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Thread: Memes Memetics analogy

  1. #1 Memes Memetics analogy 
    Forum Freshman
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    Jul 2006
    The following is a meme anology that I wrote for a paper I have to present—to an audience that knows nothing about memes. If you are familiar with definitions of memes -- I would like feedback --

    Does this meme analogy make sense?

    If you want to review the definition of meme read this:

    From a memetic perspective (the cold view of science) the cult like following that Harley Davidson motors enjoys as a brand is no different than the cult like following that any religion enjoys. They are both ideas, philosophies, units of culture spread through social learning and imitation. If the Harley Davidson Meme or the Religious Meme is successful it will infect hundreds of people who will in turn infect millions. The greater the rate of infection the more successful the meme. The Harley Davidson enthusiast riding down the highway with the Harley Davidson logo on his jacket, boots and bike is spreading his cultural beliefs, his memeplex, the same way a Mormon on a bicycle, wearing a cross, spreads his faith in God memeplex.

    So do you think it works?

    Life is like a dangling participle.
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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    That depends entirely on your audience. If it contains a substantial number of fundamentalist Christians, the comparison is likely to prove trivial and offensive.

    Also one could definitely argue, could one not, that the nature of the two cults (religion and Harley Davidson)and the manner of their spread is not the same. Perhaps, later in your talk, you demonstrate how they compare very closely. That would be necessary to make your approach work.

    Overall, if you are seeking to convert the audience to a positive view of the meme concept from a position of opposition, or simply ignorance, then I think the deliberately large contrast you have chosen will act against you. I think it would be more effective to use two further trivial examples, which allow you to explore with your audience the concept, winning them over to your side, then spring this larger contrast upon them. They should by then be more prepared to accept, or at least countenance it.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman
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    Jul 2006
    I do try to ease into that analogy in my talk-- this is the part before I get to that anology-- but I am thinking about taking the morman—harley out part out.
    -----This is that part right before the Morman- Harley part.

    Popular examples of memes are: ideas, ritual dances, tribal tattoos, making fire, two point perspective, fashion, styles, religious symbols and icons, recipes for making cake, sayings from popular culture like: Doh! from the Simpsons, songs, political ideologies like communism, and religious ideologies like Christianity, and theories like memetics.

    In graphic design the brand identity systems that permeate and unite popular culture, such as
    the Nike Swoosh and slogan: “Just do it” are also considered by memeticists to be memes.

    All these examples vary greatly in their forms— but what makes them memes is they are all thought constructs or units of culture that spread through populations through processes of imitation ie. social learning.
    Imitation is important to the definition of meme and is often also defined as processes of social learning. A meme is not a meme until it is replicated or copied from one human brain to another. If a thought or idea exists in your head but is not replicated (copied) and transmitted it is just an idea. But if the idea is copied spread through imitation, social learning, from human to human it is a Meme.

    Why are memes like Viruses?
    Because memes spread through populations just like viral epidemics. Just like cold viruses is spread through
    populations through sneezing, Memes spread through populations through imitation and social learning.

    The idea of memetics itself can be used to illustrate how memes are like viruses. The MEME MEME has infested the ivory towers of prestigious universities, the brains of many scientists who have spread the meme idea to their students, then to marketing and advertising writers, and to popular culture. Memeticists would say that the meme idea is a successful meme— becuase it has leapt from its original Meme pool (analogous to gene pool) and has spread in epidemic proportions to students, to popular culture, to Marketers and Advertising culture.

    Many books and essays on Meme and web sites begin with warnings like:
    Warning! This book contains a live mind viruses! Do not read further unless you are willing to be infected. The infection may affect the way you think in subtle and not so subtle ways—or even turn your current view inside out.
    —Richard Brodie, Virus of the Mind

    Right now according to memetic theory— I am infecting your mind with the Meme virus and if you accept the meme virus into the environment of your brain, into your “Memeplex” and you repeat what I have said today, copy it, replicate and spread it on to others, it could cause a viral epidemic right here right now in this very school.

    And then there is a part about -- how "selfish gene theory" lead to "selfish meme theory" and how memes are analogous to genes-
    they are replicators-

    Then comes a part about the underlying premis behind memes is that people are not in control.....

    then comes the Harley-- Morman analogy.
    Life is like a dangling participle.
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  5. #4  
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Are spin doctors unto political correctionists as mimes are unto memes? Or is it the other way around?
    P.C. used to mean partly cloudy. Was it memekins that converted it to personal computer? Is P.C. really the initials for politically correct, or does it all depend on particular context? Existentialists. Beatniks. Hippies. Mods. Punk rockers. cybersurfers. Harley freaks, Mormons, and speaking of control of fire, doesn't this include everyone but the shivering hermit sequestered en isolato in a mountaintop cave?
    Is there some refined line I'm missing here?
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