Monday, February 6, 2012

Taphophile Tragics # 7

Graveyard, St Jude's, Randwick
Last week, CaT from Boston asked in her comment why this sort of exercise is called a 'meme'. With a shrug of my shoulders, I set to work finding an answer.

In his 1989 book, 'The Selfish Gene', Richard Dawkins wrote (on page 192)
'We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. 'Mimeme' comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like 'gene'. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme. If it is any consolation, it could alternatively be thought of as being related to 'memory', or to the French word même. It should be pronounced to rhyme with 'cream'.'
The French word même means 'same'. Dawkins was waffling on about biological replication, so it is important not to take OUR use of the expression too preciously. Although, it is possible to see some slight correlation of behaviour patterns:
Memes spread through the behaviors that they generate in their hosts.
Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread and mutate.
Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their host.
Memes are equivalent to the musical variation upon a theme.
* * * * *
Welcome to the seventh week of Taphophile Tragics. I knew I should not have mentioned numbers last week! Shall not do so again, says she gesturing skywards. However, your contributions are still magnificently detailed and diverse. They make engrossing reading. I continue to monitor the links daily, all week, and am managing to eventually visit everyone who posts. I appreciate each contribution, the effort put into researching, and especially the increasing equilibrium of image and text.

Please link directly to your post, rather than simply to your blog in general. Mr Linky opens at 10pm Monday, Sydney time (GMT+11). When you can, please visit the contributing bloggers to show your appreciation of their endeavours.


VioletSky said...

I love all the flowers - and even gardens - at your gravesites. We just don't do that here. Of course our winters do get in the way....

JM said...

Now that I've seen these planted graves I think all should have a little garden on top, it's just wonderful!

Thanks for the information on the name meme. Actually, I have never associated it with the french word.

Mama Zen said...

I always wondered about that!

Annie said...

Excellent tutorial on the meaning of "meme". I too had wondered on occassion.

Today picture is purely glorious. The wildflowers growing in such abundance keep this place of the dead very much alive.

Dina said...

Oi, how did I live in Randwick a whole year and never get into this pretty graveyard?

Thanks for the vocabulary lesson. Don't you love it when someone invents a new word?!

Peter said...

Doing a great job Julie, great research as usual. Thanks. Not sure if mine really is a grave - but people think it is.

Gemma Wiseman said...

The flowers in this photo seem to gather the graves together as one spirit! Lovely perspective!

And I must thank you too for all the time you spend commenting on each post! We all appreciate it so much! I co-run two memes and do my best to see everyone, even if it ends up finalising almost a week later! I know how difficult it can be time-wise!

Julie said...

Thanks folks. I was so busy last night, I forgot to enter my own link!

Dianne said...

A pretty touch Julie with the scattering of field flowers at front .... leading the eye to the church in the background. Interesting to read about the origins of the word meme..ah! who would have thought French!!

NixBlog said...

Hmmm, I have a fascination with words and etymology and I beg to differ on the origin of the word meme. It is actually of Greek origin:

meme |mēm| noun
memetic |mēˈmetik, mə-|adjective
ORIGIN 1970s: from Greek mimēma ‘that which is imitated,’ on the pattern of gene. :-)

Lovely photo above, Julie. Planted flowers in a cemetery are so much better than fresh bouquets or (horror) plastic ones.

My offering today is from my new blog that will allow me to venture more widely than Melbourne as I have quite a few cemetery pictures form different parts of the world. Today I go to Athens!

Julie said...

Nick: I thought I included the link with the Greek 'mimeme'. Perhaps, if we were to investigate the etymology of 'meme' it would go back to the Greek as well. As I said, I do not want to be too precious with a derivation.

Yes, I understand that bloggers are stretching the limits of their CDPB 'rules' by posting out-of-area. I appreciate all work-arounds implemented.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Love this flowery plot. Don't expect a balance of image and text from me ... I am a short and sweet type though I must say that with my new ventures this year I am writing more. 100 Towns launches tomorrow. Now to go find a grave.

biebkriebels said...

I like the wild flowers on this grave.

Steffe said...

I have done a few memes over at flickr the last few years. It is a good book, The Selfish Gene, I have it in my bookcase.

The Paw Relations said...

I have come home! Thank you so much for this meme and a chance to link up with other like minded people.

What a beautiful picture, so peaceful and the flowers are lovely.

Herding Cats

Gene said...

Love the explosion of flowers on the graves. Quite the contrast to the neatly-trimmed graveyards here in Oakland.

CaT said...

wow, so many flowers on/around a grave, and so wild... indeed, really pretty.

aah, thanks for that!! so its not that old a word, actually. interesting that he wanted something sounding like gene. i do have to think a little, is he speaking about something that can be inherited, but is not (necessarily) encoded in our genes? ah, biology, biology!

and i see you started your post with my name, what an honor, and what a coincidence that i started mine with yours, haha!

Julie said...

Yes, I liked this explosion of flowers, also. I have to say though that the grave with the most flowers, the one on the right was for a young lass of 18 years, who has only been deceased for 14 years, A different approach to a grave in this new era.

tapirgal said...

I love your description of the meaning of meme. You are an archaeologist and historian :-) Also love this image with its loving touch of garden.

Julie said...

I most certainly do like history. And yes, this garden grave is very attractive, and a model for others, methinks.

kathleen said...

I was taking photos there yesterday. one of the graves in that section there is of a yopung girl who grew up with my son. She died in 1999 on my birthday. She would have been 32 in October. she died at 22

I think the wild flowers are beautiful but very sad to see them go to seed when one knew the person

I loaded up a lot to can see them from my blog magikquilterdesigns