Thursday, 4 July 2013


Dysmemics is the study of bad memes. It's named after dysgenics and eumemics.

With both dysmemics and eumemics, there's some scope for how the term is interpreted. Most of this revolves around the issue of what agent the memes involved are good or bad for. The value of memes is often considered with respect to their human hosts. However, one might also consider their value to memeplexes they are part of - or to society as a whole. I favour a broad definition of these terms that leaves open the issue of who or what the memes involved are good or bad for.

Though dysmemics and eumemics have almost opposite meanings, one of the main reasons for studying bad memes is to figure out ways of eliminating them. So, in practice, dysmemics and eumemics are rather like close cousins.

In science, the role of skeptics and reviewers is to identify and expose bad memes. In the arts, this work is done by reviewers and critics. Identifying and exposing bad memes is important work. However those who do it are notoriously unpopular. Society should try and ensure that skeptics and critics are well supported and positively motivated.

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