I can't find anything prior to 1987.
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word
As my colleague N. K. Humphrey neatly summed up an earlier draft of this
chapter: '... memes should be regarded as living structures, not just
metaphorically but technically. When you plant a fertile meme in my mind
you literally parasitize my brain, turning it into a vehicle for the
meme's propagation in just the way that a virus may parasitize the
genetic mechanism of a host cell. And this isn't just a way of
talking -- the meme for, say, 'belief in life after death' is actually
realized physically millions of times over, as a structure in the
nervous systems of individual men the world over.'
~Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene (1976)
Norma van der Plaas B.Bs (Hons) Univ.of H.K.
**New clinical studies show there are no answers.**
A stand can be made against an invasion by an army; no stand can be made
against an invasion by ideas.
Society goes on and on. It is the same with ideas.
There is no adequate defence, except stupidity, against the impact of new
"Keith Henson" <hkhe...@rogers.com> wrote in message
Ideas are living things, not carcasses of prior thought.
~Mark Kingwell, Harper's Magazine
Close, similar idea, but no cigar:
A young man must let his ideas grow, not be continually rooting them up
to see how they are getting on.
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on
harvesting Golden Delicious.
"Tam multi libri, tam breve tempus!"
(Et brevis pecunia.) [Et breve spatium.]
I have pushed it back to 1980,
It is amazing that everyone recognizes "Ideas have a life of their
own" as a quote and most estimate it to be at least two centuries old,
some say back to Plato. But I can't find the evidence!
If I can't push it back much before this I will have to consider it
possible that someone reworded Dawkins a bit to creat what my editor
thought was an "age-old" saying by 1987.
Keith Henson wrote:
Amazing Grace's Eclectic Quotation Collection
*103,000 quotations, proverbs, by people of all philosophies, ages and
cultures. CD-ROM For more info. or free sample of one category, send a
personal e-mail: gem...@shoescomcast.net (remove shoes)
. . . Grace McGarvie . . .
. . Plymouth,Mn. 55447 U.S.A.
You see, I haven't really thought very much. I was always afraid of
what I might think-so it seemed safer not to think at all. But now I
know. A thought is like a child inside our body. It has to be born. . .
. Bad or good, it doesn't make any difference. The ideas have to come
out- like children. (After the trial, Cates' fiancee Rachel, who has
left her father's joylessly pious household, recites the lesson she has
learned as she joins the forces of the enlightened)
Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, their play "Inherit the Wind"
Keith Henson wrote:
Maybe the thought can be drawn from Plato's Theory of Ideas..but not in
obvious soundbite form <s>
The Ideas of Plato are endowed with real existence in a world superior
to the world which we see, which is the object of sensitive cognition.
Ideas as they appear in our own mind are but the images or
representations of things in this world apart. If sense knowledge
presupposes a world constituted of beings and is derived from them,
equally so must it be said of intellective knowledge; hence there exists
a world of beings (Ideas) from which our ideas draw their
.[..] The world of Ideas is the world of true reality.
According to Plato, the forms are not concepts in the mind, but are
existing realities apart from the mind.....Forms are imperfectly
reflected in human affairs and perhaps less imperfectly reflected in
language, but they are not the private
possession of an individual thinker. They are "out there," somewhere.
~Gordon L. Ziniewicz , Plato the Republic: The Ideas as Blueprints
I get wonderful ideas, but I can't spell them
~ screenplay, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Somewhat on a tangent, I do remember this quote:
"An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it."
-- Don Marquis
But I don't know where yours came from.
Jo Ann Malina, make spamthis best to find my address
"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are
right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly
understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men,
who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual
influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist."
-- John Maynard Keynes
More digging has pushed the origin date back to at least 1958, 18
years before Dawkins coined "meme."
Chapter one in _Rethinking Nationalism in the Arab Middle East_, by
Israel Gershoni has:
"Haim's anthology Arab Nationalism, focusing on its intellectual
history;21 and, more radically, Sayegh's argument in his _Arab
Unity--Hope and Fulfillment_ that "ideas have a life of their own" and
that "the evolution of an idea is in some measure autonomous"22 --all
furnish clear proof of the impact of the "history of ideas" on the old
Note 22: Sayegh, Arab Unity, 63, 97.
Sayegh, Fayez A. Arab Unity: Hope and Fulfillment, (New York: The
So the quote should be on page 63, though not having the book I can't
If anyone on the list is close to a large library that has this book,
I would appreciate you verifying that the quote is there.
> More digging has pushed the origin date back to at least 1958, 18
> years before Dawkins coined "meme."
I have now pushed the earliest example of the exact saying (I.e.,
meme) back to 1910, to an unknown interviewer of Gilbert Keith
"From Chicago came an even odder example. "It is extremely
difficult," wrote the Tribune, "to determine the proper relationship
of the Chiesa-Prudente-Di Cossato duels to Mr. Gilbert K. Chesterton's
book, The Ball and the Cross" . . .
"The flight in search of a duelling ground; the pursuit by the
police; the friendly intervention of the anarchist wineshop-keeper,
Volpi; the offer of his backyard for fighting purposes; the unfriendly
intervention of the police; the friendly intervention of the
reporters; the renewed and insistently unfriendly intervention of the
police commissioner; the disgust of the duellists; the extreme disgust
of the anarchist; the renewed flight of the fighters, seconds,
physicians, reporters, and the anarchist over the back fences--all
these and other incidents are essentially Chestertonian.
"The Di Cossato affair was carried off with fully as much spirit
and dash; with fully as many automobiles, seconds, physicians, re-
porters and police, all scampering over the country roads until
the artistic deputy and the aged veteran of the war of 1859,
outdistancing their pursuers, could find opportunity in comparative
peace to cut the glorious gashes of satisfied honour in each other's
[ 1 Chicago Tribune, March 12, 1910.]
"Two months after this an interviewer from the Daily News visited
Beaconsfield and splashed headlines in the paper to the effect that
the spirit of Chesterton was inspiring a fight between the
leaseholders in Edwardes Square and a firm which had bought up their
garden to erect a super-garage. Barricades were erected by day and
destroyed in the night: a wild-eyed beadle held the fort with a garden
roller, and, said G.K., "the creatures of my Napoleon [of Notting
Hill] have entered into the bodies of the staid burghers of
"In none of these cases was there any likelihood, as the Chicago
Tribune noted, of the actors in life having read the books they were
spiritedly staging. "Ideas have a life of their own," the Daily News
interviewer tentatively ventured, but he may have been surprised as
G.K. "agreed heartily" in the words, "I am no dirty nominalist." "
[From _Gilbert Keith Chesterton_ by Maisie E. Ward; Sheed & Ward,
I get the impression that "Ideas have a life of their own" was an old
formulation in 1910, but so far have not seen anything earlier.
It is for sure a quote since *someone* said it first, but who was it?
> "In none of these cases was there any likelihood, as the Chicago
> Tribune noted, of the actors in life having read the books they were
> spiritedly staging. "Ideas have a life of their own," the Daily News
> interviewer tentatively ventured, but he may have been surprised as
> G.K. "agreed heartily" in the words, "I am no dirty nominalist." "
> [From _Gilbert Keith Chesterton_ by Maisie E. Ward; Sheed & Ward,
> I get the impression that "Ideas have a life of their own" was an old
> formulation in 1910, but so far have not seen anything earlier.
> It is for sure a quote since *someone* said it first, but who was it?
Keep digging, Keith, this is fascinating!