This material is copyrighted but I own the copyright so it's okay. We can use these terms as we go along in our study and discussion of this interesting science. Mirror Reversal is the first novel to have a glossary since 1984. My contributions are the endmeme and memetic junk.


Etymologically “self poisoning.” The host pays a price for carrying the meme complex. Sometimes, as in the case of Iraqi car bombers or Kamikazi pilots during WWII, the price can be quite high. (See memoid) This is why Cynthia wants to keep a clean belief-space.

A striking example is the story of the “zealots,” as described by Will Durant in The Age of Faith, p 300-301. The monk, Eulogius, beheaded 859, and followers were first-class memoids, because all they had to do to escape a horrible death was to retract their insults to Islam.

The benefit or advantage one receives from carrying the meme-complex. The missionary promises salvation to all who listen and accept his doctrines. The promise is easy to make, but difficult to corroborate.

That field of the brain that can receive and store new ideas. Memes are opportunistic and competitive and often fill the host’s brain with memetic junk. This is why Cynthia is pleased to be called “uninhabited.”

Any endeavor to thwart the spread of a meme by eliminating its means of transmission. Putting a “No Soliciting” sign on your door prevents possible vectors from nearing your belief-space. Wayne played a dirty trick on Cynthia because he wanted her to stop teaching evolution.

A meme that rides along with a larger meme and is part of it. A “saints meme” or “hell meme” accompanies the larger meme-complex “Christianity.” Similar to secondary roots emanating from a primary tap root.

The social manifestation of an auto-toxic meme-complex which demands group isolation. Can be characterized by brainwashing, familial alienation, poverty, devotion of one’s life to the propagation of the meme-complex (Hari Krishnas at the airport). Usually leads to leader worship and sometimes mass suicide.

Currently without human hosts, but the memetic information may reside in books, scrolls and now computers. Anu, the Sumerian Sky God, one had a major influence on people’s lives, but now is dormant.

A tune or melody which infects a population contagiously. I always liked the story of the gondolier who begged Giuseppe Verdi to divulge the catchy third act aria in Rigoletto as they were rowing to the premier in Venice. Verdi told him that if I hummed just a few bars, the tune would be all over the city before the conductor mounted the podium. La donna è mobile was the tune.

Belief, even certainty, that the world will be destroyed by God. With all the perils threatening mankind cited at the end of Mirror Nine, the endmeme is the most unbearable to contemplate: powerful alpha Membots blowing up the Earth because they believe it’s God’s will. The other treats mostly stem from mankind’s fecundity, this one from sheer stupidity.

Etymologically poisonous to outsiders. Nazism was certainly a good example. You better zig heil the fuehrer or the Schutzstaffel (SS) might pay you an unexpected visit.

The part of the meme-complex that urges replication. Wear your baseball cap backwards and you’ll “be cool.” That’s the hook.

A carrier of a meme. Used to be humans were the only hosts. Now computers can carry and infect others much faster. A website on white supremacy is much more powerful – and scary – than any individual human.

Anything that reduces or suppresses our resistance to a meme. Sleep deprivation, truancy, sickness, culture shock, torture, unfamiliar social situations, isolation. Cynthia’s natural resistance was seriously compromised when the hotel clerk tried to seduce her.

Successful encoding of the meme in memory. An active infection causes the host to want to progapate the meme-complex as soon as possible. “Get out there and sell those Mary Kay cosmetics.” Other infections can be inactive whereby the host doesn’t even know he/she’s passing on the meme. (Kissing someone on both cheeks to say hello or good-bye passes on a cultural meme-complex.) The lady preacher in the subway had an active infection.

Cynthia called the Merry Martyrs “a bunch of membots.” Like a pernicious and deadly brain tumor, a meme-complex can take over and rule the host’s life. The victim becomes a robot whose main function in life is to help propagate the meme-complex. Ex: a missionary to Africa or a Jehovah Witness who knocks on your door every once in a while.

As conceptualized by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, a particle of information that resides in memory and can replicate in the manner of a computer virus. It is different from raw information in that it has a contagious element.

meme-complex (memplex)
A set of symbiotic co-memes which evolved together so as to comprise an individual entity. Religious and political ideologies, artistic movements, cultural traditions, life styles, languages, musical forms such as jazz, are meme-complexes. Cynthia tries to explain to Wayne how accepting a hook (a co-meme) such as “God loves you” can result in a meme-complex that eventually takes over your life.

memoid, (memeoid)
A membot whose infection is so extreme that life becomes insignificant compared to the propagation of the meme-complex. Kamikaze pilots, suicide car bombers, Heaven’s Gate cult members are prima facie, striking examples.

memetic pool
The entire accumulation of memes available to a culture or person. Emigrating to another country changes the meme pool which can seem so strange that “culture shock” occurs.

memetic engineer
One who enterprisingly alters or splices memes in order to influence behavior for his/er own benefit. Forerunners and designers of hip hop clothes, such as Run-DMC and LL Cool were memetic engineers without even knowing it.

memetic junk
All the useless and senseless information we’re constantly bombarded with in this consumer-crazed culture. Billboard ads and TV commercials; radio jingles and internet pop-out displays. The result is to saturate the belief-space so that thinking itself is compromised or curtailed. (Mirror Reversal, Goscicki, 2007)

The study of memes and their effects on society. Cynthia believed she would be successful in NYC because of her knowledge of memetics and conditioning.

Similar to the distinction between genotype and phenotype in genetics. A memotype is the underlying information, while the sociotype is the actual observable expression.

Simply a meme about memetics. I consider this a good meme because it’s educational and answers a lot of questions about current day life and history. For example, How can people be so stupid as to wage war on each other for an entire century in the Hundred Years War? Answer: Meme-complexes don’t like competition. Why else the first commandment? With all the atrocities, crimes and sins that humans are capable of, worshipping another meme-complex is the worst offense against God.

An infection strategy in which a meme attaches or associates itself with a more successful meme. Ex. ConocoPhillips claims to be environmentally friendly but produces gasoline that is poisoning the entire planet.

replication strategy
The hook or bait a meme uses to spread. Sell beanie babies and you’ll not only make some money but you’ll also be a dynamic and interesting person.

A synonym for meme-complex.

Part of the meme-complex which discourages disobedience or renouncement. You’ll go to hell if you don’t accept the meme-complex.

A meta-meme that offers immunity to other memes. Education and skepticism are vaccimes that help the host resist infection by other powerful meme-complexes, such as Christianity.

A medium or vehicle for the propagation of a meme. Any communication medium can be used as a memetic vector. Ex. Websites promoting white supremacy.

us-and-them strategy
An infection plan that places the host in the role of victim and exaggerates the threat of outsiders. Ex. Al-Qaida members see non-muslins as a threat to the peace and stability of the world. Large extended families like Bonnie’s often use this strategy to remain competitive.

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Replies to This Discussion

I'll have to read all of this later, but that is funny about the earworm. I had a supervisor once who was always picking up tunes and repeating them over and over. I did not like him at all, so I would come into working singing the most obnoxious things I could think of, like "Mammy's little baby loves short'n short'n, mammy's little baby loves short'n bread", and an hour later I could hear him singing it as he walked down the hall. Then he'd get on me for singing things like that. It was so funny.
Funny story about “Mammy’s little baby.” The more I learn about memes the more fascinated I become.

Memetics provide explanations about things I always wondered about—like what makes a song so catchy.

How about memetic junk? My own neologism (coined word.) With all the TV commercials, magazine ads and billboards bombarding own senses constantly, I think there’s a definite need for the term. No wonder we use only 10% of our brains; our belief space is cluttered with memetic junk.
Thanks for the list.

Another term I like is "Carrier", as an alternative to host. I think of a "carrier" is anything that carries or stores memetic information outside of the human mind, such as books, audio and video recordings, art, etc.

I think of "host" as exclusively a human carrier.
Lloyd, I hope you have fun with it. Jokes are everywhere. How ablout, "He (Gezer) was one of the few pros of his time who had a long career with a losing record, dating back to the old St. Nick’s Arena in Upper Manhattan. The only positive comment he ever received from reporters and boxing insiders was 'he knew how to take a punch.'"

It's easy to pass over a lot of these. I'd be happy to answer any questions as you read along.
memetic engineer
One who enterprisingly alters or splices memes in order to influence behavior for his/er own benefit. Forerunners and designers of hip hop clothes, such as Run-DMC and LL Cool were memetic engineers without even knowing it.

This is also the propagandist.

There is also witch-hunting / scapegoating - finding something, anything, to blame for shortcomings and problems rather than admit them.


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