posted on Aug, 21 2004 @ 11:51 AM
Mimetics was always a topic I was fascinated in. If you read the book "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins, he has a chapter devoted to it.
Basically the book is about genes and how they propagate themselves. He calls humans, plants, and animals: "Survival Machines" for our genes who
control us not directly but by programming. Genes work on the survival of the fittest mentality, where the strongest traits prevail and the weaker
ones die out due to the inability of their survival machines to fornicate. However, this works in cycles. The strongest genes are not always
strongest. They change with the environment.
Now we always considered genes to be the only great replicators. Lately, we have had a new evolution, a cultural one. Imagine a diffrent kind of gene.
One that is not physical, but of the mind. Someone hears a good idea, a nice tune, a funny word. Their mind is infected by it. They go on to tell
other people, the idea spreads like a virus of the mind. Dawkins refers to it as Mimeme, or a "meme". It spreads throughout our minds using natural
selection. This explains things like fads. Everything on television also infects our minds like a virus struggling for survival. Memes are not
something we can conciously control. In a way, it is a new form of life since it meets many of the characteristics. This is how popular ideas spread
so rapidly, why news travels so fast, and why propaganda is so effective.
I have not really thought this post out since it is early in the morning but I will try to field individual questions you have. In order to understand
it much better, I greatly recommend "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins. It's only $20 and it is one of the fascinating books you will ever read.
Chapter 11 deals in Mimetics. In the future, I will create an outline before I start ranting.