Saturday, 11 January 2014

Memetics as a paradigm shift

One of the problems people have in understanding memetics is that it represents a paradigm shift.

Richard Brodie, in Virus of the Mind (1996), put it this way:

Viruses of the mind, and the whole science of memetics, represent a major paradigm shift in the science of the mind.

In Thought Contagion, AAron Lynch (1998) wrote:

Memetics represents just such a paradigm shift. In a nutshell, it takes the much explored question of how people acquire ideas, and turns it on its head - the new approach asks how ideas acquire people. More exactly, memetics treats both questions as valid, but finds the new form more useful for some topics, the old form better for others.

In my book, Memetics (2011) I wrote:

[Memetics] is a major paradigm shift - probably the biggest disruption in evolutionary theory since 1859. However it isn't just a paradigm shift. Not only is our understanding of evolutionary theory changing, but the way in which evolution actually happens is changing too.

This explains I believe, why some people have such a hard time understanding memetics - when the topic isn't really particularly complicated or difficult. They are still stuck in the old paradigm.

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