The word meme originated with Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene.
Dawkins wrote that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a self-replicating unit of transmission—in the case of biological evolution, the gene.
Dawkins used the term to refer to any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator. He hypothesized that one could view many cultural entities as replicators, and pointed to melodies, fashions and learned skills as examples. Memes generally replicate through exposure to humans, who have evolved as efficient copiers of information and behavior.
Because humans do not always copy memes perfectly, and because they may refine, combine or otherwise modify them with other memes to create new memes, they can change over time. Dawkins likened the process by which memes survive and change through the evolution of culture to the natural selection of genes in biological evolution.
Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation and replication. A “unit of culture” (an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour, etc.) which is “hosted” in the minds of one or more individuals, and which can reproduce itself, thereby “jumping” from mind to mind.
Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen as an idea-replicator reproducing itself in a new host. A meme’s success may be due to its contribution to the effectiveness of its host. Memetics is interested in studying their success.
A meme is a cognitive or behavioral pattern that can be transmitted from one individual to another one. Since the individual who transmitted the meme will continue to carry it, the transmission can be interpreted as a replication: a copy of the meme is made in the memory of another individual, making him or her into a carrier of the meme.
Meme transmission requires a physical medium, such as photons, sound waves, touch, taste or smell because memes can be transmitted only through the senses.
A meme is surrounded by other memes and compete! Brings back information good for the person/brain where it is located/injected. Can be recognized and remembered. Memes are copied by imitation, teaching and other methods.
The copies are not perfect: memes are copied with variation; moreover, they compete for space in our memories and for the chance to be copied again. Only some of the variants can survive. The combination of these three elements (copies; variation; competition for survival) forms precisely the condition for Darwinian evolution, and so memes (and hence human cultures) evolve. Large groups of memes that are copied and passed on together are called co-adapted meme complexes. Clouds! Clouds of proverbs. One to many and many to one.
Speech-actions – shut the window! En intention = protagonist, subject/object and verbal operator. Set and setting. The brain functioning as a bio-computer, information processing at quantum level. Verbs as operators – nouns as objects. Each meme has a cloud of tags that can be analyzed at individual and group level. Or larger entities.
Concrete and abstract. The neighbours grey cat is also a member of the class “cats” in general! Everything comes as something concrete or individual item as well as abstract. My neighbour is also a citizen with rights. State, constitution, industries and marketing, work and politics.
We have 3 brains: an early reptilian – formal logical (social) and mature (cultural). We are physical (air and food) and space for reproduction. We have arts, litteratur, music, science and religion. A meme is hosted in a physical being with needs, emotions, hopes for the future.
In the intenet memes and everything are reduced to code, a string af code, bits, weather it’s a picture or text, speech or music. A file written into a file, written in a protokol (Pascal, Phyton or Html). And with another program that can read the code and show the content in an computer browser. We can browse the internet – looking for information or entertainment.
A company URL leads the a web host with a web site with information about who, what and where etc. The company web site contains a strings of codes that can be navigated f.ex. using the menubar.
Search engines helps people find the information they are looking for. Input keywords and phrases and output a list of “relevant” items!
Property buy and sell. Property-evaluation request. A sales proposal!
Algorythms: A person leaves tracks (IP-addresses) on the internet when browsing. These tracks are picked up by advertising and the government. Your mail and web site preferences are put together creating a personal profile of your person, family and your habits. Having these data advertising companies can place ads that follow you around on the internet. Ads that matches your consumer profile. Follow you into a funnel that leads to a call-to-action – buy this or that or give us your phone number so we can call you.
Memetic engineering is the art, science, and practice of directing the opinions, thoughts, ideologies, traditions, and behaviors of a population through a variety of methods. These methods may include influencing prominent leaders individually, hijacking or subverting existing communications networks, creating new advertising, forming new educational institutions, changing laws, subtly re-organizing social networks, inducing immigration, and possibly other unknown methods.