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EDIT: Square One: Societal Memes (formerly "Pretending you're infected")

Last posted Jan 14, 2010 at 10:40PM EST. Added Jan 13, 2010 at 06:48PM EST
58 posts from 12 users

Either this guy’s a really good troll, or he has a serious misunderstanding of the word “meme”. I realize that he’s speaking of memes in general, however, his views are skewed out of coherence.
I can sort of see where he’s coming from, but he apparently lacks the ability to properly express his thoughts through text.

The term you are looking for isn’t “meme”, it’s “social norm”. A meme is a concept spread to other minds through observation. A social norm is an arbitrary guideline that determines what is “acceptable” within a culture. Social norms spread through a culture in a manner that closely resembles a meme, but that does not make them memes. They are guidelines rather than ideas.
Not all memetic phenomena can be considered memes.
Also, internet memes are distinct from memes mainly because of the medium in which they are present. By “internet memes” we mean “memes that spread through the internet”. There is no self-deception, we merely document this specific type of meme.

Lastly, as the others pointed out, this is a site for documenting internet memes, however intellectual discussion is welcome here as well.

I recommend moving this thread to General.

In a way, we are all infected/controlled by memes. All of our behaviors are influenced by whatever memes we play host to.

No one is entirely free of memes. If you speak any language, if you communicate at all, your mind is hosting many memes. Why do you do your hair that way? Why do you buy that style of jeans? Your humor? Your religion? Your political views? Your moral compass? Your slang? The meals you cook? All of these things are heavily influenced by behaviors learned from others around you, through imitation.

That’s not to say that all people blindly accept whatever memes they come in contact with. Whether you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of a meme, as long as you express any opinion of the meme, you have helped that meme proliferate; spreading to another mind. Expressing your distaste for a meme still replicates the meme. You have then created a mutation of the meme that has subverted it into your own interpretation, which can be productive in influencing the next generations of the meme, but it still survives.
This isn’t an objectively good or bad thing. This is just how memes are theorized to work.

Last edited Jan 14, 2010 at 11:22AM EST

Here’s a video that I’ve always liked. Dr. Susan Blackmore discusses how memes work in sociey. It’s a long one, but well worth watching.

TED embeds aren’t great. If the video doesn’t work for you, click this link -->

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Last edited Jan 14, 2010 at 10:27AM EST

Well everyone I`m glad to have sparked some interesting conversation. And yes I`m not trolling but a serious student of memes. Not in the sense of internet memes, but how they interact with individuals and social groupings. This thread has been most illuminating. Ste Howse


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