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While Darwinizing Culture provided scientific validity for industrial age genocide, I think we are now either headed for the endplay of cultural Darwinism as represented by capitalist scientism (A Short History of the Metameme), or the beginning of an age of transcultural humanism informing the ethical appropriation of scientific understanding.
"Dan Dennett has argued that Darwin's "dangerous idea" is an abstract algorithm, often called the "replicator dynamic". This dynamic consists of repeated iterations of selection from among randomly mutating replicators according to some criterion. Replicators, in turn, are units of information with the ability to reproduce themselves using resources from some material substrate."
love
Reflexive Ethnographic Science (a proposed book)
"As a contribution to a scientific cultural anthropology, it constitutes a foil to those in cultural studies and related fields who deride the possibility of verifiable ethnographic representations. Instead, it points the way toward a unique combination of traditional and post-modern objectives -- in effect, a reflexive ethnographic science."
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Robert Aunger, author of the above article, has an abiding interest in testing the memetic model within cultural anthropology. Culture Vultures
"But the groundswell of enthusiasm about memes, including Blackmore's, has largely glossed over a number of problems the idea poses. In my view, those problems are not fatal. But they must be appreciated if the meme hypothesis is to skirt the empty circularity it has been accused of (namely, that whatever gains cultural currency is the product of memes, but the only evidence for the memes is cultural currency)."
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I wonder if anyone has thought to insert a memetic algorithm into an evolution simulation software package? These freeware ones are offered by EvoNet Flying Circus, and lie within The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to Evolutionary Computation.

I do not (necessarily) see the necessity of countering a cognitive virus - the proactive act of innoculation, and it's attendant cross-meme immunity being far better. An ounce of prevention: Hang with youngsters, comment and laugh at all attempts to meme-ipulate that come to attention, laugh, laugh, laugh (what is that pungent odor?)....add standard hypocrisy disclaimer when purchasing favorite beverage and/or bypassing person in need on the street. Oh, and prepare yourself and loved ones for ideational combat. Meme Warfare - A Dispatch from the Forebrain of the Global Culture Jammer
"Every outburst of cognitive dissonance is useful, but to mount a serious challenge against corporate rule, we jammers must build our own meme factory."
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Further to my rather sidetracked research of yesterday, Mark Dery takes us Hacking, Slashing and Sniping in the Empire of Signs.
"Meanwhile, the question remains: How to box with shadows? In other words, what shape does an engaged politics assume in an empire of signs?
The answer lies, perhaps, in the "semiological guerrilla warfare" imagined by Umberto Eco."
love
Mark Dery is credited with coining the phrase 'culture jamming', though I think it was a kid eating strawberry yoghurt. In a blatant attempt to hawk his book, he has placed many exerpts and chapter synopses online, hoping that we will attain Escape Velocity.
"Chapter One uncovers the roots of contemporary computer culture in '60s counterculture; dissects the libertarian-libertine politics of Mondo 2000, the New Age mutant hacker 'zine with one foot in the Aquarian Age and the other in a Brave New World; deconstructs the voodoo cosmology of William Gibson's cyberpunk novels; and infiltrates the technopagan subculture, whose members use computers in occult rituals."
killed, bored, rough

Steven Jan aims to apply the memetic paradigm to relationship itself! Replicating Sonorities: Towards a Memetics of Music
"I begin by examining briefly the relationship between memes in music and those in the verbal-conceptual realm in terms of the linguistic concepts of phonetics, syntax, and semantics."
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Perhaps music is to our meat what webware is to the machine. ...sanctity and transgression both arise from the fracturing of the "order of intimacy", the separation of the "human" from "nature". (Bataille), thus The Utopian Blues.
"Why is the spirituality of the musician in "High" cultures so often a low-down spirituality?"
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In the Application of Memetics, Michael Wilson has put it all together and in fourteen easy steps shows us how to do you. Unless of course you are doing us, in which case I suppose our magician's spells collide in a cacophonic memannihilation.
Propaganda and Memetics
"How do these two concepts differ? Propaganda creates a mindset that will accept or be neutral towards actions undertaken by the generating source. Memetics creates an active mindset that encourages participation (action, reaction, proselytizing) and perpetuation of the intent of the generating source. It depends on whether you want people to be sedate or pro-active."
With a title like The Reasons for the Unexpected Difficulties of Modern Life one might expect stodginess, but is instead greeted with the warmth of a personal letter combined with the precision of a great essay. Nancy Owlglass eyes the memetic prey (We think of ourselves as hybrid genetic/memetic organisms), (How can we avoid a future as slaves to a memetic hive?) and delivers the quiet, deadly end.
"I'd like to think the Buddhists were on to something with their denial of the reality or importance of the ego/soul and their skepticism towards words and symbols. On the other hand, there's no meme-hive quite so stunningly illustrative as, say, a Zen monastery."
love
Mario Vaneechoutte clarifies whether the replicator meme should be replicated. The replicator: a misnomer. Conceptual implications for genetics and memetics
"However, current genes are not (self-)replicators and, as I will argue below, in contradiction to the current paradigm of the RNA-replicator world hypothesis, they have never been."
love
All meme, all the time, you are tuned to ViralMedia.con; 101.10 on your neuro-dial. Meme-Based Models of Mind and the Possibility for Consciousness in Alternate Media
"Memes have worked from the beginning to improve the interface with this electronic medium so they may move more easily between the technological and the biological realms."
As well as interesting, read in an historical context Memetics; The Nascent Science of Ideas and their Transmission by J. Peter Vajk is also a precise, polished place-setting for the ideational repast that presently weighs our cognitive alter.
"Democratic institutions, some variation of capitalism, and significant personal liberty are the traditional values attributed to the West, but one other piece of the complex is especially important in this discussion, namely, the meme of tolerance."
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In order to transcend the control of PanoptiCorp's memetic engineers we must understand their modus operandi. Measuring the Flow Experience Among Web Users is a comprehensive manual for those who would (ab)use us.
"Flow..., defined as an intrinsically enjoyable experience, is similar to both peak experience and peak performance, as it shares the enjoyment of valuing of peak experience and the behavior of peak performance. Flow per se does not imply optimal joy or performance but may include either or both."
Do not expect the Theory of Options to help your investment strategy, but it does give a credible account of how we evolved into moral, "free" creatures.
"The Theory of Options provides an elegant solution to the dualism issue, based not on rationalistic argument but the neurology of the brain. Dualism maximizes the options of acquiring knowledge, and evolved during human emergence."
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Meme Storage in DNA, superbly elucidated by Douglas C. Klimesh, seeks to bridge the dichotomies inherant between culture and nature. Combine this view with the Theory of Options above and ...?
"This theory also supports the idea of multiple copies of a gene in the genome where the exon is the same, but the introns are different. So there would be different instructions expressed from a particular gene at different times."
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My esteemed colleague over at evacuate & flush lent me a lead which lead to How to Catch Insanity from Your Kids (Among Others); or, Histoire naturelle de l'infame. This is a concise and well voiced review of Explaining Culture, A Naturalistic Approach by Dan Sperber, who points to the opportunity ...to recover a Darwinian-Jamesian-Dawkinsian theory, complete with memes, by treating as equivalent all representations within the same basin of attraction....The Cerebral Code -- Thinking a Thought in the Mosaics of the Mind by William H. Calvin goes behind the scenes to postulate the cortical-level equivalent of a gene or meme; and in the process adds a harmony to my perceptual melody.
"Unlike selectionist theories of mind, Calvin's mosaics can fully implement all six essential ingredients of Darwin's evolutionary algorithm, repeatedly turning the quality crank as we figure out what to say next."
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Ad creep, brought to you by the creeps who make ads. Mental Engineering is working on a shoestring budget to unmask the memetic engineers.
"The show, on which four panelists and the high-energy host John Forde watch and critique TV commercials, aims to "irreverently discuss the ways in which TV commercials engineer our perceptions, attitudes, and behavior—how commercials attempt to engineer us mentally." "
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Now, we could be in real trouble if the above denigrated peradverts discovered research like Towards the Neuronal Substrate of Visual Consciousness by Christof Koch. All of the ideas discussed here were jointly developed with Dr. Francis Crick
"These well-known facts suggest that we are not vividly aware of much of what goes on... "
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Culture jamming is the responsibility of us all, as that is the only check able to provide balance to the otherwise overwhelming force of mass media and advertising. Steven Downs aims to crack the memetic egg in Hacking Memes. A simple and expedient example: "A popular tactic reacts to the increasing commercialization of the Web. A number of sites are creating and spreading spoof Web ads. Such ads are meme hacking at its best - they lay generally ignored, silently spreading subversion."

Oh, if only all decent and communication loving discussion lists could have someone like Geert Lovink to compile a summation of ideas...; Memesis, *deep isomorphism*, talk among yourselves....
"The essence of the meme idea is that evolution no longer takes place on the level of the genes, but on the level of culture. The fact that memes evolve according to principles of variation and selection very similar to the principles governing Darwinian evoltion of genes does not in any way lead to Social Darwinism in its old sense."
Ben Cullen was an investigator of great promise. Just before his premature death he was preparing Parasite Ecology and the Evolution of Religion for publication. "Anatomically, the corpse flower and cultural life forms have much more in common than one might expect."
"Most of the world's established religions are transmitted vertically, from parents to children, and are therefore expected to be benign towards their hosts. Yet, certain horizontally transmitted cults, such as the Aum Shinrikyo, seem to effectively exploit their hosts in a way similar to an infectious disease."
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Cosma Shalizi thoroughly reviews The Extended Phenotype, The Long Reach of the Gene, by Richard Dawkins. His finding, that "Ultimately, Dawkins presents a vision of the organic world and its appurtenances as overlapping fields of power exerted by replicators over each other and over the vehicles which they construct to carry themselves into future generations.", conjures reductionist heaven, I'd say.
"This is a technical and controversial work addressed to Dawkins's fellow biologists; it is also enviably, relentlessly clear, both in its prose and its logic. This is writing like a spear: a hard, sharp point, everything needed to drive the point home, and nothing else."
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The Science of Information Viruses, by Keith Henson is a primer for those not yet festering beyond repair.
"If this article has succeed in infecting you with the meme-about-memes, perhaps it will help you be more responsible about the memes you spread and less likely to be infected with a meme that will harm you or those around you."
love
Meme = music, quantum memes. I think these words may be highly prescient.
"If we ever want to make an intelligent machine, its operating system should be music."
With fully distributed publishing anyone, even someone as GUInept as I, may place anything into the memepool. This dis-concentration gives us for the first time the opportunity to really investigate each other's nature in all it's glorious diversity and commonality. Can we move beyond Media: The Lean, Mean, Meme Machine?
"Information gathering on the Web is a radical improvement in meme transference over contemporary media in that the brain is highly receptive to every meme along the trajectory. The more novel the information we place on the Web, the larger our collective understanding will become."
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John Harms and Douglas Kellner, whose hypothesis comes to the rather counter-intuitive conclusion that agency control of the media is required to ensure freedom of expression and diversity of opinion, move Toward A Critical Theory of Advertising.
"The current self-policing of the media in a "free market" arena has harmful consequences for democracy and for the interests of consumers and the public."
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W. David Kubiak has been there, lived in the trenches of corporatism, and survived. We are indeed fortunate as he has brought us Big Medicine 2000, A Broad Spectrum Antidote to Corporate Pathology.
"The key political issue is simply, "Why should vast, aggressively anti-democratic hierarchic bodies be allowed any political role whatever in a democratic society, let alone predominant power?" "
love
Also from the quill of Sri Kubiak is an essay that is of such grand scale, and yet so exudes the essence of simplicity, that I promptly set cursor to screen and wrote him. As generous in humorility as he is in etymological wisdom, I strongly recommend So You Want To Be An Orthodoctor? Three Big Body Revelations and A Little Heresy To Go.

Martin Gardner writes an articulate, fierce rebuttal of memetics in general and Susan Blackmore's take on it in particular. Kilroy Was Here sides with Gould's assesment that memes are "meaningless metaphors".
"Is memetics a misguided attempt on the part of behavioral scientists to imitate genetics with its gene units and physics with its elementary particles? In a few years we may know."
William S. Burroughs penned The Electronic Revolution in 1970, and could not have known that digitization would make his prescient vision even more easily realized. You say you want a revolution? Tape at 11.
"Consider the human body and nervous system as unscrambling devices. Remember that when the human nervous system unscrambles a scrambled message this will seem to the subject like his very own ideas which just occurred to him."
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William S. was talking the language of memes, though I don't think Dawkins coined the phrase until some years later. Time burrowing to the present, Stephen Downes offers us the opportunity to innoculate ourselves by Hacking Memes. Thanks to Traumwind for this link.

In a telling refutation of transparency, and an urgent call to redouble vigilance, here is Time in the Shadows of Anonymity: Fighting Against Surveillance Cameras, Transparency, and Global Capitalism. Brought to you by the good folks of the Surveillance Camera Players. Oh, no butter on mine, thanks.
"To advance a theory of transparency, one must, unfortunately, first clear the air of the stench of the widely and well-reviewed piece of shit entitled The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? (New York: Addison-Wesley 1998), which was written by David Brin, a science-fiction novelist and staunch defender of capitalism and the State."
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Memetics and Social Contagion: Two Sides of the Same Coin? is the question posed by Paul Marsden. The answer, my friend, is blowing in your ear; the answer is in your ear.
"This opens up an exciting research programme for memetics, as contagion is no longer understood as a metaphor but an evolutionary process. Social contagion research, from the memetic stance could focus on the particular characteristics that render behaviours and emotions infectious."
David Brin tells a tale of intrigue that draws you in deep, and then explodes A New Meme.
"Let me suggest that until recently, five major memes have battled over the future of this planet. These combatting zeitgeists had little to do with those superficial, pompous slogan mills people have gotten all lathered about during this century -- communism, capitalism, Christianity, Islam. They are deeper, older themes which continue to set the tone for entire civilizations even today."
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Aaron Lynch responds to criticisms of his Memetic Theories about Masturbation with hard evidence, but finds himself in a slippery situation.
"My memetic discussion of masturbation is likewise unifying, in that it proposes mechanisms that also explain a broad range of other old sex taboos."
love
I do it, I am ashamed to say. The temptation is great to use the word "capitalism" as a catch all derogation. If I could write an evil glow in html I would entag it so, and add blink for bad measure. Peter Cadogan brings capitalism into the light of understanding, perchance to turn to leisure.
"There is also nothing to compare with the power of custom. Its chains are between our ears. We are accustomed to the market and money. We accept supply and demand, managed or otherwise, as our price regulator. We know that it all depends upon scarcity and we accept scarcity. But what happens if we run out of scarcity? What if we have to make new unheard-of rules to cope with surplus?"
It seems inevitable when a bevvy of specialists from diverse disciplines get together to discuss a topic that agreement will be scarce. Posing the question "Do Memes Account For Culture?", the participants had some common ground.
"The box of concepts available from Darwinism doesn't impress this group. It seems a very small toolkit when so many theoretical alternatives are already available and there is so much complexity to explain. In fact, theory abounds in the social sciences. What is lacking is insight into real social processes."
Perhaps all specialists could take the graduate course in Conversational Terrorism to help boost their cause. A word salad, or sesquipedalianism, can easily create enough cognitive dissonance to ensure compliance. Don't you agree?
"In view of the federal budget deficit, civil unrest, and international politics, we need to consider that, notwithstanding the mitigating circumstances, this country has got to get back on its feet. Don't you agree?"
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but my dogs have little need of it; they already know they're perfect. Simon M. Reader and Kevin N. Lalandpose a question that I can certainly answer in the affirmative: Do Animals Have Memes?
"Non-human animals may be poor imitators, but many are excellent social learners. We argue that the meme concept can, and should, be applied to animal cultural transmission."
A well writen review draws me in, serves an hors d'oeuvre of the offered entree, and leaves me temporarily sated; wishing for more. Gavin McNett's summary of The Biography of a Dangerous Idea is one to be relished before trundling to the neighborhood bookseller.

Being an antimeme activist, one feels impelled to engage in culture jamming. The Culture Jamming Encyclopedia to the rescue with ideas. Exposing the Great God Hoax is a prime example.
What God looks like, eh

The revolution begins, and ends, with me. In A Fantasy for the Future we can experience a post-memetic fable which draws a crystal picture of repercepted reality.
"Slowly, an awareness emerged that it was not "what" that had changed, but "who". It was people who were affected. The world remained the same, but the observers were perceiving differently."
"...unless we're all part of the same dream. Only I do hope it's my dream, and not the Red King's! I don't like belonging to another person's dream..." Alice, Lewis Carroll In Application of Memetics we are given a guided tour of memetic engineering; how to design friends and influence them.
"It all boils down to acting like the Wizard of Oz--acting powerful, mysterious, all-knowing, beyond judgment or reproach, when all you really are is a small, ordinary man hiding behind a threadbare curtain."
Thoughts as Tools: the Meme in Daniel Dennet's Work profiles whether this is truly a reductionist view. Kelby Mason does not believe so, and points out that we must not confuse reductionism and materialism.
"Far from crippling us with a sense of our own impotence, then, memetics should empower us. For it is not just as a science of thought that Dennett is interested in it, but also as a technology of thought. This conception of thoughts is one that encourages us to take control of them, and use them to their full advantage: if we can now get a science (in the form of memetics) of the ideas that rule us then, according to Dennett, we will have that much more power over ourselves and our environment."
Crash Contagion uses memetic theory to examine the behavior of a large population; and gives us this quote from Daniel Dennett: ""A scholar is just a library's way of making another library".
"Using a memetic interpretation of the events following the death of Diana, this paper introduces memetics, by way of example, to social scientists and social researchers. Substantively, the paper argues that much human behaviour may be a product of non-rational imitation and suggests that such an interpretation may help explain the mass hysteria following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales."
Perhaps the virulogical view of language is also reversably applicable; viruses as the memetic transmission of DNA "ideas". Steven Shaviro leads us from Burrough's tapeworm to a transmemetic vision; in 2,861 well chosen words.
"Which came first, the intestine or the tapeworm?" In this epigram, Burroughs suggests that parasitism--corruption, plagiarism, surplus appropriation--is in fact conterminous with life itself.
In concluding Perpetuity and Compatibility, the author proposes that we each make a commitment to pass on a beneficial meme to one person a year, and get a commitment from them to do the same. The pyramidal result is ten billion infections in thirty-four years - everyone.

These excerpts from The Memetic Mind: Natural Selection in Mental Software examine memetic effects on individual and collective intelligence. Topics such as the belief in corporal punishment of children, belief in psychic powers, and Nazism and neo-Nazism are covered.
"Even scientific and pseudoscientific ideas about intelligence itself may have their fates dramatically altered by the difference between individual intelligence and population intelligence."
Is common sense an oxymoron? I don't think so, but rather agree with Leon Felkins in his analysis of the impact of memes on our ability to pay attention. In his websay, Common Sense: Why is it so Uncommon?, he argues that the time of memetic influence must end, and in transmemetic understanding we will come to our common sense.

Grokking the lexicon of memetics goes a long way toward understanding. For instance, countries have an army of memoids infected with a particularly virulent strain of an auto(and exo)-toxic meme, purposefully designed by memetic engineers to have a high tolerance potential, a high level of mimicry, and insidious earworms, that symmetically have created a co-memetic belief-space with very low response to vaccimes.

Getting down to business and diving into serious memetic research is Derek Gatherer's Macromemetics: Towards a Framework for the Re-unification of Philosophy.
"One of Anglo-American philosophy's most flourishing branches is Evolutionary Epistemology, which also derives from Popper's Darwinian approach to the themes of consciousness and the history of ideas. Memetics thus represents a possible framework for the reconciliation of the two main branches of Western philosophy."
If you are sated and comfy, you may be ready to tackle Models for Interacting Populations of Memes: Competition and Niche Behavior.
"We make use of a set of text analysis tools, primarily based on Latent Semantic Indexing, to study the dynamics of memes on the Net."
Susan Blackmore outlines her crucial research in Meme, Myself, I. This is further elucidated in the essay Memes, Minds and Selves.
Dawkins ends The Selfish Gene with his famous claim that: "We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators". Yet, if we take his idea of memes seriously, and push it to its logical conclusion, we find that there is no one left to rebel.
Culturology is a study of the integral, contained cultures, national, professional, racial, sexual, etc.; and is an examination of a whole system. "In the next phase it will be essential to integrate all of these alternatives in a broader cultural model capable of appealing not only to specific minorities but to the universal potentials of human understanding. Thus, multicultural differentiation may finally lead to the experience of a new, expanded creative totality which is transculture."

When a polymemetic web is firmly entrenched within a large population, violence has been the usual way to shake it out. This article makes it clear that each of us must work toward a transmemetic understanding.
"One of the most dangerous aspects of the present cultural and social counterrevolution is the widespread belief that capitalism is here to stay, that it is a "natural" social order, and that attempts to change its basic structure are futile and irrelevant at best and pernicious at worst."
Be afraid, be very afraid


This is the holy salvation meme. God(tm) is its author. I received it directly from God(tm). God(tm) is the meme and the meme is God(tm). This meme author illustrates most of the common replicator properties displayed by monotheistic religions. Church of the Holy Salvation Meme

Mario Vaneechoutte clarifies whether the replicator meme should be replicated. The replicator: a misnomer. Conceptual implications for genetics and memeticsA Course in Memetics (erk) is to be had at Thought Contagion Science - The Science of Self-Spreading Beliefs.
"Every science has a pseudoscience tagging alongside, and memetics is no exception--so reader beware!"


On the other hand, Liane Gabora writes that "Knowing everything there is to know about how concepts or ideas can get represented in the mind of an individual would not take us far toward an account of why individuals understand the world the way they do, or explain why their understanding differs from that of their ancestors." in her essay A Day in the Life of a Meme.

"Imagine if you will a memetic attractor pulsing at the heart of your mailing list community. This memetic attractor is a gravitational force, comprised of the topics and interpersonal dynamics which make the mailing list a community. It is likely what brought you all together in the first place; and it is an evolving thing, growing as the community grows." The Resonance Project presents the concept of netrip.

This paper is intended as a focal article to raise philosophical issues about the nature of memes and memetic theory. John S Wilkins presents a good backgrounder, and I especially found his table of the analogues between biological and cultural entities and processes, clarified my view.

Culture jamming is one of the means available to the dedicated transculturist, and here is the Culture Jammers' Encyclopedia.

A Canadian group dedicated to anti-ads - popular media won't run their messages for fear of alienating clients - is using the anti-meme approach.

In The Power of the Meme Meme, Susan Blackmore argues that Without the theory of evolution by memetic selection nothing in the world of the mind makes much sense.

The self-replicating ideas are conspiring to enslave our minds. This quote is from Metamagical Themas by the inimitable Douglas Hoffsteader, but this review shows that if you're laughing yer alright.

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