Memetic Sex

There are many similarities between genes and memes. Just as genes transmitted during sexual intercourse in the biosphere, so are ideas trans¬ mitted during social intercourse in the mental realm, or ideosphere.


The memetic realm also hahas some important differences from the genetic realm. Memes combine, recombine, mutate, and reproduce much more flexly and rapidly than genes do. This is one way that genetic sex does not map completely to memetic sex. For example, the memetic counterparts of gender and sexual orientation are complicated. From a memeric standpoint, we are all intersexual beings: everyone is able to both transmit and receive ideas, although some people have a stronger tendency toward one than they do toward the other. I'll just suggest that a memetic equivalent of the Kinsey Scale might be called for, and then move on.

In Action

d, clean, fulfilling memetic sex is the birthright of anyone with a brain, ) it's important to educate yourself about memetic sexual hygiene. Here are le points to keep in mind.

Seek partners outside your family. Inbreeding is sex between two individuals hat are genetically too similar, and it often produces low-quality ottspring. The memetic equivalent of inbreeding (memetic incest) is groupthink, which sometimes happens when two or more people who are too similar try to cre¬ ate something.

It's a commonplace idea that Hollywood is incestuous: the same people with the same limited set of ideas meet over and over. Is it any surprise, then, that so many Hollywood movies are so bad and that so many of them look so similar? The logical culmination of memetic inbreeding is Jonestown.

Seek partners within your species. Conversely, sometimes people try to memetically mate outside their memetic species. From the perspective of one specialist (such as a Chaucer expert), another specialist (such as a particle physicist) is a member of another memetic species.

Because memetics is fluid, it's not true that you can never create ideas with someone dissimilar from yourself, because all humans have some memes in common. Nevertheless, the rabid anime fan and the rabid model railroad enthusiast are relatively mutually infertile.

Broaden your taste. Members of two different memetic species can sometimes spark interesting ideas from each other, and it's good to remain open to that possibility. From the perspective of a generalist or comprehensivist, however, a specialty is less like a species and more like a memetic fetish.

Generalists are flexible; because they don't have fetishes (specialtities) them¬ selves, they can enjoy memetic sex with other generalists and also with spe¬ cialists of all kinds. Generalists are, in short, memetic sluts, and they have a great time, but you don't have to be a memetic slut to benefit from broaden¬ mg your tastes.

Make sure your partners are healthy. On the other hand, even generalists probably shouldn't have memetic sex with just anyone. You mimight do well to avoid people in dark suits who ring your doorbell early in the morning with a rabid look in their eyes—and as for the pamphlets people leave at bus stops, well, you just don't know where they've been, memetically speaking.

Practice safe sex. Much as in the biological realm, you can prevent not only unwanted conceptions but also thought viruses in two basic ways: abstinence and condoms.

Abstinence means something like moving to a monastery, taking a vow of silence, and reading nothing but The Book. Wearing a mental condom is more practical and consists of exercising your skepticism, cynicism, irony, and humor.

Gain experience. The memetic virgin, or autodidact, is more likely to produce horrendous doggerel or massive treatises proving that n equals 3 than some¬ one who has had regular memetic intercourse—in this case, an education.

Insist on satisfying sex. The memetic equivalent of orgasm is the "AhAha!" noment, which occurs when you completely grok a concept or get a joke. If your memetic partner your memetic partners don't make you sa " or "Ha ha!" often enough, you might need some new friends, books, TV and radio shovPws, or other ways to get ideas.

Respect people's boundaries. A safeword is a word used during sex that means, "Stop, right now! I'm not kidding!" In real hfe, the expression "Too much information!" or "TMI!" often functions as a conversational memetic safeword.

Unfortunately, some people have memes that they feel compelled to evange¬ ize at all costs, and they won't stop when they're told to.-O- Memetically, this is the equivalent of rape. Avoid memetic rapists, and respect the boundaries that others set, if you want them to respect your:

Have lots of kids. As the world moves from using forests for idea storage to ever more efficient electronic devices, there will cease to be any correspondence between the biosphere's population problem and the ideosphere. Thus, although it's not always a good idea in the physical world, in the ideosphere, the more memes (or mind children), the merrier!


Many of the concepts in genes apply to ideas, including cross-breeding, safe-sex, inbreeding, and species.

Folksonomies: metaphor memetics ideas analogy ideosphere

/society/sex (0.580838)
/science/biology/zoology/endangered species (0.460090)
/art and entertainment/humor (0.373557)

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Hollywood:City (0.977112 (negative:-0.603579)), partner:JobTitle (0.833744 (negative:-0.463247)), to.-O- Memetically:City (0.817465 (negative:-0.452236)), physicist:JobTitle (0.754912 (neutral:0.000000)), electronic devices:FieldTerminology (0.741236 (positive:0.389418)), rape:Crime (0.740361 (negative:-0.723825)), at bus:FieldTerminology (0.721095 (negative:-0.486050))

Gene (0.985186): dbpedia | freebase
Idea (0.889660): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Genetics (0.838437): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
HIV (0.827986): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Sexual orientation (0.809549): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Meme (0.804358): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Sexual intercourse (0.783598): dbpedia | freebase
Memetics (0.762798): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago

 Mind Performance Hacks
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Hale-Evans, Ron (2006-02-06), Mind Performance Hacks, O'Reilly Media, Inc., Retrieved on 2013-12-29
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  • Folksonomies: self-help