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Wednesday, Dec. 3, 1997

The Plating Meme

by Ted Mooney

Some scientists believe that certain ideas and groups of ideas are contagious in the absolute, literal, sense. They use the word 'meme' in referring to these ideas rather than 'mindset' because 'meme' is a word deliberately designed to have the look & feel of 'gene', to carry with it the allusion to self-replication, and to convey the hard physical reality of the thing.

Religions are the textbook example of memes. I don't like to think of religions as 'contagious' because the word carries negative connotations, whereas I think religion is a great good. But, dismissing the connotations, religions clearly are contagious.

In any event, from visiting hundreds of shops and attending hundreds of professional society meetings, I think there is a cancerous plating meme out there. Plating shops don't have to be dark, dirty, and dangerous; but some people have it in their hearts that they do. They cannot seriously entertain an intellectual discussion of the alternative, but reject it from the bowels of their soul before their minds can think it through. If not a cancerous meme, what is the explanation?

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