Meme Outline

Concept of Units of Concepts

Introduced by Richard Dawlkins in
“The Selfish Gene”
Parallels the gene as a self replicating element competing for survival
“an imitable unit transmitted from one mind to another. (relates to the Greek word mimema for "something imitated".)”


Melody, (effective) slogan, skill imitation
“Remember the Alamo”
Theme from “Bridge over the River Kwai”
Spinning a combination lock a few times

Self replicating?

Replicator – a de facto observation
Gene's that yield fatal infant diseases have  trouble replicating – ones that facilitate reproduction can have great success
“Gossip”, and “hot news” are examples of memes that often succeed (for a while)
Meme's convince us to propagate them

Insight from Wikipedia

Memeplexes comprise groups of memes that replicate together and coadapt.
Memetics – an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept of the meme. 

Some Examples affect us

Live Free or Die, “No broad based taxes”
Free Speech, Right to bear arms
Lots of money is used to find the right ones
Hope for America
Death Panels
Climate Change
(see Frontline “The Persuaders” Nov 9, 2004)

Sample Killer Meme

Neanderthals aren't like us, they are inferior
Dumb animals – not really human
Or maybe they own/control all of the resources
(hunting grounds, banks, good farm land )
Any thing they have we should have
And they should die
There are many more recent variations

Daniel Dennet's Downside

Infectious Ideas “to die for”: Religious, political, Freedom, ..
Biological impact:
Subordination of personal replication for the propagation of ideas
Dangerous Abuse – Toxic Ideas
How to inoculate populations?

Diane Benscoter

The “Moonie viral Meme”
5 Years in the Moonie cult
Extracted & deprogrammed
5 years as a de-programmer
Arrested for kidnapping
Views cult as a viral memeplex

Susan Blackmore's TMemes

Technology replicating/evolving
Using humans as a path forward,
But potentially in the future, without us
Some of this leads towards the “Singularity”