Pets as a Meme

Pets have all the qualities necessary to be a virus of the mind:

- Pets penetrate our minds by attracting our attention. The quality they have that gets them attention is something like "cuteness" or "adorability."

- Pets actually program us to take care of them in several ways. The animals themselves take advantage of the instincts we have to care for our young. The pet industry, part of the pet virus, programs us through television and advertising to spend more and more money on expensive pet foods and veterinary bills.

- Pets are faithfully reproduced, with the help, of course, of their own DNA and of the resources we devote to caring for them. But there's also a tradition meme working for many pet species in the form of pet shows and kennel clubs. People are rewarded for reproducing a breed faithfully.

- And of course pets spread in the natural way. They do this so effectively that we've noticed the problem and started campaigns to neuter animals to prevent unwanted offspring. Of course, eliminating unwanted offspring also increases the value of the faithfully bred animals sold by the pet industry.

Pets evolved to be cuter and cuter. How? The ones that weren't cute-that weren't able to command our resources, to enslave us into taking care of them-they died! It's natural selection in action: the cute ones bred with each other until we reached the point we're at today ... infected with the pet virus.


Pets have all the characteristics of an infectious meme.

Folksonomies: memetics replication meme

/pets (0.675086)
/pets/dogs (0.425604)
/family and parenting/babies and toddlers (0.226002)

pets (0.939385 (positive:0.214189)), faithfully bred animals (0.935241 (neutral:0.000000)), expensive pet foods (0.896116 (positive:0.375041)), unwanted offspring (0.883427 (negative:-0.306322)), pet virus (0.850803 (positive:0.238671)), pet industry (0.838425 (positive:0.575896)), infectious meme (0.739535 (negative:-0.372150)), Meme Pets (0.717359 (negative:-0.372150)), tradition meme (0.660734 (positive:0.569263)), veterinary bills (0.593155 (positive:0.375041)), kennel clubs (0.573669 (positive:0.569263)), cute ones (0.569462 (positive:0.507419)), pet species (0.555370 (positive:0.569263)), pet shows (0.554548 (positive:0.569263)), natural way (0.552544 (positive:0.782287)), natural selection (0.542090 (positive:0.694313)), cuter (0.412439 (positive:0.637141)), course (0.403964 (positive:0.552984)), attention (0.385796 (positive:0.674256)), resources (0.345298 (positive:0.592995)), care (0.318107 (negative:-0.210473)), cuteness (0.312405 (positive:0.318084)), instincts (0.299687 (positive:0.774503)), qualities (0.292073 (negative:-0.455208)), minds (0.285820 (neutral:0.000000)), characteristics (0.281619 (negative:-0.372150)), mind (0.281473 (negative:-0.455208)), advantage (0.278121 (positive:0.774503)), ways (0.276417 (positive:0.422648)), quality (0.276118 (positive:0.674256))

Natural selection (0.983362): dbpedia | freebase
Evolution (0.810892): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 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