Memetics is quickly becoming a discipline in its right. Many websites are now devoted to the study of memetics, and new e-papers appear every day. With this in mind, I wish to step back and have another take look at what it is we are speaking about. What is a meme?
In the very first section of this small e-paper, I’ll get back to basics and can offer a tangible definition of the meme. I will leave your site and go to the next section and ask, “what can we do with our understanding of memes? ”
What is a Meme?
Richard Dawkins first created the idea of a meme in the 1976 book “The Egocentric Gene.” Essentially, memes are generally ideas that evolve by the same principles that oversee biological evolution. Think about the many ideas that you have in your head at the moment. They are all memes, and they mostly came from somewhere. Some should have come from friends and others from the internet or television set. Examples of memes are musical technology tunes, jokes, trends, clothing, catchphrases, and auto designs. Now, the memes that inhabit your mind compete with all the other memes in the meme pool (the number of all existing
memes). Therefore they are all competing to get by themselves copied into other people’s heads. Some of these memes do rather effectively. Every time you whistle your favorite beat or utter a valuable find phrase, you are typically facilitating the spread of those memes. If you wear something “in fashion,” you are helping thinking about that fashion enter other’s minds. Consider the first several notes of Beethoven’s fifth symphony or the “Happy Birthday” song. These are ideas that inhabit our minds and have very successful at replicating. These memes have found their way into millions of minds, but they have also managed to leave duplicates of themselves on paper, within books, on audiotape, upon compact disks, and on pc hard drives (Silby 2000).
There is a limited amount of memory space for storage on this planet, so just the best memes manage to implant themselves. Memes are proficient at replicating and tend to leave many copies of themselves within minds and in other mediums such as books. Memes that are not so good at replicating often die out. We can think about what sorts of memes have grown to be extinct. Ancient songs which were once sung and never created down are one example.
A different example is the many experiences that were once told but have since slipped into oblivion. An account is a vast collection of memes that have come to rely on one another for replication. Such a design is known as a memeplex. Stories usually are memeplexes that are in intense competition with other memeplexes. If a story replicates through reports getting told and examined by people, it will probably survive. If it stops receiving a read, it will become died out. Libraries are full of memetic fossils in the form of books that contain a variety of ideas that are never looked at (Silby 2000).
You will see that memes behave similarly to passed-down genes. Furthermore, you will notice that selection pressures control genes and memes. Whenever you use a situation with several one-of-a-kind entities competing to get limited resources, the agencies that are better at recreating will leave more replicates of themselves. In the case of memetics, memes are competing regarding minds to inhabit. People who are better at recreating are those who manage to acquire expressed in behavior (for example, behavior such as whistling).
Defining memes as concepts is standard, but it brings about an objection. The opposition goes like this:
All this discussion of memes and memetic evolution is meaningless except if we can identify exactly what a meme is. Ideas can come in various sizes, but there seems to be no chance to identify their composite memes. How can we point to any memetic unit? How big is any meme? What is the difference between competing memes? How can they be distinguished from the other person?
These are good questions. To help highlight the problem with memetics, consider the first four records of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. This meme has located its way into many people’s minds. But think about the entire symphony. It has also found its way to the minds of many people. Is a whole symphony a meme? And if so, then why not consider the first four notes? Why not consider the first three notes, possibly the first five notes? Usually, are these all memes?
The best way to visualize a memetic unit should be to consider it to be the minor indisputable fact that copies itself completely while remaining intact. So the initial four notes of Beethoven’s 5th are a meme; even so, the first three are not. Often the 4th note is always at this time there, making up the memetic system. The entire symphony is a huge bunch of small memetic units — a memeplex. The memes that make up Beethoven’s 5th have been good individual replicators of Beethoven’s day. Or they will often have been attached to other memeplexes. Beethoven’s mind collected this kind of meme, and somehow, many people got connected, giving growth to his famous symphony. Now they depend upon each other to get continued replication.
Of course, often, the question remains. What is a memetic unit? How can we examine a meme? What are most of us talking about when we say that a new meme is a minor indisputable fact that can copy itself even though remaining self-contained in addition to intact? The answer to this is relatively simple. Memes are, in essence, instructions that might be followed to produce behavior. Recommendations can be encoded in often:
1) musical notation,
2) written text,
3) seen (or vocal) action,
4) the neural structure of the brain.
5) digitized supports in a computer
A meme that produces the behavior connected with whistling the first four pieces of paperwork of Beethoven’s Fifth is usually encoded in any of these programs, and it will give rise to the same actions. When a mind encounters the instruction set that delivers behavior, it can reproduce this behavior by creating a proper neural “program.” The best way to look at this is to consider if you are in the computer world. Suppose a robot is produced which contains a number of integrated programs. One of these programs allows it to write small behavior routines. Essentially the robot can adjust its behavior by creating small programs. A feature of this program is that it allows the particular robot to observe the behavior of other robots and compose programs that produce identical behavior. In effect, it can duplicate other robots. Now, these kinds of programs are memes. They may not be a part of the robot’s inborn behavior — instead, these are produced by imitation. Such plans can be translated into diverse languages and written on paper. They can also be carried to other robots who browse the instructions, simulate the behavior, and write their programs.
This is precisely the almost process that goes on with humans. For some distant reason in history, biological evolution allowed our ancestors to imitate behavior. This designed that humans could take notice of the behavior of others, and the brains would produce the particular neural wiring needed to create the same behavior. A nerve organ wiring pattern that creates behavior is essentially a list of guidelines, which can be translated into additional mediums — written vocabulary, outward behavior, or personal computer code. A list of behavior-creating instructions is the thing that will replicate and spreads into the minds of others. A directory of instructions is a meme.
What / things do we do with Memetics?
Having a definition of a meme is one thing; doing something helpful with it is another. How can most of us use our knowledge of memes? There are several applications for memetics. First, it can be used as an explanatory tool. Thinkers have already been looking at aspects of human actions and using memetics to explain why this behavior exists. Memetics can double explain human creations, including technology, music, and reading. Memetics looks at an aspect connected with human creativity and then acquires a memetic history that will have resulted in that area of creativity. Of course, constructing ancient accounts of any sort of evolutionary process is a dangerous small business. Evidence is incomplete, and it is impossible to determine the truth from “just so” stories.
A different approach is deconstructing an athlete’s creation- such as a bit of music- and discovering the constituents that brought the formation together. By doing this, memetics could eventually come to understand why it can be that certain memes manage to go with each other for mutual endurance in a memeplex. They may also find what it is about certain multiple memes that make them these good replicators.
In addition to the previously mentioned, memetics has the potential to boost our study of mindsets. In the future, psychologists may check out memetics to discover the origin of certain psychological conditions. Maybe multiple personality disorder could be explained by the existence of two (or more) competing memeplexes that all define a sense of self (Susan Blackmore (1999) calls this kind of memeplex a ‘selfplex’). The theory behind this thinking is that a human mind is any memetic construct. When a human brain becomes inhabited by an ideal collection of memes, the web forms a mind, and a selfplex develops. Anomalies such as mental depression (non-physiological) or craving might be explained by memetic malware that influences the behavior in the selfplex.
Putting these options aside, the ultimate goal regarding memetics should be its capacity to predict behavior and advance future memetic supports. Future memetic psychologists can use their knowledge of memetics to help predict what will happen when people have confronted certain combinations of memes. If they are successful at making such predictions, you might determine which combinations connected with memes will produce criminal behavior. Attempts may be made to filter several memes out of the meme pool. Naturally, this would open up a new controversy on the wisdom of censorship and the purposive destruction connected with memes. Who, after all, will decide which memes to drive into extinction?
Into the Future…
With success, the “meme” meme has often gotten itself entrenched inside the meme pool. It is spreading fast around the human species within the speed of light, and it will one day include infected everyone’s mind. It has reproductive success is an account of its infectious electrical power. Something about the “meme” meme makes it a suitable replicator. The idea fits in well with the various other memes that inhabit each of our minds, and something about it makes us want to communicate the idea to other people. We are, which allows its survival.
Memes present a way to understand each of our psychology and the evolution of our thoughts, technology, artifacts, songs, and art. They can be understood to be small sets of guidance that produce behavior. Any time enough of these instructions meet in a brain, a head develops. Such a mind might be understood and predicted by searching its composite memes.
Memetics will become an essential addition to your psychologist’s tool kit, featuring its explanatory power and probability of making behavioral predictions. Because it is success increases, memetics will need over where psychology has gone off and will become a power in studying man behavior.
Memes were Merged from the Following Sources:
Blackmore, Susan. (1999). The Meme Machine. Oxford University Hit.
Dawkins, Richard. (1976). Typically the Selfish Gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dawkins, Rich. (1986). The Blind Watch manufacturer. London: Longmans.
Dennett, Daniel C. (1991). Consciousness Defined. Penguin Books, 1993.
Dennett, Daniel C. (1995). Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Penguin Textbooks, 1996.
Silby, Brent. (2000). “The Evolution of Engineering: Exposing the Myth of Inventive Design.”