Wednesday, 20 July 2005

MEMES: a contagious theory

It wasn't long ago when I heard the word "meme" for the first time. Turns out that memes are to a viral, what germs are to an infection. I don't want to sound morbid but memes are what is referred to in scientific terms as the "virus of the mind".

The term itself was coined for the first time by Richard Dawkins in 1976 in his book"The Selfish Gene". He defines memetics the study of memes as a contagious information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds and altering their behaviour causing to propagate the pattern. These could be individual slogans, catch phrases, melodies, icons, inventions fashion trends and even religion.

This made me wonder if there is a scientific reason that could explain why and how our ideas spread and is there a formula for the chemical properties that could make our ideas more viral or spreadable.

Posted by Nadia Aamer

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