Meme theory is an idea I've been playing around with in my head. Im sure many people here have read the selfish gene! So what does everybody think about memes? Is it far-fetched?

I also just finished The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore too! I dont know...I think its pretty fascinating that ideas can evolve.

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I think it's brilliant! Once again evolution explains so much. I believe everyone should read Viruses of the mind. Even if a bit outdated, it's still quite good reading.
Yea, Evolution does rock! But how can this idea(memes) be tested? What experiments could or would you run? Also, a lot of people stumble over the fact that memes arent tangible! Is that a problem? And how would you respond to that?

If you check out>you can see Susan Blackmore and Dan Dennett giving talks about memes.
The easiest way to get data would be through marketing research. Marketing's sole purpose is to spread memes about a particular product to get people to buy it. I say it is the easiest way because I am sure there is a huge pool of data somewhere, though I suspect it would be proprietary in most cases.

Another important way to test the ideas of memetics is with computer models.

There really doesn't appear to be much active research under the title of memetics though. It's not generally accepted as a scientific field because it is really not very well defined. That of course does not mean the central concept is not scientifically sound, rather that it is not in a state to defend even the slightest criticism.

It seems very obvious to me that much of what/who we are is copied from other people in some way or another. Memetics is just an attempt to look at that as a fundamental driving force behind cultural evolution. I suspect that it will slowly gain some sort of acceptance among some bright individuals and they will come up with some concrete models for how memes could work. This in turn will bring in more people to work on it.
Can someone quickly explain what it is about again? I am afraid I forgot XD
Memes are ideas that are culturally inherited(mainly through imitation). Memes are analogous to genes in the sense that natural selection is applied at this level. Memes also look out for their own interests the same way genes do(they dont have conscious thought though). Basically...ideas evolve! I think its hard to test, but has very powerful explanatory powers when it comes to human behaviors.
Wouldn't this be sort of supported by biologism though? I can't say the idea is too out of the water, but compared to genes I think humans can break out from memes. My question is, why don't they?
Dan Dennett advocates that the mind is a construction of memes! So are our thoughts really ours? Do we really "select" for memes? Or are they just "selfish" memes that only want to survive and replicate?
I would guess that we do "select" memes that tend to fit in with our current memes. But here select means that the meme is expressed, as opposed to (ignored?). Certainly someone who believes in the supernatural would be more likely to allow a meme such as "there is an afterlife" or there is some "greater purpose to your existence" to gain a prominent place in their mindset and at the same time ignore the memes corresponding to lack of evidence supporting their ideas.

Meme 'selection' starts creating bias like this from childhood. On an individual basis a human would simply absorb the memes it is exposed to, filter them based on the memes it has already absorbed, express them accordingly so that it gets itself into positions where it can absorb more "like" memes, all in a nice little feedback loop.

The only way people could break out of this loop is to realize that they are in it in the first place.
But that is also what sets it apart in a positive way I think. We cannot control our genes and say, the rest of our body as hormones 100%.

While I understand the dangers of the train of thought I am wandering with 100% body control...

In any way, what I really mean to say is that a human can always change its means, but you can't really change your body and your DNA. You can make plastic surgery and maybe take some hormone pills but you would still be carrying the same genes. Your body is just slightly messed up.

Memes are also, from a socialanthropological view very interesting!
I am posing the question....are we really in control? Or are memes in control and we think we are! Crazy if you think about it.
If we never would be in control we would not be able to change but it is quite proven that we can. Sometimes on our own, sometimes with (professional) help from others.
I mean, when I ask that question....I am also asking...are memes in control?(If you buy into the notion that our minds are a construct of memes). If you change your mind, it could be argued that its merely just an interaction between of a foreign meme or set of memes with your mind(which is a construction of memes). So the theory of memetics does account for changing yuor mind.



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