Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Memetic immunity

I have a whole chapter about memetic immunity in my 2011 book on memetics. There's a brief summary on my meme therapy article but otherwise, but I don't have much in the way of public web pages on the topic. It's a very important subject area, so perhaps I should have a public resource on the topic.

Memes are the genes of cultural symbionts. They can be mutualists or parasites. Avoiding memetic parasites is what memetic immunity is all about. In my book, I classify ways in which memetic immune systems can be boosted. My classification goes something like this:

  • Memetic vaccinations;
  • Probiotic 'good' memes;
  • Behavioural meme avoidance and prophylactic meme barriers;
  • Immunity from past infections;
  • Immunity from existing infections by rival memes;
To give some examples, mantras block out memes, affirmations replace bad memes with good ones and scepticism attempts to selectively target bad memes by strengthening the memetic immune system.

Boosting memetic immunity is an important aspect of meme therapy. It is a type of memetic preventative medicine.

Memeticists have previously proposed the terms "memune" and "vaccime" to refer to concepts associated with memetic immunity. These days I find these terms to be too irregular and too cutesy.


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