Three Categories for Memes

What kinds of memes are there? I've divided memes into three classes: distinctions, knives used to slice up reality; strategies, beliefs about which causes will produce which effects; and associations, attitudes about everything in life. Each class of meme works to program you in a different way.



The universe is full of stuff. However, anything we say about that stuff is purely a concept-a set of memes-invented by human beings. All concepts are composed of memes. For instance, the United States are only states because we have invented 50 distinctions-memes-carving out that territory. Alabama isn't a reality; it's just there because we say so, because we are programmed with a meme for Alabama. If we didn't have an Alabama meme, that land would just be more dirt.

Likewise, the earth is simply a distinction-a meme-we invented because it was convenient to put edges around the place we live in order to distinguish it from the rest of the universe. To the universe, it's all just stuff. You may say, "But there really are edges! There's where the dirt ends and the atmosphere begins, or where the atmosphere gives way to outer space!" Really? Dirt, atmosphere, outer space-they're all memes. If you think dirt is really dirt, not a meme we invented for our convenience, then all you'll ever have is dirt. If you see that it's a meme, not the Truth, you open up the possibility of other memes to talk about the same thing: elements, crystals, subatomic particles. Remember that viewed through an electron microscope, it's all mostly empty space!



Another kind of meme is a strategy, a kind of floating rule of thumb that tells you what to do when you come across an applicable situation in order to achieve some desired result. For example, if you drive, you have a set of distinction-memes having to do with driving: traffic lights, speed limits, lane markers, and so on.



A third kind of meme is an association, which links two or more memes in your mind. For instance, if I smell creosoteand I only know it's creosote because I have a distinction-meme for creosote-I associate it with the Boston waterfront from my childhood, where my dad would take me on special occasions. I like that smell. It reminds me of happy times. If advertisers knew I liked it and if other people liked it just as much, we'd soon see creosote-smelling ads for vacation spots to take advantage of that association.

Said in another way, I have a certain attitude about creosote. I have attitudes about my work, about all the people in my life, about television, about memes-about everything. These attitudes are memes that associate other memes with one another so that when we are present to one, we become present to the other.


Distinction, Strategy, and Association

Folksonomies: memetics memes

/science/phyiscs/atomic physics (0.596009)
/style and fashion/beauty/perfume (0.408439)
/science (0.407143)

memes (0.931685 (negative:-0.422461)), meme (0.765659 (positive:0.263103)), Memes Distinction (0.729150 (negative:-0.283202)), associate other memes (0.607669 (negative:-0.514773)), Alabama meme (0.537623 (neutral:0.000000)), dirt (0.438605 (negative:-0.325242)), different way (0.370766 (positive:0.533018)), human beings (0.360850 (positive:0.463807)), subatomic particles (0.356853 (negative:-0.326459)), concept-a set (0.350641 (positive:0.463807)), United States (0.348205 (neutral:0.000000)), outer space-they (0.347675 (neutral:0.000000)), outer space (0.341950 (neutral:0.000000)), electron microscope (0.338620 (neutral:0.000000)), applicable situation (0.334617 (positive:0.664886)), creosote-smelling ads (0.332494 (positive:0.666169)), happy times (0.330058 (positive:0.869060)), speed limits (0.330016 (neutral:0.000000)), certain attitude (0.329512 (negative:-0.277515)), Boston waterfront (0.328174 (negative:-0.521990)), lane markers (0.326154 (neutral:0.000000)), vacation spots (0.325606 (positive:0.666169)), traffic lights (0.325481 (positive:0.211447)), creosote-I associate (0.323035 (negative:-0.521990)), special occasions (0.321731 (negative:-0.335877)), attitudes (0.266578 (negative:-0.481053)), stuff (0.251319 (positive:0.489835)), universe (0.249608 (positive:0.360275)), atmosphere (0.248547 (negative:-0.298566)), association (0.241148 (positive:0.666169))

Alabama:StateOrCounty (0.863007 (negative:-0.369285)), United States:Country (0.519950 (neutral:0.000000)), Boston:City (0.449773 (negative:-0.521990))

Universe (0.948738): dbpedia | freebase
Space (0.855143): dbpedia | freebase
Vacuum (0.845155): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Earth (0.805590): dbpedia | freebase
Electron (0.749339): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Particle physics (0.705880): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Time (0.699274): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
United States (0.675894): website | dbpedia | ciaFactbook | freebase | opencyc | yago

 Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Brodie , Richard (2011-02-15), Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme, Hay House, Retrieved on 2011-05-29
Folksonomies: memetics memes ideas