently believe that there is mind and it resides somewhere. And the constituent elements of the mind jump from one person to another. Also, the study of memes with neuroimaging tools -- this really kills me. What? The study of the mind with neuroscience tools? I thought those people referred to the brain. Yes, the brain produces electric fields and we can study them with electric machines. At this time the study of mind and thinking with electric machines is at the level of developing a commercially available nuclear fusion technology. Actually, we might be far ahead with fusion:)

And this one "... memes: ideas that replicate themselves from brain to brain like a virus. ...  Humanity has spawned a new kind of meme, the teme, which spreads itself via technology -- and invents ways to keep itself alive. ... " Well there are more of these, and they are all shockers. 

And that analogy with DNA and evolution in nature is another shocker. Even more, when I read that some people believe that the concept of evolution pertains only to the natural world. Actually, the "DNA" in culture are all those blueprints that we make. I mean we, designers. The blueprints carry the information. Well, I narrow down here to design because this is a DRS discussion list. 

The authors of the concept of meme evidently tried to create a methodological apparatus for analyzing the diffusion of cultural traits, but could not make it. And their followers are not making it as well. 

There is so much trash right now in the intellectual universe. I am afraid to walk over there. After some hitchhiking, I need to spend too much time on decontamination. 

Maybe someday the concept of meme will be developed into an useful tool. Let's hope. No jealousy. But at this time, it is far from anything that makes sense.  

Full disclosure: I am not against introducing new concepts and theoretical framework. I myself do that very aggressively and probably annoy many people. However, not everything new is better than the old. We need to come to terms with that. For example, out of 3,000 new products only 3 to 15 survive and continue to exist on the market. This might be indicative about the rate of usefulness of new ideas. 

Best wishes,

Lubomir

Lubomir Popov, PhD, FDRS, IDEC, CSP
Professor in Interior Design
American Culture Studies affiliated faculty
Bowling Green State University


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