Memetics is rapidly turning into a discipline in its own right. Most websites are being committed to the analysis of memetics, and new e-papers are emerging daily. Bearing this in mind, I wish to step back and have a different look at exactly what it is we’re referring to. What’s a meme?
In the very first section of the small e-paper, I’ll get back to fundamentals and will offer a real definition of a meme. I’ll then proceed to another part and ask”what can we do with our understanding of memes?”
What’s a Meme?
Richard Dawkins initially created the notion of a meme in his 1976 book”The Selfish Gene”. Memes are ideas that evolve according to the very same principles that govern biological development. Think about all of the ideas you have in mind at this time. They’re all about the funny happy birthday meme, and all of them came from someplace. A number of them are going to come from friends and a few will have come from the web or television. Examples of memes are musical tunes, jokes, styles, fashions, catch phrases, and automobile designs. The memes that occupy your mind are in competition with the rest of the memes from the memepool (the selection of existing memes).
You will see that memes act in a similar way to enzymes. Furthermore, you’ll notice that like genes, memes are subject to selection pressures. Whenever you have a situation that includes a number of unique entities that are competing for limited resources, the things that are better at reproducing will render.
Defining memes as thoughts is standard, but it gives rise to an outsider. The objection goes like that:
All this discussion about memes and memetic evolution is meaningless unless we can identify precisely what a meme is. Ideas can come in all sizes and shapes, but there seems to be no way to identify their composite memes.
How can we point to a memetic unit? How big is a meme? What’s the distinction between competing memes? How can they be distinguished from one another?
These are great questions. This is a happy belated birthday meme that’s found its way into most people’s minds. However, how about the entire symphony? It too has found its way to the minds of many people. Is the entire symphony that a meme? And in that case, then what about the first four notes?
The best way to think of a memetic unit is to consider it to be the smallest idea that copies itself while remaining intact. So that the first four notes of Beethoven’s 5th is a meme, but the first 3 isn’t. The entire symphony is a huge selection of small memetic units a memeplex. The memes that makeup Beethoven’s 5th could have been great individual replicators in Beethoven’s day. Or they may have been connected to other memeplexes. Beethoven’s mind gathered these memes and somehow they have connected giving rise to his famous symphony. Now they rely upon each other for continued replication.
Of course, the issue remains. What is a memetic unit? How can we point to a meme? What are we talking about if we state that a meme is the smallest idea that can replicate itself while staying self-contained and undamaged? The answer to this is quite simple. Memes are essentially sets of directions that can be followed to produce behavior.
2) composed text,
3) visible (or vocal) activity,
4) the neural structure of the brain.
5) digitized structures in a computer
This is precisely the form of process which goes on in humans. At a distant point in history, biological development provided our ancestors with a capacity to mimic behaviour. This meant that humans could observe the behaviour of their brains could produce the neural wiring needed to create the identical behavior. An neural wiring pattern that produces behavior is fundamentally a list of instructions, which can be translated into other mediums — written language, outward behaviour, or computer code. A list of behavior generating instructions is what that replicates and spreads in the minds of others. A list of instructions is a meme.
What do we do with Memetics?
Using a definition of a meme is one thing; doing something useful with it is another.
How do we use our knowledge of memes?
There are lots of programs for memetics. First, it can be used as an explanatory tool. Thinkers have been looking to aspects of individual behaviour and have been using memetics to offer explanations for why such behaviour exists. Memetics can also be utilized to explain human creations like engineering, music, and literature. Memeticists look at an aspect of individual creativity and construct a memetic history that may have led to that facet of imagination. Obviously, constructing historic accounts of any kind of evolutionary process is a hazardous business.
Another strategy is to deconstruct an individual creation such as a piece of music and detect the components that attracted the creation together. As a result, memeticists may eventually come to understand why it is that particular memes manage to attach to each other for mutual success as a memeplex. They may also find what it is about certain groups of memes which make them good replicators.
Memes offer us a means to understand our psychology and the evolution of our ideas, technology, artefacts, music, and artwork. They may be described as small sets of directions that produce behaviour. When enough of those instructions get together in mind, a mind develops. This type of memory can be understood and predicted by looking at its composite memes.
With its explanatory power, and its potential to make behavioural forecasts, memetics will become an essential addition to a psychologist’s tool kit. As its achievement rises, memetics will take over where psychology has left off and will grow to be a driving force in the study of human behaviour.