Monday, 3 March 2014

Couch potato memes

Humans judge memes, in part by the success, health and fitness of those that bear them. That makes some sense. However, the modern world allows some memes to disguise their bearers. Information obtained via the internet or television may be transmitted by a collection of individuals, many of whom are unseen. This allows one of our bad meme detection systems to be subverted. What appears to be coming from a beloved celebrity might actually be the product of a an acne-ridden script-writer.

As Marion Blute (2005) put it:

Assuming you care more about your biology than your culture (which is not necessarily the case - ‘you’ after all are a combination of both), practical lessons, particularly for teenagers, emerge from memetics. Listen more to mommy and daddy and less to your friends! Beware more of fads and fashions which can infect you multiply than of whole social identities like ethnic, religious and occupational identities. One of these latter normally precludes another and hence may be willing to leave something of your biology for itself to live on tomorrow! And finally, trust information conveyed personally rather than via mass media which, like insect-borne diseases, can get to you even when you are down and unable to circulate!
The comparison between mass media and malaria-like insect-borne diseases - which can be transmitted even from bed-ridden victims - is an interesting one.

Now that the internet has enabled practically anyone to become a meme producer, we might see more internet culture that results in couch potatoes who stay permanently glued to their computers - to better emit their stream of memes.

In the past, most memes have required their owners to socialise and engage in direct relationships with other humans. However, now it is no longer necessary for memes to leave their hosts in a mobile state. Humans can infect each other via the internet while they are bed-ridden - just as happens with malaria.

No comments:

Post a Comment