Selections From a Memetic Lexicon


Dangerous to itself. Highly auto-toxic memes are usually self-limiting because they promote the destruction of their hosts (such as the Jim Jones meme; any military indoctrination meme-complex; any "martyrdom" meme). (GMG) (See exo-toxic.)


The part of a meme-complex that promises to benefit the host (usually in return for replicating the complex). The bait usually justifies, but does not explicitly urge, the replication of a meme-complex. (Donald Going, quoted by Hofstadter.) Also called the reward co-meme. (In many religions, "Salvation" is the bait, or promised reward; "Spread the Word" is the hook. Other common bait co-memes are "Eternal Bliss", "Security", "Prosperity", "Freedom".) (See hook; threat; infection strategy.)


Since a person can only be infected with and transmit a finite number of memes, there is a limit to their belief space (Henson). Memes evolve in competition for niches in the belief-space of individuals and societies.



Currently without human hosts. The ancient Egyptian hieroglyph system and the Gnostic Gospels are examples of "dead" schemes which lay dormant for millennia in hidden or untranslatable texts, waiting to re-activate themselves by infecting modern archeologists. Some obsolete memes never become entirely dormant, such as Phlogiston theory, which simply mutated from a "belief" into a "quaint historical footnote."



Dangerous to others. Highly exo-toxic memes promote the destruction of persons other than their hosts, particularly those who are carriers of rival memes. (Such as: Nazism, the Inquisition, Pol Pot.) (See meme-allergy.) (GMG) [...]


The realm of memetic evolution, as the biosphere is the realm of biological evolution. The entire memetic ecology. (Hofstadter.) The health of an ideosphere can be measured by its memetic diversity.


infection strategy

Any memetic strategy which encourages infection of a host. Jokes encourage infection by being humorous, tunes by evoking various emotions, slogans and catch-phrases by being terse and continuously repeated. Common infection strategies are "Villain vs. victim", "Fear of Death", and "Sense of Community". In a meme-complex, the bait co-meme is often central to the infection strategy. (See replication strategy; mimicry.) (GMG)


A person whose entire life has become subordinated to the propagation of a meme, robotically and at any opportunity. (Such as many Jehovah's Witnesses, Krishnas, and Scientologists.) Due to internal competition, the most vocal and extreme membots tend to rise to top of their sociotypeUs hierarchy. A self-destructive membot is a memeoid. (GMG)


memetic drift

Accumulated mis-replications; (the rate of) memetic mutation or evolution. Written texts tend to slow the memetic drift of dogmas (Henson).



1. The actual information-content of a meme, as distinct from its sociotype. 2. A class of similar memes. (GMG)



An infection strategy in which a meme attempts to imitate the semiotics of another successful meme. Such as: pseudo-science (Creationism, UFOlogy); pseudo-rebelliousness (Heavy Metal); subversion by forgery (Situationist detournement). (GMG)



A meme-complex. (Hofstadter.)


1. The social expression of a memotype, as the body of an organism is the physical expression (phenotype) of the gene (genotype). Hence, the Protestant Church is one sociotype of the Bible's memotype. 2. A class of similar social organisations. (GMG)



A meta-meme which confers resistance to a wide variety of memes (and their sociotypes), without conferring meme-allergies. In its purest form, Tolerance allows its host to be repeatedly exposed to rival memes, even intolerant rivals, without active infection or meme-allergic reaction. Tolerance is a central co-meme in a wide variety of schemes, particularly "liberalism", and "democracy". Without it, a scheme will often become exo-toxic and confer meme-allergies on its hosts. Since schemes compete for finite belief-space, tolerance is not necessarily a virtue, but it has co-evolved in the ideosphere in much the same way as co-operation has evolved in biological ecosystems. (Henson.)


(pron. vak-seem) Any meta-meme which confers resistance or immunity to one or more memes, allowing that person to be exposed without acquiring an active infection. Also called an `immuno-meme.' Common immune-conferring memes are "Faith", "Loyalty", "Skepticism", and "tolerance". (See: meme-allergy.) (GMG.) Every scheme includes a vaccime to protect against rival memes. For instance:

  • Conservatism: automatically resist all new memes.
  • Orthodoxy: automatically reject all new memes.
  • Science: test new memes for theoretical consistency and(where applicable) empirical repeatability; continually re-assess old memes; accept schemes only conditionally, pending future re:-assessment.
  • Radicalism: embrace one new scheme, reject all others.
  • Nihilism: reject all schemes, new and old.
  • New Age: accept all esthetically-appealing memes, new and old, regardless of empirical (or even internal) consistency; reject others. (Note that this one doesn't provide much protection.)
  • Japanese: adapt (parts of) new schemes to the old ones.


The most useful and interesting terms.

Folksonomies: memetics definition terminology lexicon ideosphere

/finance/personal finance/financial planning/retirement and pension (0.487987)
/health and fitness/disease/aids and hiv (0.381990)
/health and fitness/disease (0.319503)

memes (0.905201 (negative:-0.012158)), Highly auto-toxic memes (0.749790 (negative:-0.415415)), infection strategy (0.722012 (negative:-0.558225)), rival memes (0.704215 (negative:-0.247613)), Highly exo-toxic memes (0.698579 (positive:0.389516)), new memes (0.678882 (negative:-0.071344)), test new memes (0.668120 (positive:0.508583)), re-assess old memes (0.654985 (neutral:0.000000)), GMG (0.643273 (neutral:0.000000)), Common immune-conferring memes (0.637956 (neutral:0.000000)), obsolete memes (0.601913 (negative:-0.278466)), similar memes (0.583895 (neutral:0.000000)), esthetically-appealing memes (0.556605 (positive:0.204041)), entire memetic ecology (0.535273 (positive:0.460795)), Jim Jones meme (0.513948 (neutral:0.000000)), memetic drift (0.505328 (negative:-0.559540)), Common infection strategies (0.479270 (negative:-0.324864)), common bait co-memes (0.464838 (neutral:0.000000)), Memetic Lexicon (0.460457 (positive:0.858716)), memetic strategy (0.441937 (negative:-0.345051)), quaint historical footnote (0.434918 (neutral:0.000000)), memetic evolution (0.432919 (positive:0.503069)), active infection (0.429943 (negative:-0.360350)), memetic diversity (0.427710 (positive:0.670105)), ancient Egyptian hieroglyph (0.423329 (neutral:0.000000)), memetic mutation (0.420604 (neutral:0.000000)), (Heavy Metal); subversion by forgery (Situationist detournement). (0.408712 (neutral:0.000000)), similar social organisations (0.397990 (neutral:0.000000)), wide variety (0.396795 (positive:0.345123)), successful meme (0.361405 (negative:-0.742632))

GMG:Company (0.867230 (neutral:0.000000)), Hofstadter:Person (0.344664 (neutral:0.000000)), Henson:Person (0.333296 (negative:-0.300692)), Jim Jones:Person (0.232666 (neutral:0.000000)), Eternal Bliss:Movie (0.226235 (positive:0.439139)), Donald Going:Person (0.221498 (neutral:0.000000)), Krishnas:Person (0.205625 (neutral:0.000000)), Heavy Metal:FieldTerminology (0.198217 (negative:-0.254827)), forgery:Crime (0.192253 (negative:-0.511406)), Protestant Church:Organization (0.187741 (neutral:0.000000)), Bible:Organization (0.174696 (neutral:0.000000))

Memetics (0.950132): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Meme (0.902054): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Keith Henson (0.649621): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Gene (0.625823): dbpedia | freebase
Memeplex (0.614657): dbpedia | freebase
The Selfish Gene (0.600040): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Susan Blackmore (0.576736): website | dbpedia | freebase | yago
Richard Dawkins (0.566035): website | dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago | musicBrainz

 Memetic Lexicon
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Grant, Glenn (1990), Memetic Lexicon, Principia Cybernetica Web, Retrieved on 2014-01-12
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  • Folksonomies: memetics lexicon