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MEMES!!!!

User Thread
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
MEMES!!!!
Alright, I just watched a video on this stuff (memes), never heard about it before, and it makes a lot of sense! Basically it's a perspective of looking at ideas as parasites (which it turns out is quite a snug fit for them.)

For me this made a connection with a maxim I've gathered from Buddhism which says that (in my own words) "your thoughts are not you." Ideas, like parasites, can hijack the mind and control the host to such a degree as to make them suicidal for the survival of the idea!!

Look at the history of Islam and Christianity and it's easy to see that the submission to Allah or God is the same thing as submission to the idea that they stand for (or submission to a parasite in your mind!)

Neo-Nazis, PETA, Liberals, Conservatives - they all have their own creeds (some more clear than others.) I don't think, however, that all thoughts or ideas are poisoning. Some can be aids to a truer understanding of nature. Other than that their only interested in their own survival!

Check out the video and share your thoughts:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dan_dennett_on_dangerous_memes.htmla >
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Wyote is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I've been very fascinated with memetics for a while now. I would shy away from using the term parasite as it has very negative connotations for people. I like the definition in this video which is pretty much just "information that is copied." A lot of memes are willingly copied and are very good and useful.

The problem with Dan Dennett's argument is that he uses this example of an ant which starts inexplicably climbing a blade of grass. This has no benefit to the ant. This is because a micro-organism has "hijacked" the ants brain. What is really happening here is that the benefit is for the micro-organism. Memes are not capable of being benefited and humans don't do things unless it benefits them. Memes do not "hijack" our brains because we can choose to perpetuate a meme or not. The ant is forced to behave unusually because of the micro-organisms influence.

I think people with negativity perpetuate negative memes. People with more positivity perpetuate positive memes. And the more logical a person is, the more useful the meme.

This video also delves into technological memes, or as she calls them "temes," as well as how memes correlate with the evolution of our civilization. Cool stuff!

And here is something just for fun:
http://www.dipity.com/user/tatercakes/timeline/Internet_Memes/embed_tl?f
s=1
This video appears to have been removed



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"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge. - Thomas Carlyle"
[  Edited by Wyote at   ]
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"Memes are not capable of being benefited and humans don't do things unless it benefits them."

Are you sure about that? What is the parasite doing that the memes aren't? The parasite is trying to survive and spread. Whether memes are conscious or not it is their nature that the more clever, robust memes survive and prosper. I think a parasite is a very fitting comparison.


"Memes do not "hijack" our brains because we can choose to perpetuate a meme or not."

Let's take a look at the terrorist brand of Islam. Aren't the minds of suicide bombers in a sense hijacked by this meme? It's pounded into them by who? A person's bad intent or a meme? Seems like it's a combination of both.

And isn't this particular meme trying to wipe out all of the other memes so it's the only one? Some memes are more caustic and hostile than others.


"The ant is forced to behave unusually because of the micro-organisms influence."

Any more forced than a suicide bomber? This is all speculation but I think memes might actually have some physical, measurable characteristics.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Wyote is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Memes are similar to parasites in the way that they are copied and spread, but a human still has the ability to choose to copy a meme. Some have become so ingrained in society that it would seem as though there is no choice in the matter, but there is. Also, some are taught to us without our consent as we grow up, so in this case you could argue that your brain is hijacked but once you are old enough to be self aware you have the choice to reject these memes. In the case of the ant, there is no choice. Their brain truly has been hijacked.

In the case of the suicide bomber, they still make a choice. Many choices in fact. They may have grown up in a negative environment which resulted in several negative choices, ultimately ending in a position where they feel there is no choice but there still is.

The concept of memes was basically introduced by Darwin so everyone seems to think that they must operate exactly like the evolutionary process. I disagree, but I realize I'm in the minority here.

People who suffer from schizophrenia, depression, ADHD ect. can be more closely correlated to the ant. If somebody can prove that memes cause such diseases then they can compare memes to viruses.

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"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge. - Thomas Carlyle"
 46yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that Sorceress is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I haven't looked at the links yet but isn't this the same concept as conditioning?

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""Each child holds the world in an open hand to mould it into any shape they choose.""
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
If you continue looking at memes as parasites, then critical thinking and skepticism become a sort of immune system for the mind (funny thing is, I think some skeptics have become so skeptical that its almost become a sort of cleanliness disorder. Fear of dirt and germs (in this case: ideas that are bad for you) has led them into an environment of sterility which they are deathly afraid to venture out.)

"Also, some are taught to us without our consent as we grow up, so in this case you could argue that your brain is hijacked but once you are old enough to be self aware you have the choice to reject these memes."

That's what I'm saying. The mental "immune system" of a kid is weak compared to (I don't wanna say an average adult!) someone who has spent a good deal of time reading and studying.

"They may have grown up in a negative environment which resulted in several negative choices, ultimately ending in a position where they feel there is no choice but there still is."

The negative environment seems to have made them more susceptible to these bad kinds of memes. It's almost like the negative environment is akin to a disease like HIV where the afflicted person can become deathly ill from even the common cold.

"The concept of memes was basically introduced by Darwin so everyone seems to think that they must operate exactly like the evolutionary process."

Do you mean Dawkins? He was the one who invented the term. He is a Darwinian though.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Wyote is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Dawkins coined the term, but as you said he was a Darwinian and used Darwins work as a basis.

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"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge. - Thomas Carlyle"
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"The concept of memes was basically introduced by Darwin so everyone seems to think that they must operate exactly like the evolutionary process. I disagree, but I realize I'm in the minority here."

I don't think memes MUST operate exactly like the evolutionary process. If the shoe fits...

I don't think (and I could be wrong) Darwin made any mention of memes or anything of their description. There are loads of scientists that are Darwinians (probably 99%.) I guess, in a way, all of their work is influenced by Darwin's famous "survival of the fittest" because it's pretty much become a general truth now. But I think it's a stretch to say that Dawkins work on memes used Darwin's as a basis here (maybe as a metaphor; I haven't read his book on them so I can't say.)

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Wyote is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
I don't think (and I could be wrong) Darwin made any mention of memes or anything of their description. There are loads of scientists that are Darwinians (probably 99%.) I guess, in a way, all of their work is influenced by Darwin's famous "survival of the fittest" because it's pretty much become a general truth now.


No shit. And therefore, Dawkins being a Darwinian must have meant that his ideas came from Darwin. I'm sure Darwin wasn't even the first to come up with the idea, but his works are used as a basis for tons of scientists. The concept of memes has its basis in Darwinism, Dawkins simply coined the term and used the processes (laid out by Darwin!) as a basis for explaining how memes operate and this is typically the accepted way that memes operate and I don't agree. I don't know how I can be more clear than this and I'm not here to argue about any of it, I simply do not agree that memes operate this way. Memes are not some intangible brigade of creatures fucking with us without our consent.


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"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge. - Thomas Carlyle"
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that ChrisD is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
It seems to me that Darwin created this "lens" of looking at the evolutionary process and applied it to the physical animal kingdom. If you know of any references where Darwin talks about using this lens for thinking share it with me and prove me wrong.

Dawkins took this same lens and looked through it at thinking itself. Thus memes came into existence or more accurately, the perception of them (If a tree falls in the forest...) He identified something intelligible through this lens that no one had discovered before him (as far as we know.) This is similar to a zoologist discovering a new animal and naming it.

Now I see what you're saying. Darwin did create the lens so he deserves all the credit...

...wait a second, did he? Assuming Darwin is right in his perception of the evolutionary process then he didn't create survival of the fittest at all. He discovered it. In fact, the only creation that had anything to do with his research into the matter was the creation of the lie that hid the true reality of "survival of the fittest."

So you see, they both discovered things that were already there.

"No shit. And therefore, Dawkins being a Darwinian must have meant that his ideas came from Darwin."

You're giving all the credit to Darwin which is both right and wrong. Using your same logic we can say that Darwin was a firm believer in Truth and he used Truth as his basis for Survival of the Fittest which is really Truth's work. Does he deserve any credit for finding it?

Dawkins' discovery was done in much the same way. You're giving all the credit to the middle man, Darwin.

C was derived from B which was derived from A. In reality C was derived from A too. Get what I'm saying?

"Dawkins coined the term, but as you said he was a Darwinian and used Darwins work as a basis."

He used Darwin's work as an analogy to discover something else.

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"The truth will set you on fire"
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Wyote is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Man, I'm not sure why you insist on picking apart what I'm saying when in reality I am not at all your enemy here. In fact, I totally agree with what you have said here but you are trying to make me look foolish, which I assure you I am not.

I will quote myself, and explain.

quote:
I'm sure Darwin wasn't even the first to come up with the idea, but his works are used as a basis for tons of scientists.


As you say, Darwin did not "create" his observations, nor did Dawkins. What Darwin did create was a basis for which many scientists used to look at things, as you call it a "lens." And Dawkins, using this same lens, observed memes. So, people typically see memes through Darwin's eyes or "lens" as did Dawkins.

Survival of the fittest is the most logical process for living creatures, but is it for memes? Dawkins observed that memes which spread most effectively survive and so this must be their "strength" but I think it is a bit more complicated. There are more unknown elements when it comes to ideas then when it comes to the natural world.

Memes are real, I haven't denied that. I simply see them through a different lens.

When you are looking through the same lens, you tend to see more similarities than differences, yea? If Dawkins hadn't been using Darwin's work as the sort of "absolute" rule like everyone does, he may have noticed some differences with memes instead of trying to match them up as closely to the evolutionary process as possible.

I'm not an expert, maybe they do work EXACTLY the same way but I really don't think so and I don't believe there is sufficient evidence to prove one way or another.

I guess I am sort of a creationist for memes

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"A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge. - Thomas Carlyle"
[  Edited by Wyote at   ]
 68yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that cturtle is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
I guess I am sort of a creationist for memes
Funny I thought it was all dealing with semantics?


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"Terrorist or tyrant, few may come to the Truth that both are poor choice."
MEMES!!!!
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