Sunday, 15 May 2011

Memetic hijacking

Memetic hijacking involves a meme becoming active in a host and overriding the influence of its DNA-genes. The idea is named after the hijacking of vehicles - where an agent who is not supposed to be in charge siezes control.

The term applies to memes that are deleterious - from the perspective of host genes.

Just as viruses hijack host cells, so memes hijack host brains.

As with viral infections, memetic hijacking can be temporary or permanent. The host's memetic immune system can sometimes reassert itself, or the host can remain permanently infected - a persistent memetic infection.

Memes that are deleterious to their hosts lie on a spectrum between near-neutral hitchhikers to full-blown hijackers.


  • Pornography - one of the more common and obvious sources of memetic hijacking;
  • Cults - cults are rich sources of negative memes;
  • Computer games - much computer game use appears to be memetic hijacking;
  • Causes - a modern secular way for memes to take resources from human hosts;
Extreme cases of memetic hijacking can result in people infected with necrotrophic memes (sometimes called memeoids).

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