Re: Positive first impression
Mr P: Whether or not I buy the whole theory, it is a good means of bookkeeping to think of these memes as self perpetuating as in the method of genes.
I think both the idea of memes and Dawkins presentation of the transmission of genes are
useful as a form of bookkeeping. But I also think that acclimating yourself too much to that point of view -- which is both statistical and retrospective -- tends to distort the transmission of information (both genetic and cultural) in the phenomenon as it happens.
By way of explanation, let me give an analogy. Keeping a log of sports statistics can be useful for certain tasks, that is, as a form of book keeping. But those looking at those statistics from a retrospective point of view isn't necessarily helpful in improving your game because they don't necessarily take into account what you're doing at any given time.