Message no. 369[Branch from no. 368] Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on
More information about MEMES and IDEA VIRUSES can be found here:
I've quoted the first paragraph on Memes for you that has the definition, which will come in handy in this class:
"The term "meme" (IPA: /miːm/, to rhyme with "theme", not /mim/ or /mimi/), coined in 1976 by the zoologist and evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins, refers to a unit of cultural information transferable from one mind to another. Dawkins said, Examples of memes are tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. A meme propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution and diffusion — analogous in many ways to the behavior of the gene (the unit of genetic information). Often memes propagate as more-or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred to as memeplexes or meme-complexes.
The idea of memes has proved a successful meme in its own right, achieving a degree of penetration into popular culture which is rare for a scientific theory.
Proponents of memes suggest that memes evolve via natural selection — in a way very similar to Charles Darwin's ideas concerning biological evolution — on the premise that variation, mutation, competition, and "inheritance" influence their replicative success. For example, while one idea may become extinct, other ideas will survive, spread and mutate — for better or for worse — through modification.
Meme-theorists contend that memes most beneficial to their hosts will not necessarily survive; rather, those memes which replicate the most effectively spread best; which allows for the possibility that successful memes might prove detrimental to their hosts."
A great interview about idea viruses with Susan Blackmore can be found here: