Thursday, 24 February 2011

Is this the worst definition of meme ever?

This "definition" of a meme was in the 'about' section in a Facebook quiz about how many of the top 100 literary books you may or may not have read.  It has to rank as the worst attempts at defining a meme I have yet come across.

A “meme” is a little chain-letter-like game that people send around the internet.

Is it?  I couldn't resist... here was my reply.


Oh man that definition up top of 'meme' makes me bristle.  In one hundred years time cultural evolution, through memetics (or whatever the fuck you petty academics want to call it), will be recognised as equally significant as genetic evolution; it is what makes us, us.

Without memes there would be no identity.  We would be animals of pure instinct. Memes are all human-made products, all language, all artifacts, all culture. They are the basis for our morality, the vehicle of our progression, the network from which History emerges.  When shared, they are what give us our humanity; when not, our inhumanity.

Dawkins name will go down with Darwin's as the two most influential individuals to avow and propogate evolutionary ideas.  Once humanity comes to understand the power of the meme, we will understand the conceptual darkness humanity has suffered under, the false notions of the self as soul and external, interpretable moral codes born of a time of memetic infancy, where the 'other' prowls relentlessly and power was held by the few over all civilisation.

We are now coming out of that darkness, the illusion of 'other' dissapating before our now global eyes. We will soon recognise our true responsibilities and our true sense of self within a complex network of equal individuals.

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