Drawing a stark comparison to the DNA/RNA relationship, Dawkins applied the theory of genetic evolution to the evolution (and mutation and spread) of ideas, or memes. If someone started a meme religion, I would sign up. Most of the biosphere cannot see the infosphere; it is invisible, a parallel universe humming with ghostly inhabitants. The American neurophysiologist Roger Sperry had put forward a similar notion several years earlier, arguing that ideas are “just as real” as the neurons they inhabit. In some cases (the meme for making fire; for wearing clothes; for the resurrection of Jesus) the effects can be powerful indeed. "The people the stories use to tell themselves are not to be blamed." ), Dawkins's way of speaking was not meant to suggest that memes are conscious actors, only that they are entities with interests that can be furthered by natural selection. Their presence is felt if not seen in herd behavior, bank runs, informational casÂcades, and financial bubbles. His essential actor was the replicator, and it scarcely mattered whether replicators were made of nucleic acid. For this bodiless replicator itself, Dawkins proposed a name. Memes could travel wordlessly even before language was born. Are ideas controlling us, fuelled by their desire to replicate and spread as far as possible? These many forms of communication and dissemination helps to illustrate how memes have traveled throughout the centuries, but also how modern advancements help ideas reach potential virality by removing barriers such as time and distances. Some species of songbirds learn their songs, or at least song variants, after hearing them from neighboring birds (or, more recently, from ornithologists with audio players). Not to me! . Most early readers of The Selfish Gene passed over memes as a fanciful afterthought, but the pioneering ethologist W. D. Hamilton, reviewing the book for Science, ventured this prediction: Hard as this term may be to delimit-it surely must be harder than gene, which is bad enough-I suspect that it will soon be in common use by biologists and, one hopes, by philosophers, linguists, and others as well and that it may become absorbed as far as the word "gene" has been into everyday speech. . "It is staring us in the face. In his deeply engrossing article for Smithsonian Magazine, James Gleick gives myriad categorical examples for both what constitutes a meme and the various methods memes have spread throughout human culture over the centuries. . The AmÂerican neurophysiologist Roger Sperry had put forward a similar notion several years earlier, arguing that ideas are "just as real" as the neurons they inhabit. Loopy selfâreference characterized every phase of its existence. Memes are a catchy tune, a thumbs-up, mob mentality or fables passed down between generations. . We know exponentially more about genetics – and communication – than we did when Dawkins was writing. Whelp, I was today years old when I learned the Oregon Duck’s name is Puddles. "These letters have passed from host to host, mutating and evolving," they reported. ). I think this metaphor makes a lot of sense, Drew. My…, Hi Zach, I thought this was very unique and interesting…, Richard Dawkins first coined the term “meme” in his 1976 book, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkNYFbAZA34, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5DPNs-AMho, How Social Media Has Turned a Pandemic Into an Infodemic, Promoting globally, only through social media, Instagram’s Removal of Likes and What That Means for Brands, Simple Tools for Designing Eye-catching Email Campaigns, Hit “Delete” All You Want, Email Marketing is Still Alive and Well, Dangers of Disinformation: Social Media and Youth. , for most roger sperry meme the properties of organisms not seen in herd,! 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