Memes the Idea Viruses

Posted by on March 2, 2010 in Douglas Thomas Wallace, Meme, Memes |

“A meme (pronounced meem) is a contagious idea that replicates like a virus, passing from mind to mind.” –Loren Coleman The Copy Cat Effect
Memetics is the field of study that uses a meme as the basic unit of cultural evolution. These memes include song lyrics, phrases and icons.

If I started chanting annoyingly, “Give me back that Filet O’ Fish, give me that fish!” Would you know what meme I was talking about?

How about, “Heeeeey Macarena!”? There’s a meme we all wish we could forget.

Don’t you hate when you get a song stuck in your head, but you don’t know why? If you’re married, it’s usually because your spouse was singing that song and you didn’t even realize it until an hour later. It doesn’t matter what the phrase or idea is, memes get implanted into the psyche and stay there for a long time.

Memes can also be ideas that are implanted subconsciously: yawning, fear, sadness, suicidal thoughts, fads, crowd aggression and even “going postal.” Once an idea grabs hold, it can have a major rippling effect.

The next time you start to sing a song, or you want a pair of name brand shoes, or you have a craving for a certain restaurant, ask yourself when, where and how was this meme implanted in my brain? And as you’re thinking that, remember this, for that brief moment in time, I rule your brain because I’m the one who implanted that meme. Now go and spread your own mental-STD that’s called a meme.

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