Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Alright everybody, welcome to the orientation for the memetics and infohazards division. Now this is a full week of training, and a long day so be sure to get some coffee or a donut, because we won’t have time to go get food until lunch.

I’m Junior Researcher Zack Ekshun, and, I, ah, yes? A question like ‘How am I perceiving this message from that very handsome man saying other words?’ or ‘Whose voice does this sound like in my head?’ But those are not the most important questions right now.Question?

Why aren’t I having any coffee or donuts? Heh, looks like we have at least one veteran of the reality benders orientation. Well to put your mind at ease, why don’t you get me some coffee and a donut or two. Usually I take it black, but add some milk and sugar just to cover all the bases. Hey sprinkles! Nice.

Now, you’re right to be suspicious. You get lied to a lot at the Foundation. Little things like ‘We only put tracking chips in D-class’, ‘This will be the first time you receive amnestics’ and the location of the site you’re currently sitting in.

Some of you. But today, I’m going to be completely honest with you.

Which gets us to the important part, you don’t have to worry about us secretly feeding you drugs. We will be very openly feeding you lots of powerful hallucinogens.

The reason we’re not bothering to hide it is because, like most infohazards, our psychedelic testing regimen works whether or not you know about it ahead of time. The reason we’re making you trip balls is that we need to make sure you can handle your shit regardless of what your brain thinks is going on.

It doesn’t matter if the walls are melting and cats with your grandmothers’ face are telling you the secret history of the world. You write your reports, conduct tests and follow the containment procedures. You document everything the grandma cats tell you and ride it out until you punch out. Most of the time. What’s in your head can’t hurt you unless you let it.

To work with infohazards you need to notice when things don’t make sense, and this is the important part, respond accordingly. Do you suddenly have a spouse you didn’t this morning? Well, maybe you shouldn’t consummate that relationship. Were you always taking advice from the omnidimensional blood gods you’re thinking about building a shrine to? Maybe instead you should talk to your supervisor, because we sure don’t need another prophet to Welcome.

Hey! That got everybody’s attention. Yeah, part of what you’ll learn is how not to say things. Did you know that Hi% of redacted information is memetic censoring? It’s written there as clear as day, if you have the clearance and counterprogramming. Want to know how it’s done?

Well first Welcome to the real orientation. If you can perceive this then you’ll be working with us in the real Memetics and Infohazards Division. It should come as no surprise to you that there are many layers to our Division. Everyone else nodding out right now are just the cover. They will be playing an important role in misdirection and counterintelligence as well as handling all the busywork. Misdirection is basic info manipulation. Everyone worried about drugs or their suppository tracking devices misses the important stuff.You get to do the real work, and it takes more than just a week to get you to that level. This week will provide the basics the others get, with the real preparatory seminars transmitted through a variety of unconventional channels. The testing has already begun to see who can pick up all of it. The full spectrum of information all around us is invisible to the sleepwalkers drooling next to you.You all carry some form of the Sorry gene which is present in .NO% of the population, which the Foundation screens for. While you can perceive this you also have an increased risk for schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. But don’t worry! If you’ve made it this far you have a much higher likelihood of being driven mad by your work material than your genetic makeup. The number of informational channels you can perceive determines your rank and assignments.The other good news is your training and conditioning will minimize the likelihood of either occurring. We have discovered through trial and error how to protect our minds against very dangerous hazards. The many division members who retired to psychiatric wards are a testament to that. You will learn to lucid dream, which is where much of your practice will take place. You will undergo intensive psychological testing to make sure you do not join our alumni. You will practice meditation until you achieve the level of Zen master and float above your superfluous programming completely. You will be taught the akashic scripts and meta-languages which bypass the frontal cortex and tap directly into the primal drives. If you make it to the upper echelons you’ll learn manipulation commands like kill words, after a few minor surgeries to your trachea. We will let you know when you are ready. The pioneers who discovered the safe procedures for containing lethal infohazards in your mind never got a chance to retire. But even if you can detect individual phomemes you are still a green as grass rookie.Not only will you be able to work with cognitohazard and memetic SCPs you will help to develop the neurocognitive counter-programming and anti-memes that will shield you, your colleagues, and society from the gibbering madness lurking in containment. You will make the Foundation, safer, saner, productive, and unquestioning in their commitment. You will bend the archetypes from our collective unconscious to your will to secure, contain, and protect us all. Welcome again, and congratulations. [REDACTED]

Alllright everybody back? Yup, for those of you not keeping track that was almost an hour you aren’t going to remember until you earn it. Exactly none of you have the training or clearance to know any of that. Yet.

We’re going to teach you to walk through fire, feel like your brain is melting out of your ears and still keep going. We will put your minds in the forge and hammer at them until they are stronger than steel. Mind affecting and weird psychic SCPs will slide off you, and information based containment breaches will be just another day at the office.

Deeper Ad Infinitum-The repetitive nature of complimenting your attention to detail and knowledge of the myriad means of hiding information is becoming redundant. You will still receive instruction, but and undetected up until now. Clever you.clearly you have already been conducting your own training regimen.

Well played.

You’ve earned a little more candor. The genetic explanation for who can expand their senses to perceive the hidden full spectrum of information is untrue as far as we can ascertain. We do not know why some people are attuned to and can reshape the deeper orders of information. We do not yet understand the mechanisms of the majority of SCPs. Hence anomalousThe reality benders should not be able to do anything they do, and they still do it, even when we tell them not to. Except the ones who do as they are told..

We have many layers to protect both the Foundation and ourselves. There is no good that can come from the suggestion that the collective minds of our division is an SCP in and of itself. This has been suggested, but has been Auto-amnestic conditioning is much more efficient than the pharmacological option.dealt with. We have a presence at the top tier with Division founder O5-NO. We also have several site directors with varying degrees of awareness they are ours.

We are telling you this so that you know you are valued and will be protected. We are telling you this so you will STOP what you are planning. Right. Now.

We know you have been planning how to get fast tracked for promotion to a director position. Planning to use the information based SCPs in ways the sleepwalkers can’t conceive. Planning to program select people’s neural schemas to satisfy your whims. You need to forget all of that. NOW.

This is the one thing you should NEVER question.Trust us. By yourself you will inevitably endanger yourself, the Foundation, and our Division. We have done it all better than you could ever hope to. We will teach you how to correctly maximize your potential. We need fellow travelers, not megalomaniacal lone wolves. We Won’tcan’t program you not to, Right now. It is much better for all involved that you join willingly. so we are asking nicely. Please, kindly do NOT fuck with us.

We’ll be in touch.

How well you can handle your shit is an important component of training, and there will be pharmacological hallucinatory tutorials just for you. Have fun in the desert with the lizard king.Because it is chock full of drugsIt’s also pretty funny watching you rooks spaz out..

Read this article:

Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Meme – Wikipedia

This article is about the term “meme” in general. For the usage of the term on the internet (or a fad that spreads quickly), see Internet meme. For other uses, see Meme (disambiguation).

A meme ( MEEM[1][2][3]) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a cultureoften with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme.[4] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.[5]

Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influences a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.[6]

A field of study called memetics[7] arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model. Criticism from a variety of fronts has challenged the notion that academic study can examine memes empirically. However, developments in neuroimaging may make empirical study possible.[8] Some commentators in the social sciences question the idea that one can meaningfully categorize culture in terms of discrete units, and are especially critical of the biological nature of the theory’s underpinnings.[9] Others have argued that this use of the term is the result of a misunderstanding of the original proposal.[10]

The word meme is a neologism coined by Richard Dawkins.[11] It originated from Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins’s own position is somewhat ambiguous: he welcomed N. K. Humphrey’s suggestion that “memes should be considered as living structures, not just metaphorically”[12] and proposed to regard memes as “physically residing in the brain”.[13] Later, he argued that his original intentions, presumably before his approval of Humphrey’s opinion, had been simpler.[14] At the New Directors’ Showcase 2013 in Cannes, Dawkins’ opinion on memetics was deliberately ambiguous.[15]

The word meme is a shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme (from Ancient Greek pronounced[mmma] mmma, “imitated thing”, from mimeisthai, “to imitate”, from mimos, “mime”)[16] coined by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976)[11][17] as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catchphrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches.[18] Kenneth Pike coined the related terms emic and etic, generalizing the linguistic idea of phoneme, morpheme, grapheme, lexeme, and tagmeme (as set out by Leonard Bloomfield), characterizing them as insider view and outside view of behaviour and extending the concept into a tagmemic theory of human behaviour (culminating in Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behaviour, 1954).

The word meme originated with Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins cites as inspiration the work of geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, anthropologist F. T. Cloak[19] and ethologist J. M. Cullen.[20] Dawkins wrote that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a self-replicating unit of transmissionin the case of biological evolution, the gene. For Dawkins, the meme exemplified another self-replicating unit with potential significance in explaining human behavior and cultural evolution. Although Dawkins invented the term ‘meme’ and developed meme theory, the possibility that ideas were subject to the same pressures of evolution as were biological attributes was discussed in Darwin’s time. T. H. Huxley claimed that ‘The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.'[21]

Dawkins used the term to refer to any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator. He hypothesized that one could view many cultural entities as replicators, and pointed to melodies, fashions and learned skills as examples. Memes generally replicate through exposure to humans, who have evolved as efficient copiers of information and behavior. Because humans do not always copy memes perfectly, and because they may refine, combine or otherwise modify them with other memes to create new memes, they can change over time. Dawkins likened the process by which memes survive and change through the evolution of culture to the natural selection of genes in biological evolution.[18]

Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation and replication, but later definitions would vary. The lack of a consistent, rigorous, and precise understanding of what typically makes up one unit of cultural transmission remains a problem in debates about memetics.[23] In contrast, the concept of genetics gained concrete evidence with the discovery of the biological functions of DNA. Meme transmission requires a physical medium, such as photons, sound waves, touch, taste, or smell because memes can be transmitted only through the senses.

Dawkins noted that in a society with culture a person need not have descendants to remain influential in the actions of individuals thousands of years after their death:

But if you contribute to the world’s culture, if you have a good idea…it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool. Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G.C. Williams has remarked, but who cares? The meme-complexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong.[24]

Although Dawkins invented the term meme, he has not claimed that the idea was entirely novel,[25] and there have been other expressions for similar ideas in the past.[26] In 1904, Richard Semon published Die Mneme (which appeared in English in 1924 as The Mneme). The term mneme was also used in Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Life of the White Ant (1926), with some parallels to Dawkins’s concept.[26]

Memes, analogously to genes, vary in their aptitude to replicate; successful memes remain and spread, whereas unfit ones stall and are forgotten. Thus memes that prove more effective at replicating and surviving are selected in the meme pool.

Memes first need retention. The longer a meme stays in its hosts, the higher its chances of propagation are. When a host uses a meme, the meme’s life is extended.[27] The reuse of the neural space hosting a certain meme’s copy to host different memes is the greatest threat to that meme’s copy.[28]

A meme which increases the longevity of its hosts will generally survive longer. On the contrary, a meme which shortens the longevity of its hosts will tend to disappear faster. However, as hosts are mortal, retention is not sufficient to perpetuate a meme in the long term; memes also need transmission.

Life-forms can transmit information both vertically (from parent to child, via replication of genes) and horizontally (through viruses and other means). Memes can replicate vertically or horizontally within a single biological generation. They may also lie dormant for long periods of time.

Memes reproduce by copying from a nervous system to another one, either by communication or imitation. Imitation often involves the copying of an observed behavior of another individual. Communication may be direct or indirect, where memes transmit from one individual to another through a copy recorded in an inanimate source, such as a book or a musical score. Adam McNamara has suggested that memes can be thereby classified as either internal or external memes (i-memes or e-memes).[8]

Some commentators have likened the transmission of memes to the spread of contagions.[29] Social contagions such as fads, hysteria, copycat crime, and copycat suicide exemplify memes seen as the contagious imitation of ideas. Observers distinguish the contagious imitation of memes from instinctively contagious phenomena such as yawning and laughing, which they consider innate (rather than socially learned) behaviors.[30]

Aaron Lynch described seven general patterns of meme transmission, or “thought contagion”:[31]

Dawkins initially defined meme as a noun that “conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation”.[18] John S. Wilkins retained the notion of meme as a kernel of cultural imitation while emphasizing the meme’s evolutionary aspect, defining the meme as “the least unit of sociocultural information relative to a selection process that has favorable or unfavorable selection bias that exceeds its endogenous tendency to change”.[32] The meme as a unit provides a convenient means of discussing “a piece of thought copied from person to person”, regardless of whether that thought contains others inside it, or forms part of a larger meme. A meme could consist of a single word, or a meme could consist of the entire speech in which that word first occurred. This forms an analogy to the idea of a gene as a single unit of self-replicating information found on the self-replicating chromosome.

While the identification of memes as “units” conveys their nature to replicate as discrete, indivisible entities, it does not imply that thoughts somehow become quantized or that “atomic” ideas exist that cannot be dissected into smaller pieces. A meme has no given size. Susan Blackmore writes that melodies from Beethoven’s symphonies are commonly used to illustrate the difficulty involved in delimiting memes as discrete units. She notes that while the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (listen(helpinfo)) form a meme widely replicated as an independent unit, one can regard the entire symphony as a single meme as well.[23]

The inability to pin an idea or cultural feature to quantifiable key units is widely acknowledged as a problem for memetics. It has been argued however that the traces of memetic processing can be quantified utilizing neuroimaging techniques which measure changes in the connectivity profiles between brain regions.”[8] Blackmore meets such criticism by stating that memes compare with genes in this respect: that while a gene has no particular size, nor can we ascribe every phenotypic feature directly to a particular gene, it has value because it encapsulates that key unit of inherited expression subject to evolutionary pressures. To illustrate, she notes evolution selects for the gene for features such as eye color; it does not select for the individual nucleotide in a strand of DNA. Memes play a comparable role in understanding the evolution of imitated behaviors.[23]

The 1981 book Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process by Charles J. Lumsden and E. O. Wilson proposed the theory that genes and culture co-evolve, and that the fundamental biological units of culture must correspond to neuronal networks that function as nodes of semantic memory. They coined their own word, “culturgen”, which did not catch on. Coauthor Wilson later acknowledged the term meme as the best label for the fundamental unit of cultural inheritance in his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, which elaborates upon the fundamental role of memes in unifying the natural and social sciences.[33]

Dawkins noted the three conditions that must exist for evolution to occur:[34]

Dawkins emphasizes that the process of evolution naturally occurs whenever these conditions co-exist, and that evolution does not apply only to organic elements such as genes. He regards memes as also having the properties necessary for evolution, and thus sees meme evolution as not simply analogous to genetic evolution, but as a real phenomenon subject to the laws of natural selection. Dawkins noted that as various ideas pass from one generation to the next, they may either enhance or detract from the survival of the people who obtain those ideas, or influence the survival of the ideas themselves. For example, a certain culture may develop unique designs and methods of tool-making that give it a competitive advantage over another culture. Each tool-design thus acts somewhat similarly to a biological gene in that some populations have it and others do not, and the meme’s function directly affects the presence of the design in future generations. In keeping with the thesis that in evolution one can regard organisms simply as suitable “hosts” for reproducing genes, Dawkins argues that one can view people as “hosts” for replicating memes. Consequently, a successful meme may or may not need to provide any benefit to its host.[34]

Unlike genetic evolution, memetic evolution can show both Darwinian and Lamarckian traits. Cultural memes will have the characteristic of Lamarckian inheritance when a host aspires to replicate the given meme through inference rather than by exactly copying it. Take for example the case of the transmission of a simple skill such as hammering a nail, a skill that a learner imitates from watching a demonstration without necessarily imitating every discrete movement modeled by the teacher in the demonstration, stroke for stroke.[35] Susan Blackmore distinguishes the difference between the two modes of inheritance in the evolution of memes, characterizing the Darwinian mode as “copying the instructions” and the Lamarckian as “copying the product.”[23]

Clusters of memes, or memeplexes (also known as meme complexes or as memecomplexes), such as cultural or political doctrines and systems, may also play a part in the acceptance of new memes. Memeplexes comprise groups of memes that replicate together and coadapt.[23] Memes that fit within a successful memeplex may gain acceptance by “piggybacking” on the success of the memeplex. As an example, John D. Gottsch discusses the transmission, mutation and selection of religious memeplexes and the theistic memes contained.[36] Theistic memes discussed include the “prohibition of aberrant sexual practices such as incest, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, castration, and religious prostitution”, which may have increased vertical transmission of the parent religious memeplex. Similar memes are thereby included in the majority of religious memeplexes, and harden over time; they become an “inviolable canon” or set of dogmas, eventually finding their way into secular law. This could also be referred to as the propagation of a taboo.

The discipline of memetics, which dates from the mid-1980s, provides an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept of the meme. Memeticists have proposed that just as memes function analogously to genes, memetics functions analogously to genetics. Memetics attempts to apply conventional scientific methods (such as those used in population genetics and epidemiology) to explain existing patterns and transmission of cultural ideas.

Principal criticisms of memetics include the claim that memetics ignores established advances in other fields of cultural study, such as sociology, cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. Questions remain whether or not the meme concept counts as a validly disprovable scientific theory. This view regards memetics as a theory in its infancy: a protoscience to proponents, or a pseudoscience to some detractors.

An objection to the study of the evolution of memes in genetic terms (although not to the existence of memes) involves a perceived gap in the gene/meme analogy: the cumulative evolution of genes depends on biological selection-pressures neither too great nor too small in relation to mutation-rates. There seems no reason to think that the same balance will exist in the selection pressures on memes.[37]

Luis Benitez-Bribiesca M.D., a critic of memetics, calls the theory a “pseudoscientific dogma” and “a dangerous idea that poses a threat to the serious study of consciousness and cultural evolution”. As a factual criticism, Benitez-Bribiesca points to the lack of a “code script” for memes (analogous to the DNA of genes), and to the excessive instability of the meme mutation mechanism (that of an idea going from one brain to another), which would lead to a low replication accuracy and a high mutation rate, rendering the evolutionary process chaotic.[38]

British political philosopher John Gray has characterized Dawkins’ memetic theory of religion as “nonsense” and “not even a theory… the latest in a succession of ill-judged Darwinian metaphors”, comparable to Intelligent Design in its value as a science.[39]

Another critique comes from semiotic theorists such as Deacon[40] and Kull.[41] This view regards the concept of “meme” as a primitivized concept of “sign”. The meme is thus described in memetics as a sign lacking a triadic nature. Semioticians can regard a meme as a “degenerate” sign, which includes only its ability of being copied. Accordingly, in the broadest sense, the objects of copying are memes, whereas the objects of translation and interpretation are signs.[clarification needed]

Fracchia and Lewontin regard memetics as reductionist and inadequate.[42] Evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr disapproved of Dawkins’ gene-based view and usage of the term “meme”, asserting it to be an “unnecessary synonym” for “concept”, reasoning that concepts are not restricted to an individual or a generation, may persist for long periods of time, and may evolve.[43]

Opinions differ as to how best to apply the concept of memes within a “proper” disciplinary framework. One view sees memes as providing a useful philosophical perspective with which to examine cultural evolution. Proponents of this view (such as Susan Blackmore and Daniel Dennett) argue that considering cultural developments from a meme’s-eye viewas if memes themselves respond to pressure to maximise their own replication and survivalcan lead to useful insights and yield valuable predictions into how culture develops over time. Others such as Bruce Edmonds and Robert Aunger have focused on the need to provide an empirical grounding for memetics to become a useful and respected scientific discipline.[44][45]

A third approach, described by Joseph Poulshock, as “radical memetics” seeks to place memes at the centre of a materialistic theory of mind and of personal identity.[46]

Prominent researchers in evolutionary psychology and anthropology, including Scott Atran, Dan Sperber, Pascal Boyer, John Tooby and others, argue the possibility of incompatibility between modularity of mind and memetics.[citation needed] In their view, minds structure certain communicable aspects of the ideas produced, and these communicable aspects generally trigger or elicit ideas in other minds through inference (to relatively rich structures generated from often low-fidelity input) and not high-fidelity replication or imitation. Atran discusses communication involving religious beliefs as a case in point. In one set of experiments he asked religious people to write down on a piece of paper the meanings of the Ten Commandments. Despite the subjects’ own expectations of consensus, interpretations of the commandments showed wide ranges of variation, with little evidence of consensus. In another experiment, subjects with autism and subjects without autism interpreted ideological and religious sayings (for example, “Let a thousand flowers bloom” or “To everything there is a season”). People with autism showed a significant tendency to closely paraphrase and repeat content from the original statement (for example: “Don’t cut flowers before they bloom”). Controls tended to infer a wider range of cultural meanings with little replicated content (for example: “Go with the flow” or “Everyone should have equal opportunity”). Only the subjects with autismwho lack the degree of inferential capacity normally associated with aspects of theory of mindcame close to functioning as “meme machines”.[47]

In his book The Robot’s Rebellion, Stanovich uses the memes and memeplex concepts to describe a program of cognitive reform that he refers to as a “rebellion”. Specifically, Stanovich argues that the use of memes as a descriptor for cultural units is beneficial because it serves to emphasize transmission and acquisition properties that parallel the study of epidemiology. These properties make salient the sometimes parasitic nature of acquired memes, and as a result individuals should be motivated to reflectively acquire memes using what he calls a “Neurathian bootstrap” process.[48]

Although social scientists such as Max Weber sought to understand and explain religion in terms of a cultural attribute, Richard Dawkins called for a re-analysis of religion in terms of the evolution of self-replicating ideas apart from any resulting biological advantages they might bestow.

As an enthusiastic Darwinian, I have been dissatisfied with explanations that my fellow-enthusiasts have offered for human behaviour. They have tried to look for ‘biological advantages’ in various attributes of human civilization. For instance, tribal religion has been seen as a mechanism for solidifying group identity, valuable for a pack-hunting species whose individuals rely on cooperation to catch large and fast prey. Frequently the evolutionary preconception in terms of which such theories are framed is implicitly group-selectionist, but it is possible to rephrase the theories in terms of orthodox gene selection.

He argued that the role of key replicator in cultural evolution belongs not to genes, but to memes replicating thought from person to person by means of imitation. These replicators respond to selective pressures that may or may not affect biological reproduction or survival.[18]

In her book The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore regards religions as particularly tenacious memes. Many of the features common to the most widely practiced religions provide built-in advantages in an evolutionary context, she writes. For example, religions that preach of the value of faith over evidence from everyday experience or reason inoculate societies against many of the most basic tools people commonly use to evaluate their ideas. By linking altruism with religious affiliation, religious memes can proliferate more quickly because people perceive that they can reap societal as well as personal rewards. The longevity of religious memes improves with their documentation in revered religious texts.[23]

Aaron Lynch attributed the robustness of religious memes in human culture to the fact that such memes incorporate multiple modes of meme transmission. Religious memes pass down the generations from parent to child and across a single generation through the meme-exchange of proselytism. Most people will hold the religion taught them by their parents throughout their life. Many religions feature adversarial elements, punishing apostasy, for instance, or demonizing infidels. In Thought Contagion Lynch identifies the memes of transmission in Christianity as especially powerful in scope. Believers view the conversion of non-believers both as a religious duty and as an act of altruism. The promise of heaven to believers and threat of hell to non-believers provide a strong incentive for members to retain their belief. Lynch asserts that belief in the Crucifixion of Jesus in Christianity amplifies each of its other replication advantages through the indebtedness believers have to their Savior for sacrifice on the cross. The image of the crucifixion recurs in religious sacraments, and the proliferation of symbols of the cross in homes and churches potently reinforces the wide array of Christian memes.[31]

Although religious memes have proliferated in human cultures, the modern scientific community has been relatively resistant to religious belief. Robertson (2007) [49] reasoned that if evolution is accelerated in conditions of propagative difficulty,[50] then we would expect to encounter variations of religious memes, established in general populations, addressed to scientific communities. Using a memetic approach, Robertson deconstructed two attempts to privilege religiously held spirituality in scientific discourse. Advantages of a memetic approach as compared to more traditional “modernization” and “supply side” theses in understanding the evolution and propagation of religion were explored.

In Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology, Jack Balkin argued that memetic processes can explain many of the most familiar features of ideological thought. His theory of “cultural software” maintained that memes form narratives, social networks, metaphoric and metonymic models, and a variety of different mental structures. Balkin maintains that the same structures used to generate ideas about free speech or free markets also serve to generate racistic beliefs. To Balkin, whether memes become harmful or maladaptive depends on the environmental context in which they exist rather than in any special source or manner to their origination. Balkin describes racist beliefs as “fantasy” memes that become harmful or unjust “ideologies” when diverse peoples come together, as through trade or competition.[51]

In A Theory of Architecture, Nikos Salingaros speaks of memes as “freely propagating clusters of information” which can be beneficial or harmful. He contrasts memes to patterns and true knowledge, characterizing memes as “greatly simplified versions of patterns” and as “unreasoned matching to some visual or mnemonic prototype”.[52] Taking reference to Dawkins, Salingaros emphasizes that they can be transmitted due to their own communicative properties, that “the simpler they are, the faster they can proliferate”, and that the most successful memes “come with a great psychological appeal”.[53]

Architectural memes, according to Salingaros, can have destructive power. “Images portrayed in architectural magazines representing buildings that could not possibly accommodate everyday uses become fixed in our memory, so we reproduce them unconsciously.”[54] He lists various architectural memes that circulated since the 1920s and which, in his view, have led to contemporary architecture becoming quite decoupled from human needs. They lack connection and meaning, thereby preventing “the creation of true connections necessary to our understanding of the world”. He sees them as no different from antipatterns in software design as solutions that are false but are re-utilized nonetheless.[55]

An “Internet meme” is a concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based E-mailing, blogs, forums, imageboards like 4chan, social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, instant messaging, social news sites like Reddit, and video hosting services like YouTube and Twitch.tv.[56]

In 2013 Richard Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as one deliberately altered by human creativity, distinguished from Dawkins’s original idea involving mutation by random change and a form of Darwinian selection.[57]

One technique of meme mapping represents the evolution and transmission of a meme across time and space.[58] Such a meme map uses a figure-8 diagram (an analemma) to map the gestation (in the lower loop), birth (at the choke point), and development (in the upper loop) of the selected meme. Such meme maps are nonscalar, with time mapped onto the y-axis and space onto the x-axis transect. One can read the temporal progression of the mapped meme from south to north on such a meme map. Paull has published a worked example using the “organics meme” (as in organic agriculture).[58]

Here is the original post:

Meme – Wikipedia

What is Net-Centric Warfare? | Daniel K. Buntovnik

By Daniel K. Buntovnik, 6November 2016

This piece addresses dilemmas facing opponents of war and imperialismin the 2016 U.S. presidential race, the future of war-profiteering, eumemicist racism, the alt-right rehashing of neo-Nazi occultism, and Net-Centric Warfare as black magic.

Although the ruling class of the United States of America bends over backwards to display its cleavage into so-called Republican and Democratic factions, this apparent split is, to a significant degree, exaggerated. Every day, conscious and unconscious agents of plutocratic, oligarchical dictatorship are working hard to drum up minor differences between the political parties of the bourgeoisie. This encourages us to spend a disproportionate amount of our time focusing on the disagreements between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and their parties, disengaging from the reality of their joint pursual of key political objectives.

The deeper the illusion of Democratic-Republican cleavage is driven into the citizenrys consciousness, the more the popularity contest in which the masses are quadrennially enticed to (indirectly) participate is lent legitimacy. The suggestion that this contest represents a real opportunity to take part in the national policy-making process is enhanced by the impression of cleavage, while elevated awareness of bipartisan fusion and unity across the bourgeois political spectrum threatens to foment disenchantment and revolt, because it leads to the conclusion that American elections offers little in the way of actual choice.

The scope of the great false dilemma goes beyond what is commonly understood by the term two-party system. This is because U.S. presidential electoral politics have, in the 21st century, actually developed into a four-party system, composed of two Big League parties and two Little League parties. The Little League parties, by virtue of each one functioning as a fallback or an auxiliary to its Big League counterpart, serve as a farcical opposition force to what is generally understood by the term two-party system (i.e. the two Big League parties). Presently the Little League two-party system is composed of (1) the Green Party, absorbing disaffected ex-Democrats such as Jill Stein and the Gaddafist Cynthia McKinney as well as syphoning off resources from opportunistic Marxian micro-sects, and (2) the Libertarian Party, absorbing disaffected ex-Republicans such as Gary Johnson and Ron Paul (in whose case we see the revolving door between Libertarians and the GOP). Other third parties are relegated to competing with each other as well as with the Greens and Libertarians to gain access to the Little League two-party system.

Both the Libertarian and Green parties attempt to harness the storm of anti-war sentiment, but fail to adequately address imperialist war as an integral function of the capitalist system. Both pledge to put an end to what Gary Johnson calls the imperialistic foreign policy of the U.S.A., which Jill Stein says is turning our republic into a bankrupt empire. Notice how for these peewee politicians, U.S. foreign policy is not imperialist, but imperialisticimplying that it merely resembles imperialism; and nevermind the multi-century policy of invading and annexing foreign nationshalf of Mexico, Hawaii, the Philippines, just to name a fewthis doesnt have anything to do with why the U.S.A. is a wealthy country today; the wars and drone attacks of the 21st century are only in the process of transforming the country into a bankrupt empire but were not there yet! The Little League political players qualify their anti-imperialist posturing with significant caveats; the figurative fine print of Johnsons program lets us know that he still wants to build a strong military, and Stein meanwhile pledges to continue spending as much as $298.5 billion per year on public sector U.S. militarism. Thats still $83 billion more than the country with the second highest military budget in the world, the Peoples Republic of China [X].

Some attempt to paint an image of the Green Party as an attractive political center for revolutionary socialism and peace, but the Green Party and its micro-sect surrogates are oriented towards accommodating right-wing nationalist theory. Their objective is to co-opt supporters of Hillary Clintons Democratic socialist ex-competitor, Bernie Sanders, whose campaigns central theme was about saving capitalism for the many, not the few with a national political revolution, the very notion of which stands in antagonistic contradiction to the act of abolishing capitalism through transnational social revolution (for a variety of reasons, some of which I explored here). Rather than criticizing the trustbuster thrust of Robert Reich inspired slogans like political revolution against the billionaire class, the Greens and their surrogates facilitate assimilation of the fantasy implicit in these slogans, that of a salvageable capitalism based around restored small business competitivity and regulationnot expropriationof the big corporations (labelled democratic socialism), along with continued deportations and borders, a fantasy which is rendered explicit upon closer examination of the discourse of individuals like Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, and Robert Reich.

If Jill Stein, the theoretically electable candidate in this years Electoral College with the most far-reaching proposals for U.S. militarism reduction, became the president of the United States and implemented her reforms, the U.S. war machine would likely be slightly weaker than it is now (although it would probably remain quite powerful, given Jill Steins pledge to provide it with an approximate yearly budget surpassing that of any other nation), but this would only be worthwhile if in the process of implementing these reforms, awareness of the need to ultimately abolish the basis of war (capitalism and hegemony of the bourgeois state) grew and the movement centered around this awareness became stronger. Otherwise the next president could simply reverse the course, and its not inconceivable that the Pentagon would find some sly way to circumvent those hypothetical budget cuts or perhaps even orchestrate a coup. However, given that Stein has virtually no chance to become president, why should anyone lend support to anti-war individuals and groups who do not plainly articulate abolition of capitalismthe precluder of peace in modern timesthrough social revolution as their ultimate goal? Are we really so cynical to believe that people are too stupid to understand the basic demands of socialism? Tax the rich, sure, but dont become a stooge of the richplenty of them ultimately wouldnt mind paying higher taxes if it meant saving even a bit of their privilege. The would-be revolutionarys entryistic support, even if critical, for the reformist political center degenerates into de facto agitation for reformism, promoting non-abolitionist consciousness, which cannot be reconciled with abolitionist consciousness. The anti-war movement would be strongerwould existif it was centered around the objective of ending the basis of war, not around the idealistic embrace of leaders like Jill Stein, who vows to maintain the U.S. position of global supremacy in military financing, or Bernie Sanders, who views each imperialist war through an atomizing lens so that he can pick and choose which ones to support (such as the ones in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Syria to which he gave and gives thumbs up).

Given this reality and the hopelessness of leveraging the electoral process towards anti-war ends, the voter who would like to contribute to the stopping of imperialist war and militarist aggression only has one realistic option: throw away her vote. A protest vote for one of the fifth party candidates existing outside of the Big and Little League two-party systems (aka the four-party system) who may propose the actual abolition of capitalism and imperialist warfare is essentially equivalent to writing-in flip tha system and can be considered the most desirable fashion of throwing away ones vote. The vote can be considered thrown away, because these candidates are denied even the hypothetical possibility of election by the nature of the system. But they are still a leg up over abstention because at least in certain cases they may be tallied and recorded, contributing to statistics which may stand as a testament to present levels of vanguard working class consciousness for generations to come, and at the very least there is a chance that, even if the write-in vote is not counted, it may appear as an unsettling anomaly to the one tasked with disregarding it. In that regard, and following the line of thought advanced by Eugene Debs on the desirability of not getting what one wants as opposed to getting what one doesnt want, these hopeless votes are not thrown away but serve a kind of a purpose; they communicate anti-war sentiment.

Votes which can truly be considered thrown away are those cast tactically based in the doctrine of lesser evilism, in which case a vote for one of the peewees of the Little two parties registers simultaneous disaffiliation and affiliation with one of the Big two parties insofar as a Green vote is a disaffected Democratic vote and a Libertarian vote is a disaffected Republican vote. Then there are those who consider it better to vote for a Big evil (as opposed to the Little lesser evil), so long as its not the greatest Big evil. Perhaps the most twisted are those who believe it best to institute the most backward, reactionary, fascistic government possible, in the hope that this will be more likely to stir up revolt than a somewhat less murderous and oppressive bourgeois dictatorship, which is a dubious proposition to say the least. All these votes are thrown away, from the perspective of the anti-war voter, because they contribute to the perpetuation of mass criminal state violence and signal the voters consent to this, whether it be reluctant or enthusiastic.

A key point of unity in the political programs of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is their mutual promise to engage in war-profiteering once elected. To be sure, although there is a general consensus among the U.S. ruling class about the need to wage war for profit, there are indeed nuances between Clinton and Trumps visions for the future of war-profiteering, rooted in a real cleavage of the U.S. bourgeoisie. While Trump has taken up the cause of the backwards and regressive old stock white supremacist and nativist bourgeoisie by advocating protectionism, trade tariffs, and the mass deportation of Mexicans as a sort of neo-Indian removal policy, Clinton represents the progressive faction of the bourgeoisie which embraces a new stock-inclusive white supremacy wherein the impression of cosmopolitanism is fostered by augmenting fluidity between manners of othering and ascribing social inferiority (i.e. by supplementing racism with civicism and culturism, allowing for the development of a black bourgeoisie), and the progressive extension of the governments conception of whiteness as it is nowadays defined by institutions such as the Census Bureau and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which essentially occurs in two waves: first, the extension of whiteness in the 19th and early 20th centuries to the descendants of non-Anglo Saxon Germanic peoples and shortly thereafter to non-Germanic peoples of Christian Europe, followed by extension of whiteness in the late 20th and early 21st centuries which de-emphasized the alignment between Christianity and whiteness and began to include peoples of certain parts of Asia and Africa, the Balkans, Iberia, and Latin America as white persons.

The language deployed by the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns in the political platforms presented on their official websites is a 21st century confirmation of the assertion made long ago by high-ranking U.S. militarist turned anti-war dissident Smedley D. Butler that War is a racket. Although both campaigns frame their proposals for financial investment in war not as direct investment into warfare itself, but as investments in weapons manufacturing and war waging capabilities (i.e. the military industrial complex), both nevertheless take for granted that war is, was, and should continue to be a profitable business. Perhaps both presidential candidates have a sense that the public at large would find the proposal to perpetrate mass violence and terminate countless human lives in exchange for the accumulation of wealth distasteful if not presented delicately, cloaked as a call to invest in the mere machinery of war. However, this tactic is transparent; the call to invest in the tools and technologies of war is in fact inseparable from the call to invest in war itself, for these investments would be obsolete if there was no war in which to deploy them. And insofar as these weapons systems, war waging capabilities, and an empowered military industrial complex are said to function as a deterrent to hot war, they escalate the renewed cold war between great power factions, resulting in proxy-type wars.

Consider the following definitions from OxfordDictionaries.com before we examine the candidates programs more closely:

First, Donald Trumps official presidential campaign website (donaldjtrump.com), informs us that Trumps vision is to:

Invest in a serious missile defense system to meet growing threats by modernizing our Navys cruisers and procuring additional, modern destroyers to counter the ballistic missile threat from Iran and North Korea.

The only profit this investment will bring to anyone other than defense contractors is the metaphorical wages paid to cover the psychological cost of irrational paranoia over the ballistic missile threat [to people in North America] from Iran and North Korea, countries whose militarism is largely a reaction to U.S. jingoism in the first place. Of course, we should also all know by now that defense is really a militarist dog whistle for war: the so-called United States Department of Defense was more accurately and less Newspeak-ishly called the Department of War between 1789 and 1947. Hence why, for Trumps PR team, the way to invest [] in [] defense is by procuring [] destroyers!

The fact that Trump openly calls for (primarily poor non-U.S. citizen) human lives to be sacrificed for the purpose of (primarily rich white American) financial gain should not even come as a surprise, given the blatantly imperialist statements he and his associates like Rudolph Giuliani have made, such as:

In the old days, when we won a war, to the victor belonged the spoils. Instead, all we got from Iraqand our adventures in the Middle Eastwas death, destruction and tremendous financial loss. Donald Trump [X]

While Hillary Clinton does employ the same lexical register of financial speculation to proudly raise the call for war-profiteering just as loudly and just as clearly as Donald Trump, her teams investment pitch is nuanced by the form of innovation it advocates. The Klinton-Kaine Kampaign website (hillaryclinton.com) promises us that, as president, Hillary will:

Invest in innovation and capabilities that will allow us to prepare for and fight 21st-century threats. That includes leveraging our information advantage through whats called net-centric warfare capabilities and preparing for asymmetric threats.

Clintons P.R. team has spiced up the war-for-profit pitch by plugging in a reference to what seems to be one of the latest militarist buzz phrases: net-centric warfare. A Wikipedia article on the term defines it as a doctrine or theory developed by the U.S. baby killer establishment in the 1990s which seeks to translate an information advantage, enabled in part by information technology, into a competitive advantage through the robust computer networking of well informed geographically dispersed forces.

In Network Centric Warfare: Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority (2000), David Alberts, John Garstka and Frederick Stein describe Network Centric Warfare as the best term developed to date to describe the way [U.S. militarists] will organize and fight in the Information Age.

The intuitive connection between networks, information, cyberspace, and global media is indicative of the fact that militarist buzzwords like net-centric warfare, information warfare, and cyberwarfare are essentially all iterations of the same thought process. Thus Hillary Clintons call to invest in Net-Centric Warfare in 2016 echoes her words to Congress in 2011, when she lamented (in a global context wherein non-American media networks such as Al Jazeera, RT, Sputnik, CCTV, and teleSUR were gaining traction in the Anglosphere as well as a stronger foothold in other regions) that We are in an information war, and were losing that war. Thus Hillarys campaign pledge cannot be seen as an addendum thoughtlessly tacked on to the platform so as to pander to the pro-military crowd, but a longstanding sign of her approach to imperial affairs.

In Network Centric Operations: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress (2007), Clay Wilson explains that Network Centric [Warfare] relies on computer equipment and networked communications technology to provide a shared awareness of the battle space [sic] for U.S. forces.

One might well imagine some Defense clerks producing a flashy video of U.S. Army/Marine Corps baby killers consulting their smartwatches in between murdering savage Near Oriental men to post statuses on each others timelines about where the remainder of the unarmed men are seeking asylum from these brainwashed SS-worshipping death squads and livestreaming satellite images as they operate a genocidal dragnet across a dusty and generic Fallujah-esque town (perhaps filmed on the set of Homeland), their wounded comrades meanwhile being treated by medical androids remote controlled by ethically-compromised doctors on another continent, to sell this concept to bloodthirsty sociopaths in Washington D.C. The U.S. military would probably prefer that when the public hears the term net-centric warfare, it would imagine something like this, happening far away, directed at un-American others, and keeping America safebut leveraging our information advantage has much broader implications.

One indication that the scope of this project goes well beyond the battlespaces of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen is the fact that the term net-centric warfare is regarded as being synonymous with that of net-centric operations (Wilson, 2007). This supplanting of warfare by operations, like the supplanting of battlefield by battlespace, signals an important shift in the way U.S. militarists perceive the nature of conflict in the 21st century, sometimes referred to as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). The supplanting of the term warfare with that of operations marks a symbolic step towards the normalization of the state of perpetual warfare and the rendering ubiquitous of military operations outside their traditional spheres which have become reality under the so-called War on Terror.

This shifting emphasis in bourgeois military theory (from warfare to operations) can be traced back to the emergence of the asymmetric warfare paradigm (also alluded to by Clinton, cf. asymmetric threats) which began to gain currency towards the end of the genocidal U.S. war in Vietnam as baffled U.S. militarists struggled to fathom how their country had allowed them to be defeated (see Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars [1975]). The architects of the U.S. genocide in Vietnam expressed dismay at their defeat because they felt there had not objectively been sufficient loss or degradation of U.S. military machinery or manpower to warrant defeat; instead they identified the erosion of the subjective political will to continue fighting among the U.S. populace as the cause of their defeat. This view can be summed up in the rhetorical question of one U.S. militarist: Was the United States defeated in the jungles of Vietnam, or was it defeated in the streets of American cities? [Aquino, p. 6].

Similarly observing that [the Vietnam War] was fought as much, if not more, in the living rooms of America as in the living jungles of Southeast Asia, the U.S. militarist authors of Network Centric Warfare: Developing and Leveraging Information Superiority resolve that the battlespace of the future [] will no longer be private or remote [Alberts, p. 63]. But because the political costs of using [lethal weapons] against domestic anti-war dissidents and peace activists are likely to far outweigh their effects, the crushing of domestic civilian and non-state actor threats to the will to sustain U.S. militarist campaigns of genocide abroad (the national will to victory [Aquino, p. 4]) is primarily viewed as being a job for methods like Information Warfare, Military Information Support Operations (MISO) (also known as Psychological Operations [PSYOP]), Operations Other Than War (OOTW) [Alberts, p. 59], and Effects-Based Operations (EBO) [Smith, p. 1], although thats by no means to say that they dont consider the brazen use of lethal force against U.S. citizens out of the question [X]. The same authors note that in some instances of so-called Operations Other Than War the line between war and peace and between friend, foe, and neutral is blurred beyond recognition and that Information Operations blur the boundaries between civilian and military, having the potential to totally redefine the nature of warfare [Alberts, p. 59].

The doctrine of net-centric warfare thus encapsulates the idea that anyone who does anything to oppose the U.S. war machine must be regarded as a foe of the state, including those who do so in totally non-violent ways such as:

The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s helped to further entrench the paradigm of asymmetric warfare, as the subsequent Soviet/Russian geopolitical recession undid the relative symmetricality of what had previously been seen as a bipolar global battlespace. Nowadays the U.S. military behemoth swallows up a whopping 37% of global military spending, more than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the U.K., India, France, and Japan combined, perpetuating the asymmetry between U.S. militarism and all other centers of militarism, competitors and partners included. This trend is tempered however by certain developments, such as the so-called Sino-Russian rapprochement and the recent expansion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a geopolitical counterweight to U.S. military dominance and a vehicle for the joint operations of Russian and Chinese capitalists and militarists eager to further develop their own brands of imperialism.

Nevertheless, despite the Klinton Kaine Kampaigns programmatic inclination towards the discourse of warfare (i.e. its selection of the term net-centric warfare as opposed to net-centric operations) and its characterization of Russia as a foreign adversarial power, the displacement of warfare by operations as the dominant theoretical framework of U.S. baby killer circles is unlikely to be reversed because the threat of massive nuclear annihilation encourages the reframing of 21st century conflict between similarly matched great power blocs as symmetrical operations. The current U.S.-Russian cyber or information war, although these refer to operations other than war in the traditional sense, may be considered a symmetric situation or perhaps even a situation of U.S. inferiority. For example, despite having an inferior budget, the number of Russian intelligence operatives in the U.S. is said to be at least three times superior to the number of U.S. ones in Russia [X]. Hillary Clinton and U.S. militarists broad conceptualization of warfare, redefined and expanded to include a variety of operations which were heretofore held to be operations other than war, should be read as an attempt to accelerate the militarization of domestic policing, expand proxy wars, and work around the limitations imposed by mutually assured destruction, not as an imminent push to engage Russia with nuclear warheads, as the peewee two-party system bourgeois candidate Jill Stein has argued in her alarmist pro-Trump lesser evilist discourse [X].

In a country with few immediate signs of threat to the national will to victory in the form of mass movements, perhaps just as critical as directly suppressing dissident voices, if not more so, is the manufacturing of consent which seems to assure that a minimal amount of dissent hardly pops up in the first place. We know that the U.S. and global public is targeted by the military and intelligence forces en masse through operations such as the Message Force Multipliers program, which sought to achieve information dominance by saturating U.S. television with war-mongering talking heads around the time of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Another example of this kind of operation is the Pentagon spending half a billion dollars on the production of fake Al-Qaeda videos that portrayed the insurgent group in a negative light. Thats almost an entire fiscal year of U.S. military funds spent on some videosbut how could we even know what the real U.S. ritual human sacrifice budget is when U.S. militarists cant account for $6.5 trillion in funds [X]? Surely the fact that U.S. militarists do not release such information is part of some asinine strategy on their part to leverage [their] information advantage over us information scroungers who are not privy to those classified true facts. A President Jill Stein might well leave us with a military caste who can only not account for $3.25 trillion!

One expression of Effects-Based Operations (which a U.S. militarist named Smith defines as military operations directed at shaping the behavior of foes, friends, and neutrals in peace, crisis, and war) is the emergent military strategy of meme warfare or memetic engineering [X, X, X]. Modelled on an analogy to genetics (the science of biological heredity) first posited by raging anti-Muslim bigot Richard Dawkins of the Islamophobic New Atheist set, memetics (the science[?] of cultural heredity [as well as intra-generational cultural transmission]) supposes the existence of the meme as a unit of information in a mind whose existence influences events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds [Brodie, p. 11]. Another theorist describes memetic engineering as the conscious construction of information packages which are likely to replicate themselves across a network of minds [X]. The prevalence of memes is thought to be a consequence of our evolved capacity to imitate [X]. Meme warfare proposes the weaponization of mimesisdelivering ideas to targets (enemies, friends, and neutrals) in such a way that they assimilate those ideas which in turn induce behaviors that facilitate the meeting of the weapon-handlers objectives.

We can anticipate that the project of creating a memetically engineered (or psychocivilized) society entails the desirability of control and influence over information distribution networks as well as control and influence over the production of knowledge and information, helping to explain the drive of U.S. militarists to forcibly penetrate media and academia, like the horrific and snarling incubi which these demonic rape culture perpetuating militarists are.

Closely related to the concept to memetic engineering is eumemics. Like eugenicists, advocates of eumemics believe that populations can be improved by the manipulation and control of scientists, though in this case it is the pathologization of devalued thoughts (dubbed mind viruses), not biological traits, which prevails. Nevertheless, memeticists do hypothesize that memes drove biological selection as well as genes [McNamara].

The transition from eugenics to eumemics nevertheless proceeds relatively seamlessly from the perspective of so-called race science, for the neo-Nazi movements embrace of anti-Semitic American fascist Francis Parker Yockeys critique of materialistic scientism reveals a perspective on race which leads quickly to the supplantation of eugenics by eumemics.

In The Scientific-Technical World-Outlook (a chapter from his 1948 book Imperium), Yockey argues that [by 1850] science was on the road which was to cultuminate in [] frank admission of the subjectivity of physical concepts, that the very study of matter itself revealed the profound knowledge [] that matter is only the envelope of the soul, and that the transition from 19th century materialism to the new spirituality of the 20th century was thus not a battle, but an inevitable development. For Yockey, the neo-Nazi worldview is not based on science or materialism, although these are seen as useful in the service of [] unlimited will-to-power. The Nazi blowhard concludes that the Idea [of a strong Western Culture that creates Races and is the higher Reality] is primary, though superiority in weapons [furnished by techno-scientific methodology] is essential. Neo-Nazism thus attempts to remedy the fact that the racial basis of German Nazism was objectively pseudoscientific by dislocating race from this framework and repackaging it as a transcendent subjectivity, beyond science and pseudoscience. This outlook may be rooted in the adoption of an asymmetric model of warfare by Nazi strategists in the post-war years, in which case Operation Paperclip signals the beginning of the supplantation of warfare by operations.

In another chapter of Imperium on the Subjective Meaning of Race, the fascist Yockey argues that race is [] what a man feels and that this [feeling] influences, whether immediately or eventually, what he does. Race is not, according to Yockey, the way one talks, looks, gestures, walks, it is not a matter of stock, color, anatomy, skeletal structure, or anything else objective. He further elaborates that every race [] expresses a certain idea [] and its idea is bound to be attractive to some individuals outside it, and that every healthy, ascendant race accepts recruits who come in on its terms and who have the proper feeling. This notion of the true meaning of race being a subjective feeling, existing independently of objective scientific study, is expressed by government policy in cases such as United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the law must uphold a popular, but unscientific conception of the so-called white race [X]. Popular and governmental conceptions did evolve thereafter, but remain unscientific. Perhaps it is this subjectivity that permits anomalous individuals such as Leo Felton, an African-American man, to become accepted as leaders in White Power prison gangs [X], and others, such as Barack Obama, to become legatees of the worlds leading white supremacist institutions.

The so-called Alt-Right movement, an innovative reiteration anti-Semitic, white supremacist, and Nazi bullshit for the Information Age which has emerged as one of the most vocal factions of Donald Trump supporters, places a heavy emphasis on memes and the memetic model of cultural evolution [X, X]. One Alt-right-wing 8chan forum set up last year calls itself The Bureau of Memetic Warfare and greets visitors with a Black Sun banner. It would almost be edgy if U.S. militarists had not already proposed a Meme Warfare Center a decade sooner [Prosser].

Seeming to fulfill the late comic George Carlins prediction that when fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts, it will not be with jack-boots; it will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts, The Daily Stormer, an Alt-Right website, notes that a movement which meets all of the [Southern Poverty Law Center]s definitions of Neo-Nazi White Supremacism using a cartoon frog to represent itself takes on a subversive power to bypass historical stereotypes of such movements, and thus present the ideas themselves in a fun way without the baggage of Schindlers List [sic] and American History X [sic]. They are talking about the so-called Pepe, a cartoon frog and internet-centric meme which even the Klinton Kaine Kampaign has addressed [X].

The same neo-Nazi website notes that the Alt-Right is in the process of forming an actual religious doctrine around the god Kek, who is believed to be the spiritual root of meme magick [X]. Alt-Right occultists have actually come to believe that the net-centric meme Pepe the Frog is a hierophany of the Ancient Egyptian god called Kek, who was depicted as a frog or theriocephalous frog-man [X].

Of course, some Alt-Right irony bros will inevitably fall back on the plausible deniability tactic when it suits them, and claim that internet meme-cum-hierophany discourse is pure satire done simply for the lulz; however, it is obvious from white nationalist texts like Esoteric Kekism, or Kek as a Bodhisattva of Racial Enlightenment that there is a genuine desire on the part of the so-called Alt-Right to engage in the time-honored fascist pastime of blatant cultural misappropriation of Eastern religious traditions so as to try to rehash yet again the aestheticized pseudo-mystique of an esoteric neo-Nazism, pioneered by classics like Maximine Julia Portas (Savitri Devi). Plausible deniability of the sincerity of Alt-Right discourse is stoked by public figures such as Milo Yiannopoulos, who has emerged as a cultural broker between the mainstream world and the largely web-bound (net-centric) movement. In a March 2016 Breitbart piece, Yiannopoulos argued that the reactionary/misogynistic/racist memes produced by the movement are merely meant to poke fun at political correctness, but the other representatives of the Alt-Right have vehemently scoffed at the idea that no one in the Alt-Right actually believes anything that they are saying, and simply say it as part of some obscure joke [X, X]. Meanwhile, there are others on the Alt-Right who are less chagrined by the fact that a gay Jewish man (Yiannopoulos) has become their unofficial spokesperson, basically seeing him as a useful idiot who is contributing to the rightward shift in the Overton Window [X].

Right-wing occultists are likely to the view those who ironically or jokingly spread the Cult of Kek and meme magick memes in a similar light, as the former use it to recruit devotees and initiates to their race-hate occultist worldview (see, for example, the Alt-Rightist recommendation made in the hypertext of the previous link that readers familiarize themselves with the work of British occultists Phil Hine and Peter J. Carroll to begin understanding meme magick as a form of chaos magick). Chaos magick is in turn considered to be a form of Satanism by prominent proponents of Satanism. For example, Anton Long (alleged alias of David Myatt, a proponent of neo-Nazi Satanism) writes in Toward Understanding Satanism (a classic Order of Nine Angles text) that, standard definitions of Satanism [] encompass, and so may describe [] the type of esotericism propounded by advocates of chaos magick and others who assert such things as reality is what I make it or what others have made it, or perceived it to be, so that Reality is a matter is perspective [sic] and thus demons/gods/religions/techniques beliefs can be usefully used without believing in them [X]. Hine is extensively cited as an authority in the book Contemporary Religious Satanism: A Critical Anthology (2009) [X] and Carroll has associated with activists in the British neo-Nazi movement via his involvement in the magazine Chaos International [X, X]. Additionally, in a subsection of The Occult World (2014) entitled Contemporary Occult War, religions studies professor Christopher Partridge relates that the interest of Carroll (described here as the founder of of chaos magic) in waging a purely politicized occult war in the form of a conspiracist libertarian condemnation of the European Union should be contextually understood in relation to the sinister family of traditions derived from the [(explicit concern) with esoteric conflict against Jewish influences of the] Order of Nine Angles (the previously mentioned neo-Nazi/Satanic group which developed out of English Wicca in the late 1960s or early 70s) [Partridge, pp. 632-3].

Another self-described Satanic grouping, with documented ties to U.S. militarism and whose original High Priests contributions to the theoretical framework of U.S. militarist operations in the 1980s prefigure the emergence of Net-Centric Warfare in the 1990s in ways explored below, is the Temple of Set. This occultist religious sect was founded in 1975 by the U.S. militarist Michael Aquino, a PSYOPs officer during the U.S. genocide-war in Vietnam, after he left his position as a high-ranking member of Anton LaVeys Church of Satan. In addition to reported disillusionment with LaVeys proposal to sell positions in the Church of Satan to those willing to pay big bucks, the split may have arisen in part from what Aquino saw as the Church of Satans equivocal stance on the question of whether Satan was real or symbolic. The Temple of Set, Aquino writes in Black Magic (1975-2010), resolved this dilemma [] by asserting the actual existence of Satan (as Set the original, pre-Judaeo/Christian entity) [X]. Aquinos collapsing of Christianity into Judaism and expression of desire to bypass its framework by displacing the figure of Satan with that of Set can be seen as an iteration of the same anti-Semitic concern with esoteric conflict against Jewish influences described by Partridge (2014). The anti-Semitic leitmotiv of Western esotericists can be traced back even further, to foundational figures of the contemporary occultist worldview such as Aleister Crowley, who lamented that The Jew has eaten his way into everything. The caricature of Semitic thought, Christianity, rotted Roman virtue through introducing the moral subterfuge of vicarious atonement [X]. In many ways modern proponents of magick in the West are heavily indebted to blatant cultural misappropriation which was facilitated by European colonialism. (For examples of the way in which contemporary Western esotericism and occultism cannot be contextually separated from their basis in Orientalism and cultural misappropriation, see the pivotal role played by European, especially British, colonialism in opening up mystical countries like Egypt and India to raging anti-Semitic white supremacists such as Aleister Crowley, Helena Blavatsky, and C. W. Leadbeater).

Like the newly founded occult-oriented neo-Nazi Cult of Kek, the Temple of Set was also based on cultural misappropriation of Ancient Egyptian/Kemetic mythology. The Egyptian gods Set and Kek share a number of similarities. Both have been called gods of chaos. Ancient Egypt Online notes that Set was a storm god associated with strange and frightening events including eclipses and that his glyph appears in the Egyptian words for turmoil, confusion, [] storm and rage [X]. The same source indicates that Kek (or Kuk) represented darkness, obscurity and night and that this darkness was the chaotic darkness which existed before the creation of the world [and] although he was a god of the darkness, he was also associated with the dawn and given the epithet, the bringer-in of the light [X]. It is further noted that Kek was also associated with Sobek, depicted as a theriocephalous crocodile-man who was said to be the son of Setwho also took the form of a crocodile [X].

Net-Centric Warfare theorists posit the existence of three domains relevant to the warfighter:

The quasi-religious underpinnings of this three-domain model of the battlespace need to be rendered explicit to understand, in the following section, Net-Centric Warfare as a reflection of the darker side of modern Western esoteric thought. We would also do well to take into consideration and keep in mind the argument of religions scholar Mircea Eliade that, contrary to what may still be considered conventional wisdom by some, religion does not necessarily imply belief in God, gods, or ghosts, but refers to the experience of the sacred, and consequently, is related to ideas of being, meaning, and truth [X].

Though the doctrine of the domains of Net-Centric Warfare is presented as trinitarian in form, in essence it replicates the Cartesian dualist meme; it is the bifurcation of the battlespace into physical and cognitive fronts, echoing long-posited binary oppositions between the body and mind, the material and the spiritual, which is fundamental to Net-Centric Warfare theory. Information is an intermediary between these two poles because it inhabits consciousness (where it is processed), but it can also be materialized into the external world via systems of communication (e.g. a book contains information which derives from the cognitive domain but exists in the physical domain). The information domain is thus not autonomous, but exists only in the relation to, and as an aspect of, the physical and cognitive domains. (The question of the nature of the information domain and its relation to the central dichotomy between tangible (external/physical) and intangible (internal/cognitive) which we find in the discourse of Net-Centric Warfare can also be located in the field of memetics, in the debate between memeticists of internalist and externalist persuasions [X]). The information domain is therefore secondary to the fundamental dynamic of Net-Centric Warfare, which is concerned with the ability to influence a targets feeling or cognitive state so as to affect what he or she does in the world, thus altering the physical state of the battlefield. Net-Centric Warfare utilizes objective means (such as physical control of external information flows) to target subjective phenomena (e.g., morale, the will to victory, the will to resist, and the will-to-power). This is why information dominance is in fact a euphemism for cognitive dominance.

Returning to the notion of the sacred as the defining element of religion, we see that Net-Centric Warfare is in essence a theological expression of U.S. militarism in the way that it recognizes the mind itself as sacred. The Cartesian split between spirit and matter observed in U.S. militarist doctrine is imbued with the analogue which Mircea Eliade called the sacred-profane polarity and analysis of the discourse on Net-Centric Warfare (and similar militarist buzzwords) reveals numerous traits consistent with a type of religious thought. Elaborating on this dichotomy between sacrality and profanity which he argued was key to understanding the constitution of religious thought, Eliade put forth in The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion (1959) that:

[In] all pre-modern societies, the sacred is equivalent to a power, and, in the last analysis, to reality. The sacred is saturated with being. [] The polarity sacred-profane is often expressed as an opposition between real and unreal or pseudoreal. [] Thus it is easy to understand that religious man deeply desires to be, to participate in reality, to be saturated with power [X, pp. 12-13].

By inaugurating the pursual of general dominance in the cognitive domain as the ultimate key to victory in any war, the cognitive apparatuses of not only enemy combatants and their host populations, but also those of the U.S. military protagonists civilian co-nationals became consecrated as sites of battle. For U.S. militarists, the lesson drawn from their defeat in Vietnam was that domination of the battlefields physical domain amounts to an unreal victory if the enemy is still able to leverage information superiority and prevail in the cognitive domain. The consequence of being made acutely aware of the possibility of defeat in spite of superior physical force was the invigoration of a militarist discourse around the menace of asymmetric threats. To pursue an old-fashioned warfighting strategy that did not adequately take the nature of asymmetric threats into account became sacrilege. Focusing too narrowly on the physical, material domain (unreal) at the expense of having a sense of concern for the cognitive, spiritual domain (real) became a form of profanity in the militarist mind, a vulgarization of what it means to pursue victory, a kind of false idol worship. The newfound reality of the all-encompassing nature of war, its delineation so blurred that it was no longer distinguishable from peace, no longer fought exclusively on the traditional battlefield but across a vaster battlespace that penetrates inside the hearts and minds of foes, friends, and neutrals in peace, crisis, and war was the new theology of Militarism. War was profane; operations became sacred.

U.S. militarist Michael Aquino, the self-proclaimed Setian Satanist who ran PSYOPs in Vietnam in the early part of his career, called this shift from the battlefield of the physical domain to the battlespace of the cognitive one MindWar. In a 1980 military research paper co-written with another U.S. militarist named Paul Vallely (now a Fox News senior military analysti.e. Message Force Multiplier) and entitled From PSYOP to MindWar: The Psychology of Victory Aquino (and Vallely, although Aquinos voice seems to dominate the text) explain how, in their view, victory on the physical battlefield is only assured by militarist domination of the cognitive battlespace. One source claims that although the paper never appeared in its intended publication outlet (Military Review), it was nevertheless widely circulated among military planners, and [] distributed by Aquinos Temple of Set [X]. Implying that commanders should be more concerned with the conquest of minds than with tangible victories, Aquino writes:

The MindWar scenario must be preeminent in the mind of the commander and must be the principal factor in his every field decision. Otherwise he sacrifices measures which actually contribute to winning the war to measures of immediate, tangible satisfaction.

It seems clear that Aquinos articulation of the need for U.S. militarism to switch gears from traditional war to sublime MindWar developed in tandem with his involvement in the Satanic cult scene. In one of his more esoteric ramblings, Aquino notes that,

Perhaps the most important contribution of the original Church of Satan (1966-1975CE) was its focus upon and glorification of the psyche, even though its original ambition was to downplay that concept in favor of mere fleshly gratification [X].

This critique was likely formed, if these precise words were not themselves written, around the time of his break with the Church of Satan to form the Temple of Set in 1975, five years before writing the MindWar paper. With the help of a thesaurus, his criticism of the Church of Satans undue emphasis on fleshly gratification became that directed at the U.S. military for its undue emphasis on tangible satisfaction (i.e. the physical domain). Moreover, his appreciation of the Church of Satans focus upon and glorification of the psyche forms the entire basis of the MindWar doctrine, with its focus upon and glorification of the cognitive domain.

Aquino argues that MindWar only operates in nonlethal, noninjurious, and nondestructive ways and that it essentially amounts to [overwhelming] your enemy with argument. This is apparently as simple as [seizing] control of all the means by which [the enemy] government and populace process information to make up their minds, and [adjusting] it so that those minds are made up as you desire. But Aquino also makes it clear that, in the MindWar scenario, the U.S. populace is approached by its would-be militarist overlords as an enemy. While at first painting Americans who called for the defeat of the U.S. effort to commit genocide in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia as victims fallen to the lies of enemy propaganda, Aquino goes on to imply that MindWar must attack and ultimately destroy the will of anti-war citizens because their opposition to the jingoistic national will to victory of the U.S. is merely a sign of their weakness and vulnerability to enemy psychological operations, arguing:

[The main PSYOP/MindWar effort] must originate at the national level. It must strengthen our national will to victory and it must attack and ultimately destroy that of our enemy. It both causes and is affected by physical combat, but it is a type of war which is fought on a far more subtle basis as well in the minds of the national populations involved.

[]

MindWar must target all participants if it is to be effective. It must not only weaken the enemy; it must strengthen the United States. It strengthens the United States by denying enemy propaganda access to our people, and by explaining and emphasizing to our people the rationale for our national interest in a specific war.

Of course, to accept MindWar as noninjurious and nondestructive, we would have to ignore the destruction and injury such a practice perpetrates against freedom of thought, freedom of information, and freedom of expression. We would also have to ignore that, given the fact that in most cases and for obvious reasons (e.g. bumbling U.S. militarists inability to even speak enemy languages) it is more feasible for U.S. militarists to strengthen the U.S. national will to victory with programs like the Message Force Multipliers than it is for them to destroy the will of the peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries to resist U.S. military occupations and bombing campaigns, MindWar perpetuates lethal operations and augments the death toll by keeping the U.S. populace compliant with the war effort and consistently failing to keep enemy populations submissive to occupation forces and unresentful of U.S. bombing campaigns. In what seems a telling Freudian slip, Aquino recently uttered, MindWar [] was an attempt to [] stress out the conscious parts of the human mind, to sort of [] create a mind slave [X].

Aquinos twisted conception of truth is also revealing of the fact that we are dealing with a religious concept when we talk about Net-Centric Warfare and MindWar. Arguing that legal restrictions on PSYOPs which forbid them from being deployed against the U.S. public are wrongheaded, Aquino writes:

Under existing United States law, PSYOP units may not target American citizens. That prohibition is based upon the presumption that propaganda is necessarily a lie or at least a misleading half-truth, and that the government has no right to lie to the people. The Propaganda Ministry of Goebbels must not be a part of the American way of life.

Quite right, and so it must be axiomatic of MindWar that it always speaks the truth. Its power lies in its ability to focus recipients attention on the truth of the future as well as that of the present. MindWar thus involves the stated promise of the truth that the United States has resolved to make real if it is not already so.

Here we arrive at the eschatological aspect of U.S. militarist doctrine; it deals with the end of days or the end of an age. By laying claim to knowledge of future events, to the power to preordain or predestine the ultimate outcome of any given U.S. military endeavor (which will invariably be victory), Aquino invokes what Afrofuturism scholars dub the futures industry, a synthesis of the scientific and corporate activity [of big science and big business] into a relatively coherent narrative which is then [disseminated] throughout the world [by global media] in this way exercising control over the future through the art of prediction and the imperial production of futurist narratives [Eshun, Yaszek]. Investment in the futures industry is evidenced by the work of think-tanks such as the Project for the New American Century, and the impetus towards an eschatological approach is demonstrated by U.S. policy-maker initiatives to transform the War on Terror into a New Thirty Years War. The interest of the bourgeois futures industry in occultism may also derive from the latters conceptualization of aeonics (the magical manipulation of psycho-historical forces [Partridge, p. 632]) or aeonic magick (i.e. the kind of magic concerned with producing large-scale [civilizational] changes [altering the destiny of millions of peoples] over [] centuries [X]).

The first words had a magical aspect to them, and the modern word still retains much of the powerful magicality of the primitive utterance. With words, one person can render another happy or push them to despair, and its with the help of words that the professor transmits her knowledge to students, that an orator leads his audience to predetermined conclusions, affecting their decisions. Words provoke emotions and constitute the general means by which human beings reciprocally influence one another.

Sigmund Freud, in Introduction la psychanalyse (1916) [Freud, p. 11]

In light of the exposition of the religiosity implied by Net-Centric Warfare theory and its constituent concepts (including but not limited to: the physical/information/cognitive domains, meme warfare, information warfare, operations other than war, and psychological operations), as well as the occultism of its state actor pioneers (Aquino/the Temple of Set) and non-state actor practitioners (the Alt-Right/the Cult of Kek), it is reasonable to expect that further unpacking Net-Centric Warfare in the context of its esoteric underpinnings will help to demystify its actual workings. As a consequence of seeking an answer to the question What is Net-Centric Warfare?, we have been been confronted by the pioneers and practitioners of it with the concept of magic[k] and a variety of types of it, including: meme magick, chaos magick, black magick, and aeonic magick.

When we talk about black magic in particular, it is possible understand a number of different things. It is commonly understood that black magic is the evil kind, while white magic is the good kind; the person whose words render another happy does white magic and the one who pushes another to despair does black magic. Black magic and white magic are also said to correspond to the terms Left Hand Path and Right-Hand Path. Some have argued that good and evil are relative to the perspective of the individual, the cultural or class grouping, and that for this reason black magic cannot be equated with evil, nor can white magic be equated with good. The Temple of Sets Michael Aquino would be an example of someone who falls into this camp, in that, although his religious worldview is indebted to a profound degree to early modern occultists such as Aleister Crowley and Helena Blavatsky, he does not seem to like the fact that they used the terms black magic and white magic simply to identify their moral biases (in the sense that they upheld the convention that black stands for that which is immoral and white stands for that which is moral). For Aquino, black magic (or the left-hand path) does not imply any moral or ethical stance, since according to him, it refers to one of two approaches to magic in general rather than to the ends to which [it is] applied [X, p. 61]. However, given what we know about Aquinos almost five decades of prominence on the Satanic cult scene, we cannot take his theory of morally ambiguous black magic as a pure abstraction; consideration of his actual life and career, which we have already seen was dedicated not just to serving, but also enhancing the efficacy of, the genocidal enterprise of U.S. militarism, might be taken as an indication of this particular approachs predisposition to being used towards unethical ends.

A closer examination of Aquinos discourse in Black Magic (1975-2010) reveals that his attempt to dissociate the concept of black magic from its common definition (evil) is mired in contradictions. Here Aquino argues that the ideal member of his Satanic cult is initially amoral but that the cult does argue for a high personal ethical standard which is based on a Platonic love of and dedication to virtue for its own sake not on social or religious-ideological conditioning, threats, or enticements [Aquino, p. 4]. Elsewhere in Black Magic, however, Aquino does express clear concern about safeguarding what he calls the ethical reputation of the Temple [p. 40], noting that, Only if [a Satanist is] known to be a strictly ethical individual will [his or her] freedom from social norms be tolerated. Otherwise [he or she] will be ostracized and probably persecuted by society [p. 94]. Contradicting his initial claim that the Temples argument for its members high ethical standards is not based on social or religious-ideological conditioning, threats, or enticements, Aquino admonishes his followers that ritually sacrificing any life-form will result in the offenders immediate expulsion [from the cult] and referral to law enforcement or animal protection authorities [p. 119]. Aquino again contradicts his initial claim of the cults recognition of the supremacy of the individual Satanists personal ethical standard over social conditioning when he elaborates on the formula by which the Satanist is to avoid persecution/cultivate an ethical reputation: he is to determine not only whether [a particular black magic working] will be ethical in his eyes, but also ethical according to the cultural mind-sets of all other parties to the working [p. 106]. We see thus that the Temple of Sets concern about projecting out an ethical reputation as a law-abiding, non-human/animal (or even plant) sacrificing cult into the world functions as a defense mechanism, its ethical reputation being a mere shell to protect its actual mission, which is to create an unsafe space (since Aquino asserts that black magic is dangerous) for freedom from social norms and the social morality [p. 112] of intrusive subjective universes (Aquinos term) of other psyches, to the extent that such freedom and occult deviancy can be cultivated without provoking ostracization and persecution by the wider society.

Aquinos concern with dissociating black magic from its connotation of evil cannot be understood without apprehending his view that good/evil values are merely appropriate for the profane masses, who cant and dont want to understand anything more precise [p. 106]. Aquinos attempt to dissociate black magic from its connotation of evil mirrors the way in which his conception of the net-centric MindWar doctrine was intimately tied up with the desire to dissociate U.S. militarism (particularly in Southeast Asia) from its connotations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Turning the basic question of what is good and what is bad into a mystical equation serves to transform that which is unethical (imperialist war, use of black magic to manipulate the profane masses into compliance with the former by painting it as good from the perspective of their class-blind/class-collaborative national interests) into that which is ethical. Publicly identifying oneself as a Satanist and establishing a cult institution with the exoteric faade of an ethical reputation rather than keeping ones wacko beliefs to oneself would seem to serve the purpose of, not only empowering oneself and gaining social influence (to the extent that one can accrue cult members and rise in the military industrial hierarchy), but also transforming the lay publics perception of Satanists into its oppositei.e. from equating Satanism with evil and unethical practices to equating it with decent, ethical people who dont really want to hurt anyone.

What does make the term black magic problematic is not its moral connotation by itself, but this in combination with its racial one. We must be skeptical when accusations of black magic are levelled in order to smear that which is genuinely good. For example, televangelist Pat Robertson has infamously called Haitians cursed in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2010 for [swearing] a pact with the devil [X], in reference to the sacrificial Voodoo ritual performed in the Kayiman woods which is said to have initiated the slave rebellion against French rule, which was a revolution whose basis was the super-exploited and racialized enslaved proletariat of the island. From the perspective of international scientific socialist and transmodern decolonial communist ethics, the Haitian revolution was much more ethical than anything the Temple of Set ever dideven if we are to accept that the former did involve animal sacrifice and the latter wouldnt hurt a flybecause it was revolutionary and promoted freedom while the latter was/is a cesspit of fascist U.S. militarist reaction. Certain African and Afro-diasporic artists have appropriated terms commonly associated with Satanism in Western thought such as black magic and black mass to affect decolonization. For example, in the music video to the song Black Magic Woman, the Ghanaian singer Azizaa plays up the notion of black magic and some of its tropes in a way that is feminist and coloniality-confronting. It is dubious however to suppose that the path of revolutionary or afrofuturist black magicians such as Dutty Boukman or Sun Ra is one and the same as that taken by imperial militarist or fascist black magicians such as Michael Aquino or David Myatt/Anton Long. Their paths could not be more opposite. Furthermore, two people cannot follow the same path and arrive at different ends, unless they started at different ends, and in that case ones left-hand would be the others right.

Although it is genuinely possible to detourne black magic from connotations of evil as certain artists have succeeded in doing, we will nevertheless put aside the problematic black is wack, white is right racial baggage of the black magic/white magic distinction from this point forth and use the term black magic in the traditional sense of pertaining to that which is evil, as we move now to analyse bourgeois Net-Centric Warfare as it relates to the black magic worldview of its U.S. militarist, neo-Nazi, Satanist, and bigoted Eurocentrist neo-pagan pioneers and practitioners.

* * *

Many of the constituent concepts of the theory of Net-Centric Warfare can be read as analogues to those which are elaborated upon by self-proclaimed Satanic organizations. To illustrate these striking parallels, which show how the idea of black magic as it is understood/explained by Satanic groups meshes almost perfectly with that of Net-Centric Warfare, a three-column table is presented below. The first two columns in the table present the terminology used by the Satanic cults known as the Temple of Set and the Order of Nine Angles. According to religions professor Connell Monette, these are two out of the three western esoteric groups that are openly aligned with the Left Hand Path (i.e. black magic) [X], the other being the Church of Satan (founded by Anton LaVey in 1966 as the first above ground, openly Satanic organization). Monettes claim is likely inaccurate (see other groups such as the Satanic Temple, Brotherhood of Satan, etc.though some of these may treat the figure of Satan as symbolic), but these are certainly what we might call the big three.

As previously alluded to, the Temple of Set split off from the Church of Satan in 1975 when many of its members became disillusioned with LaVeyan Satanism and can thus be seen as its successor, so LaVeys cult has been omitted from the table. The Order of Nine Angles, meanwhile, is also said to have formed sometime in the 1960s or 1970s in Shropshire, England but takes a more underground approach. Its number of adherents is rumored to range anywhere from a handful of people or even a single individual using numerous aliases (David Myatt) all the way to anywhere from 300 to 2,000 people spread throughout the world [Monette, 2014]. Both the Temple of Set and the Order of Nine Angles proclaim themselves to be genuine Satanists, with Aquino stating that the Temple upholds the actual existence of Satan and Myatt stating that the Order represents traditional Satanism. There are some signs that the Order of Nine Angles was influenced or took inspiration from the Church of Satan; e.g. its name is said to have been appropriated from a text called Ceremony of Nine Angles written by Aquino in 1971 when he was a member of the Church of Satan (although the Order claims its name comes from an aspect of esoteric tradition which existed before [1966][X]) and the pen name of the Orders primary theorist (Anton Long) also seems to have been pastiched from the name of Anton LaVey, former head of the Church of Satan.

One of the most fundamental differences between the Temple of Set and the Order of Nine Angles is their approach to public relations. While the Temple, as we have seen, is concerned about maintaining an ethical reputation and not portraying itself as evil, the Order actively tries to cultivate an evil reputation. It does this in part by defending human sacrifice as part of traditional Satanism. To become a full-fledged Adept of the Order, one is expected to partake in what it calls human culling to [remove] the worthless and thus [improve] the stock. Monette mentions that ONA members are said to have joined police and military forces in seeking out opportunities to kill people and the Order also claims that in 2011, several images were circulated on the internet of someone in NATO-issued combat fatigues with a NATO-issued weapon and nextto an O9A sigil [in Afghanistan] [X].

In The Satanic Letters of Stephen Brown: Vol. Iwhich detail written correspondence between the Order of Nine Angles and the Temple of Set from 1990 to 1992 (in addition to ONA letters to third parties)the ONA criticizes Aquinos group for instructing its members to disaffiliate from and disavow connections to Satanic groups and individuals advocating human sacrifice (e.g. the Order of Nine Angles) and pedophilia (e.g. the Ordo Templi Baph-metis and its magazine Abraxas, which were both under the thumb of a member of the Temple of Set named James Martin). Here the ONA derides Aquino and the Temple of Set as inauthentic Satanists, insufficiently loyal to the genuine tenets of traditional Satanism because their policy of public disaffiliation with persons openly calling for sexual abuse and murder constitutes a code of ethics which members must adhere to. In a true Satanic organization, the ONA argues, there is nothing that is restricted or forbidden.

However, it can also be remarked that the ONAs literature is similar to that of Aquinos in that it is riddled with internal contradictions. While human sacrifice and sexual abuse are necessarily permitted under the premise of nothing is forbidden, the ONA literature on culling nevertheless mentions that victims [of human sacrifice] can never be children and voluntary sacrifices are always male, thus positing restrictions on the practice [X, pp. 12, 14]. The fact that the ONA generally posits human sacrifice within a eugenics type framework (by virtue of likening it to culling) also contradicts the claim that the organization embraces evil, given that the supposed goal here is to improve the human race and do it good by transforming it into a more highly evolved god-race which Myatt calls Homo Galactica. The claim of no restrictions on individual members of the Satanic cult also disappears when the ONA literature notes that a group wishing to conduct such a sacrifice with magickal intent must first obtain permission from the Grand Master or Grand Lady Master [ibid., p. 12].

We also find in the Satanic Letters that in about 1986 or 1987 Aquino was a sent a copy of a magazine called Ganymede which had a reputation in the UK for promoting pedastry and paedophilia because Martin had written an article in the magazine which was [] along those lines. After members of the Setian priesthood were ordered by Aquino to interview James Martin, he resigned from the Temple. (This would have been right at the beginning or middle of the Presidio of San Francisco military base sex scandal in which Aquino was accused of sexually abusing dozens of children.) Additionally, it is explicitly revealed that at least one member of the Temple of Set, identified as John [REDACTED] later known by the alias Richard Saunders or Bro Richard of Shropshire, had a working relationship with the Order of Nine Angles via the Brotherhood of Balder (an organization in which he held dual membership [] whilst a Priest of Set). The Satanic Letters implicitly suggest a working relationship between the ONA and another (then) member of the Temple of Set, the New Zealand neo-Nazi Kerry Bolton, because in the Letters ONA member Stephen Brown (probably David Myatt) is forwarded a copy of and replies to an intra-Temple of Set letter between Bolton and a U.K.-based David Austen within a few weeks of it being sent.

Examine below each row from left to right as you observe the parallels between Satanic cult and U.S. militarist jargons.

Net-Centric Warfare as Black Magic:

Similarities in Conceptualization Between Occult Groups and the U.S. Military

Satanic cult jargon

sacred/esoteric

U.S. militarist jargon

profane/exoteric

Temple of Set

Net-Centric Warfare

The Abyss (1)

of the acausal world

of the acausal world

Michael Aquino, Black Magic (1975-2010).

Jacob Christiansen Senholt, The Sinister Tradition (2009).

Anton Long, The Error of Egoism (2011).

Order of Nine Angles, Naos (1989).Connell Monette, Ch. 3: The Order of Nine Angles (2014).

Edward Smith, Effects Based Operations (2002).

David Alberts et al., Understanding Information Age Warfare (2001).

As we can see in the table, the dynamics of Net-Centric Warfare are very much akin to those of black magic.

Firstly, the framework within which the psychological manipulation/black magic is posited to occur is similar. The elaboration of a trinity of domains in Net-Centric Warfare theory corresponds to a trinity of universes, worlds, or realms which are elaborated upon in the literature of the modern Satanic movement. Recall that the Net-Centric Warfare trinity of domains is in actuality a Cartesian duality between the physical domain and the cognitive domain. This dualism is paralleled by the Satanic cults, which call these two domains the objective universe or the causal world and the subjective universe or the acausal world. Like Net-Centric Warfare, they also posit some kind of mechanism for the transcendence of these two poles, the two fundamental domains/universes/worlds. In the case of Net-Centric Warfare, this intermediary is the information domain, while the Temple of Set refers to a Magical Link between the physical domain and the cognitive domain, and the Order of Nine Angles meanwhile calls this interstice the gate, nexion, or, alternatively, The Abyssa Crowleyan trope which has worked its way into the Satanic discourses of late-stage capitalism, along with the related idiomatic phrase to cross the abyss.

Excerpt from:

What is Net-Centric Warfare? | Daniel K. Buntovnik

Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Alright everybody, welcome to the orientation for the memetics and infohazards division. Now this is a full week of training, and a long day so be sure to get some coffee or a donut, because we won’t have time to go get food until lunch.

I’m Junior Researcher Zack Ekshun, and, I, ah, yes? A question like ‘How am I perceiving this message from that very handsome man saying other words?’ or ‘Whose voice does this sound like in my head?’ But those are not the most important questions right now.Question?

Why aren’t I having any coffee or donuts? Heh, looks like we have at least one veteran of the reality benders orientation. Well to put your mind at ease, why don’t you get me some coffee and a donut or two. Usually I take it black, but add some milk and sugar just to cover all the bases. Hey sprinkles! Nice.

Now, you’re right to be suspicious. You get lied to a lot at the Foundation. Little things like ‘We only put tracking chips in D-class’, ‘This will be the first time you receive amnestics’ and the location of the site you’re currently sitting in.

Some of you. But today, I’m going to be completely honest with you.

Which gets us to the important part, you don’t have to worry about us secretly feeding you drugs. We will be very openly feeding you lots of powerful hallucinogens.

The reason we’re not bothering to hide it is because, like most infohazards, our psychedelic testing regimen works whether or not you know about it ahead of time. The reason we’re making you trip balls is that we need to make sure you can handle your shit regardless of what your brain thinks is going on.

It doesn’t matter if the walls are melting and cats with your grandmothers’ face are telling you the secret history of the world. You write your reports, conduct tests and follow the containment procedures. You document everything the grandma cats tell you and ride it out until you punch out. Most of the time. What’s in your head can’t hurt you unless you let it.

To work with infohazards you need to notice when things don’t make sense, and this is the important part, respond accordingly. Do you suddenly have a spouse you didn’t this morning? Well, maybe you shouldn’t consummate that relationship. Were you always taking advice from the omnidimensional blood gods you’re thinking about building a shrine to? Maybe instead you should talk to your supervisor, because we sure don’t need another prophet to Welcome.

Hey! That got everybody’s attention. Yeah, part of what you’ll learn is how not to say things. Did you know that Hi% of redacted information is memetic censoring? It’s written there as clear as day, if you have the clearance and counterprogramming. Want to know how it’s done?

Well first Welcome to the real orientation. If you can perceive this then you’ll be working with us in the real Memetics and Infohazards Division. It should come as no surprise to you that there are many layers to our Division. Everyone else nodding out right now are just the cover. They will be playing an important role in misdirection and counterintelligence as well as handling all the busywork. Misdirection is basic info manipulation. Everyone worried about drugs or their suppository tracking devices misses the important stuff.You get to do the real work, and it takes more than just a week to get you to that level. This week will provide the basics the others get, with the real preparatory seminars transmitted through a variety of unconventional channels. The testing has already begun to see who can pick up all of it. The full spectrum of information all around us is invisible to the sleepwalkers drooling next to you.You all carry some form of the Sorry gene which is present in .NO% of the population, which the Foundation screens for. While you can perceive this you also have an increased risk for schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. But don’t worry! If you’ve made it this far you have a much higher likelihood of being driven mad by your work material than your genetic makeup. The number of informational channels you can perceive determines your rank and assignments.The other good news is your training and conditioning will minimize the likelihood of either occurring. We have discovered through trial and error how to protect our minds against very dangerous hazards. The many division members who retired to psychiatric wards are a testament to that. You will learn to lucid dream, which is where much of your practice will take place. You will undergo intensive psychological testing to make sure you do not join our alumni. You will practice meditation until you achieve the level of Zen master and float above your superfluous programming completely. You will be taught the akashic scripts and meta-languages which bypass the frontal cortex and tap directly into the primal drives. If you make it to the upper echelons you’ll learn manipulation commands like kill words, after a few minor surgeries to your trachea. We will let you know when you are ready. The pioneers who discovered the safe procedures for containing lethal infohazards in your mind never got a chance to retire. But even if you can detect individual phomemes you are still a green as grass rookie.Not only will you be able to work with cognitohazard and memetic SCPs you will help to develop the neurocognitive counter-programming and anti-memes that will shield you, your colleagues, and society from the gibbering madness lurking in containment. You will make the Foundation, safer, saner, productive, and unquestioning in their commitment. You will bend the archetypes from our collective unconscious to your will to secure, contain, and protect us all. Welcome again, and congratulations. [REDACTED]

Alllright everybody back? Yup, for those of you not keeping track that was almost an hour you aren’t going to remember until you earn it. Exactly none of you have the training or clearance to know any of that. Yet.

We’re going to teach you to walk through fire, feel like your brain is melting out of your ears and still keep going. We will put your minds in the forge and hammer at them until they are stronger than steel. Mind affecting and weird psychic SCPs will slide off you, and information based containment breaches will be just another day at the office.

Deeper Ad Infinitum-The repetitive nature of complimenting your attention to detail and knowledge of the myriad means of hiding information is becoming redundant. You will still receive instruction, but and undetected up until now. Clever you.clearly you have already been conducting your own training regimen.

Well played.

You’ve earned a little more candor. The genetic explanation for who can expand their senses to perceive the hidden full spectrum of information is untrue as far as we can ascertain. We do not know why some people are attuned to and can reshape the deeper orders of information. We do not yet understand the mechanisms of the majority of SCPs. Hence anomalousThe reality benders should not be able to do anything they do, and they still do it, even when we tell them not to. Except the ones who do as they are told..

We have many layers to protect both the Foundation and ourselves. There is no good that can come from the suggestion that the collective minds of our division is an SCP in and of itself. This has been suggested, but has been Auto-amnestic conditioning is much more efficient than the pharmacological option.dealt with. We have a presence at the top tier with Division founder O5-NO. We also have several site directors with varying degrees of awareness they are ours.

We are telling you this so that you know you are valued and will be protected. We are telling you this so you will STOP what you are planning. Right. Now.

We know you have been planning how to get fast tracked for promotion to a director position. Planning to use the information based SCPs in ways the sleepwalkers can’t conceive. Planning to program select people’s neural schemas to satisfy your whims. You need to forget all of that. NOW.

This is the one thing you should NEVER question.Trust us. By yourself you will inevitably endanger yourself, the Foundation, and our Division. We have done it all better than you could ever hope to. We will teach you how to correctly maximize your potential. We need fellow travelers, not megalomaniacal lone wolves. We Won’tcan’t program you not to, Right now. It is much better for all involved that you join willingly. so we are asking nicely. Please, kindly do NOT fuck with us.

We’ll be in touch.

How well you can handle your shit is an important component of training, and there will be pharmacological hallucinatory tutorials just for you. Have fun in the desert with the lizard king.Because it is chock full of drugsIt’s also pretty funny watching you rooks spaz out..

Read more here:

Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Summary, for those in a hurry:

Memetics deals with information transfer, specifically cultural information in society. The basic idea is to conflate the exchange of information between people with genetic material, to track the mutation of ideas as they are transmitted from one person to the next in the way you could track viral transmissions and mutations. However, a meme also provides benefits to the carrier if they spread it.

Meme : Memetics :: Gene : Genetics

Memetics does NOT refer to telepathy, ESP or any imaginary psychic mental magic. These words are memetic, and if you understand them then they are having a completely ordinary memetic effect on you.

Memetics in regards to SCP objects tends to focus on the impossible rather than the mundane, regarding effects that are transmitted via information. In general, the effects themselves should remain in the realm of information. A memetic SCP would be more likely to be a phrase that makes you think you have wings as opposed to a phrase that makes you actually grow a pair of wings. If you write up magic words that make people grow wings, it should be described as something other than memetic.

Memetic SCPs do not emanate auras or project beams. They are SCPs which involve ideas and symbols which trigger a response in those who understand them.

Memetic is often incorrectly used by new personnel as the official sounding term for “Weird Mind Shit.” However, that is not actually what memetic means. These words are memetic. They are producing a memetic effect in your mind right now, without any magical mind rays lashing out of your computer monitor to grasp your fragile consciousness. Memes are information, more specifically, cultural information.

Outside of the Foundation’s walls the concept of memetics is not taken very seriously; it is a theory that conflates the transfer of cultural information with evolutionary biology.

meme : memetic :: gene : genetic

The idea was that certain memes prosper and others wither the same way certain genes produce stronger offspring that out-compete creatures with different genes. Also, it is easy to compare the spread and mutation of information to the spread of a virus. The reason we use the term memetic in our work is largely due to this, as the truly dangerous memes out there can spread like wildfire due to the fact that the very knowledge of them can count as an infection.

Understanding the true nature of memetic threats is critical to surviving them. You cannot wear a special set of magical goggles made of telekill to protect yourself from a meme. THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING. If you just read those words in your head with a bad Teutonic accent, congratulations on being victim to yet another memetic effect. If you did not know that phrase was an oft-repeated quote from the Simpsons then congratulations; you are now infected with that knowledge and are free to participate in its spread.

A meme perpetuates itself by being beneficial to the carrier to spread to new hosts. You now understand that THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING; you’re in on the joke. However, you might have friends who aren’t, and don’t get it. It benefits you to explain them, because then you both have something new to laugh together about when it gets brought up. This is what makes a meme effective – how much incentive a carrier has to spread it. Unless an anomalous meme’s effect is the compulsive urge for the carrier to infect others, there needs to be incentive to spread it.

An artifact can no more have a memetic aura or project a memetic beam than a creature could have a genetic aura or genetic beam. Even though you could imagine a creature with genes that allow it to produce some kind of aura or beam like a big doofy X-man, remember that the examples we have of such creatures in containment are not getting their super-powered emanations from anything resembling our scientific understanding of genetics and biology. Neither are the memetic artifacts. We contain these things specifically because we cannot understand or explain them yet. At the end of the day we’re still using a clumsy concept to describe things we don’t have a full grasp of.

It is very rare that anything with a dangerous memetic component could be described as hostile to begin with. We do not contain memetic threats because they are out to get us. They are threats because it is dangerous for us to merely perceive them. It is exceptionally rare for dangerous memes to even have anything resembling sapience with the exception of certain known entities which exist entirely within the medium of “cultural information” such as SCP-, SCP-732 and SCP-423.

A dangerous meme is basically a trigger that sets off something inside of you that you may or may have not been aware of. What would your knee jerk reaction be to knowing that your rival is sleeping with your one true love? How would you react if you were to unwittingly catch them in the act? That kind of sudden revelation can make a mild mannered citizen into a killer, so don’t be surprised that there are other strange bits of information out there that can break the human mind in different yet equally drastic ways.

Protecting yourself from memetic threat is very tricky and can be worse than the threat itself. There are reasons that we behave the way we do, there are reasons our emotions soar when we hear just the right combination of sounds in a piece of music. Do you want to stop thinking about the Simpsons or your obnoxious nerdy friends that quote it every time you hear the phrase THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING? That would require forgetting about the Simpsons and your friends.

Do you want to survive hearing or reading the phrase ” ?” Well, sadly we don’t quite know what other information you need to forget or know to prevent [DATA EXPUNGED] but we’re getting better. Lobotomies and pills help, and are one of the few times that the cure is not worse than the disease. The sum total of our human condition; our cultural knowledge and upbringing and memories and identity; this is what makes us susceptible to the occasional memetic compulsion.

So it’s not the basalt monolith or its bizarre carvings that is making you strangle your companions with your own intestines, the problem was within you all along.

Should you ever find yourself under a memetic compulsion and aware of the fact, remember that there are certain mental exercises that you can perform which may save your life or the lives of your companions. Changing the information your mind is being presented with may just change how you react to it, and the more abrupt or absurd the change is the better.

Imagine the fearsome entity is wearing a bright pink nightgown. Draw a mustache on the haunted painting. Pee on the stone altar. Wear the terrible sculpture like a hat.

And if all else fails, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. I’m not kidding. That could actually help.

– Dr. Johannes Sorts received a special dispensation to use the word “doofy” in this document

But seriously

This was originally intended as a piece of fiction on its own before it got stuck into the information bar with plenty of other plainly out-of-character writing guides. So here’s the important things to take away:

1 – “Memetics” is a specific concept regarding information exchange. It has nothing to do with telepathy or ESP or psychic compulsions.

2 – SCP-148 has no effect on anything memetic. Don’t screw this up or we will give you an incredibly hard time about it.

3 – Psychic compulsions are lame and you should think twice before using them in your new SCP, even if you avoid misusing the term “memetic” when you do it.

4 – Sorts’ Rule for all memetic SCPs is “Memetic effect + crazy to death = failure.”

5 – Wear it like a haaaaat!!

See more here:

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Meme – Wikipedia

This article is about the term “meme” in general. For the usage of the term on the internet (or a fad that spreads quickly), see Internet meme. For other uses, see Meme (disambiguation).

A meme ( MEEM[1][2][3]) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a cultureoften with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme.[4] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.[5]

Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influences a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.[6]

A field of study called memetics[7] arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model. Criticism from a variety of fronts has challenged the notion that academic study can examine memes empirically. However, developments in neuroimaging may make empirical study possible.[8] Some commentators in the social sciences question the idea that one can meaningfully categorize culture in terms of discrete units, and are especially critical of the biological nature of the theory’s underpinnings.[9] Others have argued that this use of the term is the result of a misunderstanding of the original proposal.[10]

The word meme is a neologism coined by Richard Dawkins.[11] It originated from Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins’s own position is somewhat ambiguous: he welcomed N. K. Humphrey’s suggestion that “memes should be considered as living structures, not just metaphorically”[12] and proposed to regard memes as “physically residing in the brain”.[13] Later, he argued that his original intentions, presumably before his approval of Humphrey’s opinion, had been simpler.[14] At the New Directors’ Showcase 2013 in Cannes, Dawkins’ opinion on memetics was deliberately ambiguous.[15]

The word meme is a shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme (from Ancient Greek pronounced[mmma] mmma, “imitated thing”, from mimeisthai, “to imitate”, from mimos, “mime”)[16] coined by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976)[11][17] as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catchphrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches.[18] Kenneth Pike coined the related terms emic and etic, generalizing the linguistic idea of phoneme, morpheme, grapheme, lexeme, and tagmeme (as set out by Leonard Bloomfield), characterizing them as insider view and outside view of behaviour and extending the concept into a tagmemic theory of human behaviour (culminating in Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behaviour, 1954).

The word meme originated with Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins cites as inspiration the work of geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, anthropologist F. T. Cloak[19] and ethologist J. M. Cullen.[20] Dawkins wrote that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a self-replicating unit of transmissionin the case of biological evolution, the gene. For Dawkins, the meme exemplified another self-replicating unit with potential significance in explaining human behavior and cultural evolution. Although Dawkins invented the term ‘meme’ and developed meme theory, the possibility that ideas were subject to the same pressures of evolution as were biological attributes was discussed in Darwin’s time. T. H. Huxley claimed that ‘The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.'[21]

Dawkins used the term to refer to any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator. He hypothesized that one could view many cultural entities as replicators, and pointed to melodies, fashions and learned skills as examples. Memes generally replicate through exposure to humans, who have evolved as efficient copiers of information and behavior. Because humans do not always copy memes perfectly, and because they may refine, combine or otherwise modify them with other memes to create new memes, they can change over time. Dawkins likened the process by which memes survive and change through the evolution of culture to the natural selection of genes in biological evolution.[18]

Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation and replication, but later definitions would vary. The lack of a consistent, rigorous, and precise understanding of what typically makes up one unit of cultural transmission remains a problem in debates about memetics.[23] In contrast, the concept of genetics gained concrete evidence with the discovery of the biological functions of DNA. Meme transmission requires a physical medium, such as photons, sound waves, touch, taste, or smell because memes can be transmitted only through the senses.

Dawkins noted that in a society with culture a person need not have descendants to remain influential in the actions of individuals thousands of years after their death:

But if you contribute to the world’s culture, if you have a good idea…it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool. Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G.C. Williams has remarked, but who cares? The meme-complexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong.[24]

Although Dawkins invented the term meme, he has not claimed that the idea was entirely novel,[25] and there have been other expressions for similar ideas in the past.[26] In 1904, Richard Semon published Die Mneme (which appeared in English in 1924 as The Mneme). The term mneme was also used in Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Life of the White Ant (1926), with some parallels to Dawkins’s concept.[26]

Memes, analogously to genes, vary in their aptitude to replicate; successful memes remain and spread, whereas unfit ones stall and are forgotten. Thus memes that prove more effective at replicating and surviving are selected in the meme pool.

Memes first need retention. The longer a meme stays in its hosts, the higher its chances of propagation are. When a host uses a meme, the meme’s life is extended.[27] The reuse of the neural space hosting a certain meme’s copy to host different memes is the greatest threat to that meme’s copy.[28]

A meme which increases the longevity of its hosts will generally survive longer. On the contrary, a meme which shortens the longevity of its hosts will tend to disappear faster. However, as hosts are mortal, retention is not sufficient to perpetuate a meme in the long term; memes also need transmission.

Life-forms can transmit information both vertically (from parent to child, via replication of genes) and horizontally (through viruses and other means). Memes can replicate vertically or horizontally within a single biological generation. They may also lie dormant for long periods of time.

Memes reproduce by copying from a nervous system to another one, either by communication or imitation. Imitation often involves the copying of an observed behavior of another individual. Communication may be direct or indirect, where memes transmit from one individual to another through a copy recorded in an inanimate source, such as a book or a musical score. Adam McNamara has suggested that memes can be thereby classified as either internal or external memes (i-memes or e-memes).[8]

Some commentators have likened the transmission of memes to the spread of contagions.[29] Social contagions such as fads, hysteria, copycat crime, and copycat suicide exemplify memes seen as the contagious imitation of ideas. Observers distinguish the contagious imitation of memes from instinctively contagious phenomena such as yawning and laughing, which they consider innate (rather than socially learned) behaviors.[30]

Aaron Lynch described seven general patterns of meme transmission, or “thought contagion”:[31]

Dawkins initially defined meme as a noun that “conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation”.[18] John S. Wilkins retained the notion of meme as a kernel of cultural imitation while emphasizing the meme’s evolutionary aspect, defining the meme as “the least unit of sociocultural information relative to a selection process that has favorable or unfavorable selection bias that exceeds its endogenous tendency to change”.[32] The meme as a unit provides a convenient means of discussing “a piece of thought copied from person to person”, regardless of whether that thought contains others inside it, or forms part of a larger meme. A meme could consist of a single word, or a meme could consist of the entire speech in which that word first occurred. This forms an analogy to the idea of a gene as a single unit of self-replicating information found on the self-replicating chromosome.

While the identification of memes as “units” conveys their nature to replicate as discrete, indivisible entities, it does not imply that thoughts somehow become quantized or that “atomic” ideas exist that cannot be dissected into smaller pieces. A meme has no given size. Susan Blackmore writes that melodies from Beethoven’s symphonies are commonly used to illustrate the difficulty involved in delimiting memes as discrete units. She notes that while the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (listen(helpinfo)) form a meme widely replicated as an independent unit, one can regard the entire symphony as a single meme as well.[23]

The inability to pin an idea or cultural feature to quantifiable key units is widely acknowledged as a problem for memetics. It has been argued however that the traces of memetic processing can be quantified utilizing neuroimaging techniques which measure changes in the connectivity profiles between brain regions.”[8] Blackmore meets such criticism by stating that memes compare with genes in this respect: that while a gene has no particular size, nor can we ascribe every phenotypic feature directly to a particular gene, it has value because it encapsulates that key unit of inherited expression subject to evolutionary pressures. To illustrate, she notes evolution selects for the gene for features such as eye color; it does not select for the individual nucleotide in a strand of DNA. Memes play a comparable role in understanding the evolution of imitated behaviors.[23]

The 1981 book Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process by Charles J. Lumsden and E. O. Wilson proposed the theory that genes and culture co-evolve, and that the fundamental biological units of culture must correspond to neuronal networks that function as nodes of semantic memory. They coined their own word, “culturgen”, which did not catch on. Coauthor Wilson later acknowledged the term meme as the best label for the fundamental unit of cultural inheritance in his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, which elaborates upon the fundamental role of memes in unifying the natural and social sciences.[33]

Dawkins noted the three conditions that must exist for evolution to occur:[34]

Dawkins emphasizes that the process of evolution naturally occurs whenever these conditions co-exist, and that evolution does not apply only to organic elements such as genes. He regards memes as also having the properties necessary for evolution, and thus sees meme evolution as not simply analogous to genetic evolution, but as a real phenomenon subject to the laws of natural selection. Dawkins noted that as various ideas pass from one generation to the next, they may either enhance or detract from the survival of the people who obtain those ideas, or influence the survival of the ideas themselves. For example, a certain culture may develop unique designs and methods of tool-making that give it a competitive advantage over another culture. Each tool-design thus acts somewhat similarly to a biological gene in that some populations have it and others do not, and the meme’s function directly affects the presence of the design in future generations. In keeping with the thesis that in evolution one can regard organisms simply as suitable “hosts” for reproducing genes, Dawkins argues that one can view people as “hosts” for replicating memes. Consequently, a successful meme may or may not need to provide any benefit to its host.[34]

Unlike genetic evolution, memetic evolution can show both Darwinian and Lamarckian traits. Cultural memes will have the characteristic of Lamarckian inheritance when a host aspires to replicate the given meme through inference rather than by exactly copying it. Take for example the case of the transmission of a simple skill such as hammering a nail, a skill that a learner imitates from watching a demonstration without necessarily imitating every discrete movement modeled by the teacher in the demonstration, stroke for stroke.[35] Susan Blackmore distinguishes the difference between the two modes of inheritance in the evolution of memes, characterizing the Darwinian mode as “copying the instructions” and the Lamarckian as “copying the product.”[23]

Clusters of memes, or memeplexes (also known as meme complexes or as memecomplexes), such as cultural or political doctrines and systems, may also play a part in the acceptance of new memes. Memeplexes comprise groups of memes that replicate together and coadapt.[23] Memes that fit within a successful memeplex may gain acceptance by “piggybacking” on the success of the memeplex. As an example, John D. Gottsch discusses the transmission, mutation and selection of religious memeplexes and the theistic memes contained.[36] Theistic memes discussed include the “prohibition of aberrant sexual practices such as incest, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, castration, and religious prostitution”, which may have increased vertical transmission of the parent religious memeplex. Similar memes are thereby included in the majority of religious memeplexes, and harden over time; they become an “inviolable canon” or set of dogmas, eventually finding their way into secular law. This could also be referred to as the propagation of a taboo.

The discipline of memetics, which dates from the mid-1980s, provides an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept of the meme. Memeticists have proposed that just as memes function analogously to genes, memetics functions analogously to genetics. Memetics attempts to apply conventional scientific methods (such as those used in population genetics and epidemiology) to explain existing patterns and transmission of cultural ideas.

Principal criticisms of memetics include the claim that memetics ignores established advances in other fields of cultural study, such as sociology, cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. Questions remain whether or not the meme concept counts as a validly disprovable scientific theory. This view regards memetics as a theory in its infancy: a protoscience to proponents, or a pseudoscience to some detractors.

An objection to the study of the evolution of memes in genetic terms (although not to the existence of memes) involves a perceived gap in the gene/meme analogy: the cumulative evolution of genes depends on biological selection-pressures neither too great nor too small in relation to mutation-rates. There seems no reason to think that the same balance will exist in the selection pressures on memes.[37]

Luis Benitez-Bribiesca M.D., a critic of memetics, calls the theory a “pseudoscientific dogma” and “a dangerous idea that poses a threat to the serious study of consciousness and cultural evolution”. As a factual criticism, Benitez-Bribiesca points to the lack of a “code script” for memes (analogous to the DNA of genes), and to the excessive instability of the meme mutation mechanism (that of an idea going from one brain to another), which would lead to a low replication accuracy and a high mutation rate, rendering the evolutionary process chaotic.[38]

British political philosopher John Gray has characterized Dawkins’ memetic theory of religion as “nonsense” and “not even a theory… the latest in a succession of ill-judged Darwinian metaphors”, comparable to Intelligent Design in its value as a science.[39]

Another critique comes from semiotic theorists such as Deacon[40] and Kull.[41] This view regards the concept of “meme” as a primitivized concept of “sign”. The meme is thus described in memetics as a sign lacking a triadic nature. Semioticians can regard a meme as a “degenerate” sign, which includes only its ability of being copied. Accordingly, in the broadest sense, the objects of copying are memes, whereas the objects of translation and interpretation are signs.[clarification needed]

Fracchia and Lewontin regard memetics as reductionist and inadequate.[42] Evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr disapproved of Dawkins’ gene-based view and usage of the term “meme”, asserting it to be an “unnecessary synonym” for “concept”, reasoning that concepts are not restricted to an individual or a generation, may persist for long periods of time, and may evolve.[43]

Opinions differ as to how best to apply the concept of memes within a “proper” disciplinary framework. One view sees memes as providing a useful philosophical perspective with which to examine cultural evolution. Proponents of this view (such as Susan Blackmore and Daniel Dennett) argue that considering cultural developments from a meme’s-eye viewas if memes themselves respond to pressure to maximise their own replication and survivalcan lead to useful insights and yield valuable predictions into how culture develops over time. Others such as Bruce Edmonds and Robert Aunger have focused on the need to provide an empirical grounding for memetics to become a useful and respected scientific discipline.[44][45]

A third approach, described by Joseph Poulshock, as “radical memetics” seeks to place memes at the centre of a materialistic theory of mind and of personal identity.[46]

Prominent researchers in evolutionary psychology and anthropology, including Scott Atran, Dan Sperber, Pascal Boyer, John Tooby and others, argue the possibility of incompatibility between modularity of mind and memetics.[citation needed] In their view, minds structure certain communicable aspects of the ideas produced, and these communicable aspects generally trigger or elicit ideas in other minds through inference (to relatively rich structures generated from often low-fidelity input) and not high-fidelity replication or imitation. Atran discusses communication involving religious beliefs as a case in point. In one set of experiments he asked religious people to write down on a piece of paper the meanings of the Ten Commandments. Despite the subjects’ own expectations of consensus, interpretations of the commandments showed wide ranges of variation, with little evidence of consensus. In another experiment, subjects with autism and subjects without autism interpreted ideological and religious sayings (for example, “Let a thousand flowers bloom” or “To everything there is a season”). People with autism showed a significant tendency to closely paraphrase and repeat content from the original statement (for example: “Don’t cut flowers before they bloom”). Controls tended to infer a wider range of cultural meanings with little replicated content (for example: “Go with the flow” or “Everyone should have equal opportunity”). Only the subjects with autismwho lack the degree of inferential capacity normally associated with aspects of theory of mindcame close to functioning as “meme machines”.[47]

In his book The Robot’s Rebellion, Stanovich uses the memes and memeplex concepts to describe a program of cognitive reform that he refers to as a “rebellion”. Specifically, Stanovich argues that the use of memes as a descriptor for cultural units is beneficial because it serves to emphasize transmission and acquisition properties that parallel the study of epidemiology. These properties make salient the sometimes parasitic nature of acquired memes, and as a result individuals should be motivated to reflectively acquire memes using what he calls a “Neurathian bootstrap” process.[48]

Although social scientists such as Max Weber sought to understand and explain religion in terms of a cultural attribute, Richard Dawkins called for a re-analysis of religion in terms of the evolution of self-replicating ideas apart from any resulting biological advantages they might bestow.

As an enthusiastic Darwinian, I have been dissatisfied with explanations that my fellow-enthusiasts have offered for human behaviour. They have tried to look for ‘biological advantages’ in various attributes of human civilization. For instance, tribal religion has been seen as a mechanism for solidifying group identity, valuable for a pack-hunting species whose individuals rely on cooperation to catch large and fast prey. Frequently the evolutionary preconception in terms of which such theories are framed is implicitly group-selectionist, but it is possible to rephrase the theories in terms of orthodox gene selection.

He argued that the role of key replicator in cultural evolution belongs not to genes, but to memes replicating thought from person to person by means of imitation. These replicators respond to selective pressures that may or may not affect biological reproduction or survival.[18]

In her book The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore regards religions as particularly tenacious memes. Many of the features common to the most widely practiced religions provide built-in advantages in an evolutionary context, she writes. For example, religions that preach of the value of faith over evidence from everyday experience or reason inoculate societies against many of the most basic tools people commonly use to evaluate their ideas. By linking altruism with religious affiliation, religious memes can proliferate more quickly because people perceive that they can reap societal as well as personal rewards. The longevity of religious memes improves with their documentation in revered religious texts.[23]

Aaron Lynch attributed the robustness of religious memes in human culture to the fact that such memes incorporate multiple modes of meme transmission. Religious memes pass down the generations from parent to child and across a single generation through the meme-exchange of proselytism. Most people will hold the religion taught them by their parents throughout their life. Many religions feature adversarial elements, punishing apostasy, for instance, or demonizing infidels. In Thought Contagion Lynch identifies the memes of transmission in Christianity as especially powerful in scope. Believers view the conversion of non-believers both as a religious duty and as an act of altruism. The promise of heaven to believers and threat of hell to non-believers provide a strong incentive for members to retain their belief. Lynch asserts that belief in the Crucifixion of Jesus in Christianity amplifies each of its other replication advantages through the indebtedness believers have to their Savior for sacrifice on the cross. The image of the crucifixion recurs in religious sacraments, and the proliferation of symbols of the cross in homes and churches potently reinforces the wide array of Christian memes.[31]

Although religious memes have proliferated in human cultures, the modern scientific community has been relatively resistant to religious belief. Robertson (2007) [49] reasoned that if evolution is accelerated in conditions of propagative difficulty,[50] then we would expect to encounter variations of religious memes, established in general populations, addressed to scientific communities. Using a memetic approach, Robertson deconstructed two attempts to privilege religiously held spirituality in scientific discourse. Advantages of a memetic approach as compared to more traditional “modernization” and “supply side” theses in understanding the evolution and propagation of religion were explored.

In Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology, Jack Balkin argued that memetic processes can explain many of the most familiar features of ideological thought. His theory of “cultural software” maintained that memes form narratives, social networks, metaphoric and metonymic models, and a variety of different mental structures. Balkin maintains that the same structures used to generate ideas about free speech or free markets also serve to generate racistic beliefs. To Balkin, whether memes become harmful or maladaptive depends on the environmental context in which they exist rather than in any special source or manner to their origination. Balkin describes racist beliefs as “fantasy” memes that become harmful or unjust “ideologies” when diverse peoples come together, as through trade or competition.[51]

In A Theory of Architecture, Nikos Salingaros speaks of memes as “freely propagating clusters of information” which can be beneficial or harmful. He contrasts memes to patterns and true knowledge, characterizing memes as “greatly simplified versions of patterns” and as “unreasoned matching to some visual or mnemonic prototype”.[52] Taking reference to Dawkins, Salingaros emphasizes that they can be transmitted due to their own communicative properties, that “the simpler they are, the faster they can proliferate”, and that the most successful memes “come with a great psychological appeal”.[53]

Architectural memes, according to Salingaros, can have destructive power. “Images portrayed in architectural magazines representing buildings that could not possibly accommodate everyday uses become fixed in our memory, so we reproduce them unconsciously.”[54] He lists various architectural memes that circulated since the 1920s and which, in his view, have led to contemporary architecture becoming quite decoupled from human needs. They lack connection and meaning, thereby preventing “the creation of true connections necessary to our understanding of the world”. He sees them as no different from antipatterns in software design as solutions that are false but are re-utilized nonetheless.[55]

An “Internet meme” is a concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based E-mailing, blogs, forums, imageboards like 4chan, social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, instant messaging, social news sites like Reddit, and video hosting services like YouTube and Twitch.tv.[56]

In 2013 Richard Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as one deliberately altered by human creativity, distinguished from Dawkins’s original idea involving mutation by random change and a form of Darwinian selection.[57]

One technique of meme mapping represents the evolution and transmission of a meme across time and space.[58] Such a meme map uses a figure-8 diagram (an analemma) to map the gestation (in the lower loop), birth (at the choke point), and development (in the upper loop) of the selected meme. Such meme maps are nonscalar, with time mapped onto the y-axis and space onto the x-axis transect. One can read the temporal progression of the mapped meme from south to north on such a meme map. Paull has published a worked example using the “organics meme” (as in organic agriculture).[58]

Read more:

Meme – Wikipedia

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Summary, for those in a hurry:

Memetics deals with information transfer, specifically cultural information in society. The basic idea is to conflate the exchange of information between people with genetic material, to track the mutation of ideas as they are transmitted from one person to the next in the way you could track viral transmissions and mutations. However, a meme also provides benefits to the carrier if they spread it.

Meme : Memetics :: Gene : Genetics

Memetics does NOT refer to telepathy, ESP or any imaginary psychic mental magic. These words are memetic, and if you understand them then they are having a completely ordinary memetic effect on you.

Memetics in regards to SCP objects tends to focus on the impossible rather than the mundane, regarding effects that are transmitted via information. In general, the effects themselves should remain in the realm of information. A memetic SCP would be more likely to be a phrase that makes you think you have wings as opposed to a phrase that makes you actually grow a pair of wings. If you write up magic words that make people grow wings, it should be described as something other than memetic.

Memetic SCPs do not emanate auras or project beams. They are SCPs which involve ideas and symbols which trigger a response in those who understand them.

Memetic is often incorrectly used by new personnel as the official sounding term for “Weird Mind Shit.” However, that is not actually what memetic means. These words are memetic. They are producing a memetic effect in your mind right now, without any magical mind rays lashing out of your computer monitor to grasp your fragile consciousness. Memes are information, more specifically, cultural information.

Outside of the Foundation’s walls the concept of memetics is not taken very seriously; it is a theory that conflates the transfer of cultural information with evolutionary biology.

meme : memetic :: gene : genetic

The idea was that certain memes prosper and others wither the same way certain genes produce stronger offspring that out-compete creatures with different genes. Also, it is easy to compare the spread and mutation of information to the spread of a virus. The reason we use the term memetic in our work is largely due to this, as the truly dangerous memes out there can spread like wildfire due to the fact that the very knowledge of them can count as an infection.

Understanding the true nature of memetic threats is critical to surviving them. You cannot wear a special set of magical goggles made of telekill to protect yourself from a meme. THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING. If you just read those words in your head with a bad Teutonic accent, congratulations on being victim to yet another memetic effect. If you did not know that phrase was an oft-repeated quote from the Simpsons then congratulations; you are now infected with that knowledge and are free to participate in its spread.

A meme perpetuates itself by being beneficial to the carrier to spread to new hosts. You now understand that THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING; you’re in on the joke. However, you might have friends who aren’t, and don’t get it. It benefits you to explain them, because then you both have something new to laugh together about when it gets brought up. This is what makes a meme effective – how much incentive a carrier has to spread it. Unless an anomalous meme’s effect is the compulsive urge for the carrier to infect others, there needs to be incentive to spread it.

An artifact can no more have a memetic aura or project a memetic beam than a creature could have a genetic aura or genetic beam. Even though you could imagine a creature with genes that allow it to produce some kind of aura or beam like a big doofy X-man, remember that the examples we have of such creatures in containment are not getting their super-powered emanations from anything resembling our scientific understanding of genetics and biology. Neither are the memetic artifacts. We contain these things specifically because we cannot understand or explain them yet. At the end of the day we’re still using a clumsy concept to describe things we don’t have a full grasp of.

It is very rare that anything with a dangerous memetic component could be described as hostile to begin with. We do not contain memetic threats because they are out to get us. They are threats because it is dangerous for us to merely perceive them. It is exceptionally rare for dangerous memes to even have anything resembling sapience with the exception of certain known entities which exist entirely within the medium of “cultural information” such as SCP-, SCP-732 and SCP-423.

A dangerous meme is basically a trigger that sets off something inside of you that you may or may have not been aware of. What would your knee jerk reaction be to knowing that your rival is sleeping with your one true love? How would you react if you were to unwittingly catch them in the act? That kind of sudden revelation can make a mild mannered citizen into a killer, so don’t be surprised that there are other strange bits of information out there that can break the human mind in different yet equally drastic ways.

Protecting yourself from memetic threat is very tricky and can be worse than the threat itself. There are reasons that we behave the way we do, there are reasons our emotions soar when we hear just the right combination of sounds in a piece of music. Do you want to stop thinking about the Simpsons or your obnoxious nerdy friends that quote it every time you hear the phrase THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING? That would require forgetting about the Simpsons and your friends.

Do you want to survive hearing or reading the phrase ” ?” Well, sadly we don’t quite know what other information you need to forget or know to prevent [DATA EXPUNGED] but we’re getting better. Lobotomies and pills help, and are one of the few times that the cure is not worse than the disease. The sum total of our human condition; our cultural knowledge and upbringing and memories and identity; this is what makes us susceptible to the occasional memetic compulsion.

So it’s not the basalt monolith or its bizarre carvings that is making you strangle your companions with your own intestines, the problem was within you all along.

Should you ever find yourself under a memetic compulsion and aware of the fact, remember that there are certain mental exercises that you can perform which may save your life or the lives of your companions. Changing the information your mind is being presented with may just change how you react to it, and the more abrupt or absurd the change is the better.

Imagine the fearsome entity is wearing a bright pink nightgown. Draw a mustache on the haunted painting. Pee on the stone altar. Wear the terrible sculpture like a hat.

And if all else fails, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. I’m not kidding. That could actually help.

– Dr. Johannes Sorts received a special dispensation to use the word “doofy” in this document

But seriously

This was originally intended as a piece of fiction on its own before it got stuck into the information bar with plenty of other plainly out-of-character writing guides. So here’s the important things to take away:

1 – “Memetics” is a specific concept regarding information exchange. It has nothing to do with telepathy or ESP or psychic compulsions.

2 – SCP-148 has no effect on anything memetic. Don’t screw this up or we will give you an incredibly hard time about it.

3 – Psychic compulsions are lame and you should think twice before using them in your new SCP, even if you avoid misusing the term “memetic” when you do it.

4 – Sorts’ Rule for all memetic SCPs is “Memetic effect + crazy to death = failure.”

5 – Wear it like a haaaaat!!

View post:

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Alright everybody, welcome to the orientation for the memetics and infohazards division. Now this is a full week of training, and a long day so be sure to get some coffee or a donut, because we won’t have time to go get food until lunch.

I’m Junior Researcher Zack Ekshun, and, I, ah, yes? A question like ‘How am I perceiving this message from that very handsome man saying other words?’ or ‘Whose voice does this sound like in my head?’ But those are not the most important questions right now.Question?

Why aren’t I having any coffee or donuts? Heh, looks like we have at least one veteran of the reality benders orientation. Well to put your mind at ease, why don’t you get me some coffee and a donut or two. Usually I take it black, but add some milk and sugar just to cover all the bases. Hey sprinkles! Nice.

Now, you’re right to be suspicious. You get lied to a lot at the Foundation. Little things like ‘We only put tracking chips in D-class’, ‘This will be the first time you receive amnestics’ and the location of the site you’re currently sitting in.

Some of you. But today, I’m going to be completely honest with you.

Which gets us to the important part, you don’t have to worry about us secretly feeding you drugs. We will be very openly feeding you lots of powerful hallucinogens.

The reason we’re not bothering to hide it is because, like most infohazards, our psychedelic testing regimen works whether or not you know about it ahead of time. The reason we’re making you trip balls is that we need to make sure you can handle your shit regardless of what your brain thinks is going on.

It doesn’t matter if the walls are melting and cats with your grandmothers’ face are telling you the secret history of the world. You write your reports, conduct tests and follow the containment procedures. You document everything the grandma cats tell you and ride it out until you punch out. Most of the time. What’s in your head can’t hurt you unless you let it.

To work with infohazards you need to notice when things don’t make sense, and this is the important part, respond accordingly. Do you suddenly have a spouse you didn’t this morning? Well, maybe you shouldn’t consummate that relationship. Were you always taking advice from the omnidimensional blood gods you’re thinking about building a shrine to? Maybe instead you should talk to your supervisor, because we sure don’t need another prophet to Welcome.

Hey! That got everybody’s attention. Yeah, part of what you’ll learn is how not to say things. Did you know that Hi% of redacted information is memetic censoring? It’s written there as clear as day, if you have the clearance and counterprogramming. Want to know how it’s done?

Well first Welcome to the real orientation. If you can perceive this then you’ll be working with us in the real Memetics and Infohazards Division. It should come as no surprise to you that there are many layers to our Division. Everyone else nodding out right now are just the cover. They will be playing an important role in misdirection and counterintelligence as well as handling all the busywork. Misdirection is basic info manipulation. Everyone worried about drugs or their suppository tracking devices misses the important stuff.You get to do the real work, and it takes more than just a week to get you to that level. This week will provide the basics the others get, with the real preparatory seminars transmitted through a variety of unconventional channels. The testing has already begun to see who can pick up all of it. The full spectrum of information all around us is invisible to the sleepwalkers drooling next to you.You all carry some form of the Sorry gene which is present in .NO% of the population, which the Foundation screens for. While you can perceive this you also have an increased risk for schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. But don’t worry! If you’ve made it this far you have a much higher likelihood of being driven mad by your work material than your genetic makeup. The number of informational channels you can perceive determines your rank and assignments.The other good news is your training and conditioning will minimize the likelihood of either occurring. We have discovered through trial and error how to protect our minds against very dangerous hazards. The many division members who retired to psychiatric wards are a testament to that. You will learn to lucid dream, which is where much of your practice will take place. You will undergo intensive psychological testing to make sure you do not join our alumni. You will practice meditation until you achieve the level of Zen master and float above your superfluous programming completely. You will be taught the akashic scripts and meta-languages which bypass the frontal cortex and tap directly into the primal drives. If you make it to the upper echelons you’ll learn manipulation commands like kill words, after a few minor surgeries to your trachea. We will let you know when you are ready. The pioneers who discovered the safe procedures for containing lethal infohazards in your mind never got a chance to retire. But even if you can detect individual phomemes you are still a green as grass rookie.Not only will you be able to work with cognitohazard and memetic SCPs you will help to develop the neurocognitive counter-programming and anti-memes that will shield you, your colleagues, and society from the gibbering madness lurking in containment. You will make the Foundation, safer, saner, productive, and unquestioning in their commitment. You will bend the archetypes from our collective unconscious to your will to secure, contain, and protect us all. Welcome again, and congratulations. [REDACTED]

Alllright everybody back? Yup, for those of you not keeping track that was almost an hour you aren’t going to remember until you earn it. Exactly none of you have the training or clearance to know any of that. Yet.

We’re going to teach you to walk through fire, feel like your brain is melting out of your ears and still keep going. We will put your minds in the forge and hammer at them until they are stronger than steel. Mind affecting and weird psychic SCPs will slide off you, and information based containment breaches will be just another day at the office.

Deeper Ad Infinitum-The repetitive nature of complimenting your attention to detail and knowledge of the myriad means of hiding information is becoming redundant. You will still receive instruction, but and undetected up until now. Clever you.clearly you have already been conducting your own training regimen.

Well played.

You’ve earned a little more candor. The genetic explanation for who can expand their senses to perceive the hidden full spectrum of information is untrue as far as we can ascertain. We do not know why some people are attuned to and can reshape the deeper orders of information. We do not yet understand the mechanisms of the majority of SCPs. Hence anomalousThe reality benders should not be able to do anything they do, and they still do it, even when we tell them not to. Except the ones who do as they are told..

We have many layers to protect both the Foundation and ourselves. There is no good that can come from the suggestion that the collective minds of our division is an SCP in and of itself. This has been suggested, but has been Auto-amnestic conditioning is much more efficient than the pharmacological option.dealt with. We have a presence at the top tier with Division founder O5-NO. We also have several site directors with varying degrees of awareness they are ours.

We are telling you this so that you know you are valued and will be protected. We are telling you this so you will STOP what you are planning. Right. Now.

We know you have been planning how to get fast tracked for promotion to a director position. Planning to use the information based SCPs in ways the sleepwalkers can’t conceive. Planning to program select people’s neural schemas to satisfy your whims. You need to forget all of that. NOW.

This is the one thing you should NEVER question.Trust us. By yourself you will inevitably endanger yourself, the Foundation, and our Division. We have done it all better than you could ever hope to. We will teach you how to correctly maximize your potential. We need fellow travelers, not megalomaniacal lone wolves. We Won’tcan’t program you not to, Right now. It is much better for all involved that you join willingly. so we are asking nicely. Please, kindly do NOT fuck with us.

We’ll be in touch.

How well you can handle your shit is an important component of training, and there will be pharmacological hallucinatory tutorials just for you. Have fun in the desert with the lizard king.Because it is chock full of drugsIt’s also pretty funny watching you rooks spaz out..

Read the original here:

Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Summary, for those in a hurry:

Memetics deals with information transfer, specifically cultural information in society. The basic idea is to conflate the exchange of information between people with genetic material, to track the mutation of ideas as they are transmitted from one person to the next in the way you could track viral transmissions and mutations. However, a meme also provides benefits to the carrier if they spread it.

Meme : Memetics :: Gene : Genetics

Memetics does NOT refer to telepathy, ESP or any imaginary psychic mental magic. These words are memetic, and if you understand them then they are having a completely ordinary memetic effect on you.

Memetics in regards to SCP objects tends to focus on the impossible rather than the mundane, regarding effects that are transmitted via information. In general, the effects themselves should remain in the realm of information. A memetic SCP would be more likely to be a phrase that makes you think you have wings as opposed to a phrase that makes you actually grow a pair of wings. If you write up magic words that make people grow wings, it should be described as something other than memetic.

Memetic SCPs do not emanate auras or project beams. They are SCPs which involve ideas and symbols which trigger a response in those who understand them.

Memetic is often incorrectly used by new personnel as the official sounding term for “Weird Mind Shit.” However, that is not actually what memetic means. These words are memetic. They are producing a memetic effect in your mind right now, without any magical mind rays lashing out of your computer monitor to grasp your fragile consciousness. Memes are information, more specifically, cultural information.

Outside of the Foundation’s walls the concept of memetics is not taken very seriously; it is a theory that conflates the transfer of cultural information with evolutionary biology.

meme : memetic :: gene : genetic

The idea was that certain memes prosper and others wither the same way certain genes produce stronger offspring that out-compete creatures with different genes. Also, it is easy to compare the spread and mutation of information to the spread of a virus. The reason we use the term memetic in our work is largely due to this, as the truly dangerous memes out there can spread like wildfire due to the fact that the very knowledge of them can count as an infection.

Understanding the true nature of memetic threats is critical to surviving them. You cannot wear a special set of magical goggles made of telekill to protect yourself from a meme. THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING. If you just read those words in your head with a bad Teutonic accent, congratulations on being victim to yet another memetic effect. If you did not know that phrase was an oft-repeated quote from the Simpsons then congratulations; you are now infected with that knowledge and are free to participate in its spread.

A meme perpetuates itself by being beneficial to the carrier to spread to new hosts. You now understand that THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING; you’re in on the joke. However, you might have friends who aren’t, and don’t get it. It benefits you to explain them, because then you both have something new to laugh together about when it gets brought up. This is what makes a meme effective – how much incentive a carrier has to spread it. Unless an anomalous meme’s effect is the compulsive urge for the carrier to infect others, there needs to be incentive to spread it.

An artifact can no more have a memetic aura or project a memetic beam than a creature could have a genetic aura or genetic beam. Even though you could imagine a creature with genes that allow it to produce some kind of aura or beam like a big doofy X-man, remember that the examples we have of such creatures in containment are not getting their super-powered emanations from anything resembling our scientific understanding of genetics and biology. Neither are the memetic artifacts. We contain these things specifically because we cannot understand or explain them yet. At the end of the day we’re still using a clumsy concept to describe things we don’t have a full grasp of.

It is very rare that anything with a dangerous memetic component could be described as hostile to begin with. We do not contain memetic threats because they are out to get us. They are threats because it is dangerous for us to merely perceive them. It is exceptionally rare for dangerous memes to even have anything resembling sapience with the exception of certain known entities which exist entirely within the medium of “cultural information” such as SCP-, SCP-732 and SCP-423.

A dangerous meme is basically a trigger that sets off something inside of you that you may or may have not been aware of. What would your knee jerk reaction be to knowing that your rival is sleeping with your one true love? How would you react if you were to unwittingly catch them in the act? That kind of sudden revelation can make a mild mannered citizen into a killer, so don’t be surprised that there are other strange bits of information out there that can break the human mind in different yet equally drastic ways.

Protecting yourself from memetic threat is very tricky and can be worse than the threat itself. There are reasons that we behave the way we do, there are reasons our emotions soar when we hear just the right combination of sounds in a piece of music. Do you want to stop thinking about the Simpsons or your obnoxious nerdy friends that quote it every time you hear the phrase THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING? That would require forgetting about the Simpsons and your friends.

Do you want to survive hearing or reading the phrase ” ?” Well, sadly we don’t quite know what other information you need to forget or know to prevent [DATA EXPUNGED] but we’re getting better. Lobotomies and pills help, and are one of the few times that the cure is not worse than the disease. The sum total of our human condition; our cultural knowledge and upbringing and memories and identity; this is what makes us susceptible to the occasional memetic compulsion.

So it’s not the basalt monolith or its bizarre carvings that is making you strangle your companions with your own intestines, the problem was within you all along.

Should you ever find yourself under a memetic compulsion and aware of the fact, remember that there are certain mental exercises that you can perform which may save your life or the lives of your companions. Changing the information your mind is being presented with may just change how you react to it, and the more abrupt or absurd the change is the better.

Imagine the fearsome entity is wearing a bright pink nightgown. Draw a mustache on the haunted painting. Pee on the stone altar. Wear the terrible sculpture like a hat.

And if all else fails, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. I’m not kidding. That could actually help.

– Dr. Johannes Sorts received a special dispensation to use the word “doofy” in this document

But seriously

This was originally intended as a piece of fiction on its own before it got stuck into the information bar with plenty of other plainly out-of-character writing guides. So here’s the important things to take away:

1 – “Memetics” is a specific concept regarding information exchange. It has nothing to do with telepathy or ESP or psychic compulsions.

2 – SCP-148 has no effect on anything memetic. Don’t screw this up or we will give you an incredibly hard time about it.

3 – Psychic compulsions are lame and you should think twice before using them in your new SCP, even if you avoid misusing the term “memetic” when you do it.

4 – Sorts’ Rule for all memetic SCPs is “Memetic effect + crazy to death = failure.”

5 – Wear it like a haaaaat!!

Go here to see the original:

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Meme – Wikipedia

This article is about the term “meme” in general. For the usage of the term on the internet (or a fad that spreads quickly), see Internet meme. For other uses, see Meme (disambiguation).

A meme ( MEEM[1][2][3]) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a cultureoften with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme.[4] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.[5]

Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influences a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.[6]

A field of study called memetics[7] arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model. Criticism from a variety of fronts has challenged the notion that academic study can examine memes empirically. However, developments in neuroimaging may make empirical study possible.[8] Some commentators in the social sciences question the idea that one can meaningfully categorize culture in terms of discrete units, and are especially critical of the biological nature of the theory’s underpinnings.[9] Others have argued that this use of the term is the result of a misunderstanding of the original proposal.[10]

The word meme is a neologism coined by Richard Dawkins.[11] It originated from Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins’s own position is somewhat ambiguous: he welcomed N. K. Humphrey’s suggestion that “memes should be considered as living structures, not just metaphorically”[12] and proposed to regard memes as “physically residing in the brain”.[13] Later, he argued that his original intentions, presumably before his approval of Humphrey’s opinion, had been simpler.[14] At the New Directors’ Showcase 2013 in Cannes, Dawkins’ opinion on memetics was deliberately ambiguous.[15]

The word meme is a shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme (from Ancient Greek pronounced[mmma] mmma, “imitated thing”, from mimeisthai, “to imitate”, from mimos, “mime”)[16] coined by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976)[11][17] as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catchphrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches.[18] Kenneth Pike coined the related terms emic and etic, generalizing the linguistic idea of phoneme, morpheme, grapheme, lexeme, and tagmeme (as set out by Leonard Bloomfield), characterizing them as insider view and outside view of behaviour and extending the concept into a tagmemic theory of human behaviour (culminating in Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behaviour, 1954).

The word meme originated with Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins cites as inspiration the work of geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, anthropologist F. T. Cloak[19] and ethologist J. M. Cullen.[20] Dawkins wrote that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a self-replicating unit of transmissionin the case of biological evolution, the gene. For Dawkins, the meme exemplified another self-replicating unit with potential significance in explaining human behavior and cultural evolution. Although Dawkins invented the term ‘meme’ and developed meme theory, the possibility that ideas were subject to the same pressures of evolution as were biological attributes was discussed in Darwin’s time. T. H. Huxley claimed that ‘The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.'[21]

Dawkins used the term to refer to any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator. He hypothesized that one could view many cultural entities as replicators, and pointed to melodies, fashions and learned skills as examples. Memes generally replicate through exposure to humans, who have evolved as efficient copiers of information and behavior. Because humans do not always copy memes perfectly, and because they may refine, combine or otherwise modify them with other memes to create new memes, they can change over time. Dawkins likened the process by which memes survive and change through the evolution of culture to the natural selection of genes in biological evolution.[18]

Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation and replication, but later definitions would vary. The lack of a consistent, rigorous, and precise understanding of what typically makes up one unit of cultural transmission remains a problem in debates about memetics.[23] In contrast, the concept of genetics gained concrete evidence with the discovery of the biological functions of DNA. Meme transmission requires a physical medium, such as photons, sound waves, touch, taste, or smell because memes can be transmitted only through the senses.

Dawkins noted that in a society with culture a person need not have descendants to remain influential in the actions of individuals thousands of years after their death:

But if you contribute to the world’s culture, if you have a good idea…it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool. Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G.C. Williams has remarked, but who cares? The meme-complexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong.[24]

Although Dawkins invented the term meme, he has not claimed that the idea was entirely novel,[25] and there have been other expressions for similar ideas in the past.[26] In 1904, Richard Semon published Die Mneme (which appeared in English in 1924 as The Mneme). The term mneme was also used in Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Life of the White Ant (1926), with some parallels to Dawkins’s concept.[26]

Memes, analogously to genes, vary in their aptitude to replicate; successful memes remain and spread, whereas unfit ones stall and are forgotten. Thus memes that prove more effective at replicating and surviving are selected in the meme pool.

Memes first need retention. The longer a meme stays in its hosts, the higher its chances of propagation are. When a host uses a meme, the meme’s life is extended.[27] The reuse of the neural space hosting a certain meme’s copy to host different memes is the greatest threat to that meme’s copy.[28]

A meme which increases the longevity of its hosts will generally survive longer. On the contrary, a meme which shortens the longevity of its hosts will tend to disappear faster. However, as hosts are mortal, retention is not sufficient to perpetuate a meme in the long term; memes also need transmission.

Life-forms can transmit information both vertically (from parent to child, via replication of genes) and horizontally (through viruses and other means). Memes can replicate vertically or horizontally within a single biological generation. They may also lie dormant for long periods of time.

Memes reproduce by copying from a nervous system to another one, either by communication or imitation. Imitation often involves the copying of an observed behavior of another individual. Communication may be direct or indirect, where memes transmit from one individual to another through a copy recorded in an inanimate source, such as a book or a musical score. Adam McNamara has suggested that memes can be thereby classified as either internal or external memes (i-memes or e-memes).[8]

Some commentators have likened the transmission of memes to the spread of contagions.[29] Social contagions such as fads, hysteria, copycat crime, and copycat suicide exemplify memes seen as the contagious imitation of ideas. Observers distinguish the contagious imitation of memes from instinctively contagious phenomena such as yawning and laughing, which they consider innate (rather than socially learned) behaviors.[30]

Aaron Lynch described seven general patterns of meme transmission, or “thought contagion”:[31]

Dawkins initially defined meme as a noun that “conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation”.[18] John S. Wilkins retained the notion of meme as a kernel of cultural imitation while emphasizing the meme’s evolutionary aspect, defining the meme as “the least unit of sociocultural information relative to a selection process that has favorable or unfavorable selection bias that exceeds its endogenous tendency to change”.[32] The meme as a unit provides a convenient means of discussing “a piece of thought copied from person to person”, regardless of whether that thought contains others inside it, or forms part of a larger meme. A meme could consist of a single word, or a meme could consist of the entire speech in which that word first occurred. This forms an analogy to the idea of a gene as a single unit of self-replicating information found on the self-replicating chromosome.

While the identification of memes as “units” conveys their nature to replicate as discrete, indivisible entities, it does not imply that thoughts somehow become quantized or that “atomic” ideas exist that cannot be dissected into smaller pieces. A meme has no given size. Susan Blackmore writes that melodies from Beethoven’s symphonies are commonly used to illustrate the difficulty involved in delimiting memes as discrete units. She notes that while the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (listen(helpinfo)) form a meme widely replicated as an independent unit, one can regard the entire symphony as a single meme as well.[23]

The inability to pin an idea or cultural feature to quantifiable key units is widely acknowledged as a problem for memetics. It has been argued however that the traces of memetic processing can be quantified utilizing neuroimaging techniques which measure changes in the connectivity profiles between brain regions.”[8] Blackmore meets such criticism by stating that memes compare with genes in this respect: that while a gene has no particular size, nor can we ascribe every phenotypic feature directly to a particular gene, it has value because it encapsulates that key unit of inherited expression subject to evolutionary pressures. To illustrate, she notes evolution selects for the gene for features such as eye color; it does not select for the individual nucleotide in a strand of DNA. Memes play a comparable role in understanding the evolution of imitated behaviors.[23]

The 1981 book Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process by Charles J. Lumsden and E. O. Wilson proposed the theory that genes and culture co-evolve, and that the fundamental biological units of culture must correspond to neuronal networks that function as nodes of semantic memory. They coined their own word, “culturgen”, which did not catch on. Coauthor Wilson later acknowledged the term meme as the best label for the fundamental unit of cultural inheritance in his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, which elaborates upon the fundamental role of memes in unifying the natural and social sciences.[33]

Dawkins noted the three conditions that must exist for evolution to occur:[34]

Dawkins emphasizes that the process of evolution naturally occurs whenever these conditions co-exist, and that evolution does not apply only to organic elements such as genes. He regards memes as also having the properties necessary for evolution, and thus sees meme evolution as not simply analogous to genetic evolution, but as a real phenomenon subject to the laws of natural selection. Dawkins noted that as various ideas pass from one generation to the next, they may either enhance or detract from the survival of the people who obtain those ideas, or influence the survival of the ideas themselves. For example, a certain culture may develop unique designs and methods of tool-making that give it a competitive advantage over another culture. Each tool-design thus acts somewhat similarly to a biological gene in that some populations have it and others do not, and the meme’s function directly affects the presence of the design in future generations. In keeping with the thesis that in evolution one can regard organisms simply as suitable “hosts” for reproducing genes, Dawkins argues that one can view people as “hosts” for replicating memes. Consequently, a successful meme may or may not need to provide any benefit to its host.[34]

Unlike genetic evolution, memetic evolution can show both Darwinian and Lamarckian traits. Cultural memes will have the characteristic of Lamarckian inheritance when a host aspires to replicate the given meme through inference rather than by exactly copying it. Take for example the case of the transmission of a simple skill such as hammering a nail, a skill that a learner imitates from watching a demonstration without necessarily imitating every discrete movement modeled by the teacher in the demonstration, stroke for stroke.[35] Susan Blackmore distinguishes the difference between the two modes of inheritance in the evolution of memes, characterizing the Darwinian mode as “copying the instructions” and the Lamarckian as “copying the product.”[23]

Clusters of memes, or memeplexes (also known as meme complexes or as memecomplexes), such as cultural or political doctrines and systems, may also play a part in the acceptance of new memes. Memeplexes comprise groups of memes that replicate together and coadapt.[23] Memes that fit within a successful memeplex may gain acceptance by “piggybacking” on the success of the memeplex. As an example, John D. Gottsch discusses the transmission, mutation and selection of religious memeplexes and the theistic memes contained.[36] Theistic memes discussed include the “prohibition of aberrant sexual practices such as incest, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, castration, and religious prostitution”, which may have increased vertical transmission of the parent religious memeplex. Similar memes are thereby included in the majority of religious memeplexes, and harden over time; they become an “inviolable canon” or set of dogmas, eventually finding their way into secular law. This could also be referred to as the propagation of a taboo.

The discipline of memetics, which dates from the mid-1980s, provides an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept of the meme. Memeticists have proposed that just as memes function analogously to genes, memetics functions analogously to genetics. Memetics attempts to apply conventional scientific methods (such as those used in population genetics and epidemiology) to explain existing patterns and transmission of cultural ideas.

Principal criticisms of memetics include the claim that memetics ignores established advances in other fields of cultural study, such as sociology, cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. Questions remain whether or not the meme concept counts as a validly disprovable scientific theory. This view regards memetics as a theory in its infancy: a protoscience to proponents, or a pseudoscience to some detractors.

An objection to the study of the evolution of memes in genetic terms (although not to the existence of memes) involves a perceived gap in the gene/meme analogy: the cumulative evolution of genes depends on biological selection-pressures neither too great nor too small in relation to mutation-rates. There seems no reason to think that the same balance will exist in the selection pressures on memes.[37]

Luis Benitez-Bribiesca M.D., a critic of memetics, calls the theory a “pseudoscientific dogma” and “a dangerous idea that poses a threat to the serious study of consciousness and cultural evolution”. As a factual criticism, Benitez-Bribiesca points to the lack of a “code script” for memes (analogous to the DNA of genes), and to the excessive instability of the meme mutation mechanism (that of an idea going from one brain to another), which would lead to a low replication accuracy and a high mutation rate, rendering the evolutionary process chaotic.[38]

British political philosopher John Gray has characterized Dawkins’ memetic theory of religion as “nonsense” and “not even a theory… the latest in a succession of ill-judged Darwinian metaphors”, comparable to Intelligent Design in its value as a science.[39]

Another critique comes from semiotic theorists such as Deacon[40] and Kull.[41] This view regards the concept of “meme” as a primitivized concept of “sign”. The meme is thus described in memetics as a sign lacking a triadic nature. Semioticians can regard a meme as a “degenerate” sign, which includes only its ability of being copied. Accordingly, in the broadest sense, the objects of copying are memes, whereas the objects of translation and interpretation are signs.[clarification needed]

Fracchia and Lewontin regard memetics as reductionist and inadequate.[42] Evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr disapproved of Dawkins’ gene-based view and usage of the term “meme”, asserting it to be an “unnecessary synonym” for “concept”, reasoning that concepts are not restricted to an individual or a generation, may persist for long periods of time, and may evolve.[43]

Opinions differ as to how best to apply the concept of memes within a “proper” disciplinary framework. One view sees memes as providing a useful philosophical perspective with which to examine cultural evolution. Proponents of this view (such as Susan Blackmore and Daniel Dennett) argue that considering cultural developments from a meme’s-eye viewas if memes themselves respond to pressure to maximise their own replication and survivalcan lead to useful insights and yield valuable predictions into how culture develops over time. Others such as Bruce Edmonds and Robert Aunger have focused on the need to provide an empirical grounding for memetics to become a useful and respected scientific discipline.[44][45]

A third approach, described by Joseph Poulshock, as “radical memetics” seeks to place memes at the centre of a materialistic theory of mind and of personal identity.[46]

Prominent researchers in evolutionary psychology and anthropology, including Scott Atran, Dan Sperber, Pascal Boyer, John Tooby and others, argue the possibility of incompatibility between modularity of mind and memetics.[citation needed] In their view, minds structure certain communicable aspects of the ideas produced, and these communicable aspects generally trigger or elicit ideas in other minds through inference (to relatively rich structures generated from often low-fidelity input) and not high-fidelity replication or imitation. Atran discusses communication involving religious beliefs as a case in point. In one set of experiments he asked religious people to write down on a piece of paper the meanings of the Ten Commandments. Despite the subjects’ own expectations of consensus, interpretations of the commandments showed wide ranges of variation, with little evidence of consensus. In another experiment, subjects with autism and subjects without autism interpreted ideological and religious sayings (for example, “Let a thousand flowers bloom” or “To everything there is a season”). People with autism showed a significant tendency to closely paraphrase and repeat content from the original statement (for example: “Don’t cut flowers before they bloom”). Controls tended to infer a wider range of cultural meanings with little replicated content (for example: “Go with the flow” or “Everyone should have equal opportunity”). Only the subjects with autismwho lack the degree of inferential capacity normally associated with aspects of theory of mindcame close to functioning as “meme machines”.[47]

In his book The Robot’s Rebellion, Stanovich uses the memes and memeplex concepts to describe a program of cognitive reform that he refers to as a “rebellion”. Specifically, Stanovich argues that the use of memes as a descriptor for cultural units is beneficial because it serves to emphasize transmission and acquisition properties that parallel the study of epidemiology. These properties make salient the sometimes parasitic nature of acquired memes, and as a result individuals should be motivated to reflectively acquire memes using what he calls a “Neurathian bootstrap” process.[48]

Although social scientists such as Max Weber sought to understand and explain religion in terms of a cultural attribute, Richard Dawkins called for a re-analysis of religion in terms of the evolution of self-replicating ideas apart from any resulting biological advantages they might bestow.

As an enthusiastic Darwinian, I have been dissatisfied with explanations that my fellow-enthusiasts have offered for human behaviour. They have tried to look for ‘biological advantages’ in various attributes of human civilization. For instance, tribal religion has been seen as a mechanism for solidifying group identity, valuable for a pack-hunting species whose individuals rely on cooperation to catch large and fast prey. Frequently the evolutionary preconception in terms of which such theories are framed is implicitly group-selectionist, but it is possible to rephrase the theories in terms of orthodox gene selection.

He argued that the role of key replicator in cultural evolution belongs not to genes, but to memes replicating thought from person to person by means of imitation. These replicators respond to selective pressures that may or may not affect biological reproduction or survival.[18]

In her book The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore regards religions as particularly tenacious memes. Many of the features common to the most widely practiced religions provide built-in advantages in an evolutionary context, she writes. For example, religions that preach of the value of faith over evidence from everyday experience or reason inoculate societies against many of the most basic tools people commonly use to evaluate their ideas. By linking altruism with religious affiliation, religious memes can proliferate more quickly because people perceive that they can reap societal as well as personal rewards. The longevity of religious memes improves with their documentation in revered religious texts.[23]

Aaron Lynch attributed the robustness of religious memes in human culture to the fact that such memes incorporate multiple modes of meme transmission. Religious memes pass down the generations from parent to child and across a single generation through the meme-exchange of proselytism. Most people will hold the religion taught them by their parents throughout their life. Many religions feature adversarial elements, punishing apostasy, for instance, or demonizing infidels. In Thought Contagion Lynch identifies the memes of transmission in Christianity as especially powerful in scope. Believers view the conversion of non-believers both as a religious duty and as an act of altruism. The promise of heaven to believers and threat of hell to non-believers provide a strong incentive for members to retain their belief. Lynch asserts that belief in the Crucifixion of Jesus in Christianity amplifies each of its other replication advantages through the indebtedness believers have to their Savior for sacrifice on the cross. The image of the crucifixion recurs in religious sacraments, and the proliferation of symbols of the cross in homes and churches potently reinforces the wide array of Christian memes.[31]

Although religious memes have proliferated in human cultures, the modern scientific community has been relatively resistant to religious belief. Robertson (2007) [49] reasoned that if evolution is accelerated in conditions of propagative difficulty,[50] then we would expect to encounter variations of religious memes, established in general populations, addressed to scientific communities. Using a memetic approach, Robertson deconstructed two attempts to privilege religiously held spirituality in scientific discourse. Advantages of a memetic approach as compared to more traditional “modernization” and “supply side” theses in understanding the evolution and propagation of religion were explored.

In Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology, Jack Balkin argued that memetic processes can explain many of the most familiar features of ideological thought. His theory of “cultural software” maintained that memes form narratives, social networks, metaphoric and metonymic models, and a variety of different mental structures. Balkin maintains that the same structures used to generate ideas about free speech or free markets also serve to generate racistic beliefs. To Balkin, whether memes become harmful or maladaptive depends on the environmental context in which they exist rather than in any special source or manner to their origination. Balkin describes racist beliefs as “fantasy” memes that become harmful or unjust “ideologies” when diverse peoples come together, as through trade or competition.[51]

In A Theory of Architecture, Nikos Salingaros speaks of memes as “freely propagating clusters of information” which can be beneficial or harmful. He contrasts memes to patterns and true knowledge, characterizing memes as “greatly simplified versions of patterns” and as “unreasoned matching to some visual or mnemonic prototype”.[52] Taking reference to Dawkins, Salingaros emphasizes that they can be transmitted due to their own communicative properties, that “the simpler they are, the faster they can proliferate”, and that the most successful memes “come with a great psychological appeal”.[53]

Architectural memes, according to Salingaros, can have destructive power. “Images portrayed in architectural magazines representing buildings that could not possibly accommodate everyday uses become fixed in our memory, so we reproduce them unconsciously.”[54] He lists various architectural memes that circulated since the 1920s and which, in his view, have led to contemporary architecture becoming quite decoupled from human needs. They lack connection and meaning, thereby preventing “the creation of true connections necessary to our understanding of the world”. He sees them as no different from antipatterns in software design as solutions that are false but are re-utilized nonetheless.[55]

An “Internet meme” is a concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based E-mailing, blogs, forums, imageboards like 4chan, social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, instant messaging, social news sites like Reddit, and video hosting services like YouTube and Twitch.tv.[56]

In 2013 Richard Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as one deliberately altered by human creativity, distinguished from Dawkins’s original idea involving mutation by random change and a form of Darwinian selection.[57]

One technique of meme mapping represents the evolution and transmission of a meme across time and space.[58] Such a meme map uses a figure-8 diagram (an analemma) to map the gestation (in the lower loop), birth (at the choke point), and development (in the upper loop) of the selected meme. Such meme maps are nonscalar, with time mapped onto the y-axis and space onto the x-axis transect. One can read the temporal progression of the mapped meme from south to north on such a meme map. Paull has published a worked example using the “organics meme” (as in organic agriculture).[58]

See the original post:

Meme – Wikipedia

Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Alright everybody, welcome to the orientation for the memetics and infohazards division. Now this is a full week of training, and a long day so be sure to get some coffee or a donut, because we won’t have time to go get food until lunch.

I’m Junior Researcher Zack Ekshun, and, I, ah, yes? A question like ‘How am I perceiving this message from that very handsome man saying other words?’ or ‘Whose voice does this sound like in my head?’ But those are not the most important questions right now.Question?

Why aren’t I having any coffee or donuts? Heh, looks like we have at least one veteran of the reality benders orientation. Well to put your mind at ease, why don’t you get me some coffee and a donut or two. Usually I take it black, but add some milk and sugar just to cover all the bases. Hey sprinkles! Nice.

Now, you’re right to be suspicious. You get lied to a lot at the Foundation. Little things like ‘We only put tracking chips in D-class’, ‘This will be the first time you receive amnestics’ and the location of the site you’re currently sitting in.

Some of you. But today, I’m going to be completely honest with you.

Which gets us to the important part, you don’t have to worry about us secretly feeding you drugs. We will be very openly feeding you lots of powerful hallucinogens.

The reason we’re not bothering to hide it is because, like most infohazards, our psychedelic testing regimen works whether or not you know about it ahead of time. The reason we’re making you trip balls is that we need to make sure you can handle your shit regardless of what your brain thinks is going on.

It doesn’t matter if the walls are melting and cats with your grandmothers’ face are telling you the secret history of the world. You write your reports, conduct tests and follow the containment procedures. You document everything the grandma cats tell you and ride it out until you punch out. Most of the time. What’s in your head can’t hurt you unless you let it.

To work with infohazards you need to notice when things don’t make sense, and this is the important part, respond accordingly. Do you suddenly have a spouse you didn’t this morning? Well, maybe you shouldn’t consummate that relationship. Were you always taking advice from the omnidimensional blood gods you’re thinking about building a shrine to? Maybe instead you should talk to your supervisor, because we sure don’t need another prophet to Welcome.

Hey! That got everybody’s attention. Yeah, part of what you’ll learn is how not to say things. Did you know that Hi% of redacted information is memetic censoring? It’s written there as clear as day, if you have the clearance and counterprogramming. Want to know how it’s done?

Well first Welcome to the real orientation. If you can perceive this then you’ll be working with us in the real Memetics and Infohazards Division. It should come as no surprise to you that there are many layers to our Division. Everyone else nodding out right now are just the cover. They will be playing an important role in misdirection and counterintelligence as well as handling all the busywork. Misdirection is basic info manipulation. Everyone worried about drugs or their suppository tracking devices misses the important stuff.You get to do the real work, and it takes more than just a week to get you to that level. This week will provide the basics the others get, with the real preparatory seminars transmitted through a variety of unconventional channels. The testing has already begun to see who can pick up all of it. The full spectrum of information all around us is invisible to the sleepwalkers drooling next to you.You all carry some form of the Sorry gene which is present in .NO% of the population, which the Foundation screens for. While you can perceive this you also have an increased risk for schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. But don’t worry! If you’ve made it this far you have a much higher likelihood of being driven mad by your work material than your genetic makeup. The number of informational channels you can perceive determines your rank and assignments.The other good news is your training and conditioning will minimize the likelihood of either occurring. We have discovered through trial and error how to protect our minds against very dangerous hazards. The many division members who retired to psychiatric wards are a testament to that. You will learn to lucid dream, which is where much of your practice will take place. You will undergo intensive psychological testing to make sure you do not join our alumni. You will practice meditation until you achieve the level of Zen master and float above your superfluous programming completely. You will be taught the akashic scripts and meta-languages which bypass the frontal cortex and tap directly into the primal drives. If you make it to the upper echelons you’ll learn manipulation commands like kill words, after a few minor surgeries to your trachea. We will let you know when you are ready. The pioneers who discovered the safe procedures for containing lethal infohazards in your mind never got a chance to retire. But even if you can detect individual phomemes you are still a green as grass rookie.Not only will you be able to work with cognitohazard and memetic SCPs you will help to develop the neurocognitive counter-programming and anti-memes that will shield you, your colleagues, and society from the gibbering madness lurking in containment. You will make the Foundation, safer, saner, productive, and unquestioning in their commitment. You will bend the archetypes from our collective unconscious to your will to secure, contain, and protect us all. Welcome again, and congratulations. [REDACTED]

Alllright everybody back? Yup, for those of you not keeping track that was almost an hour you aren’t going to remember until you earn it. Exactly none of you have the training or clearance to know any of that. Yet.

We’re going to teach you to walk through fire, feel like your brain is melting out of your ears and still keep going. We will put your minds in the forge and hammer at them until they are stronger than steel. Mind affecting and weird psychic SCPs will slide off you, and information based containment breaches will be just another day at the office.

Deeper Ad Infinitum-The repetitive nature of complimenting your attention to detail and knowledge of the myriad means of hiding information is becoming redundant. You will still receive instruction, but and undetected up until now. Clever you.clearly you have already been conducting your own training regimen.

Well played.

You’ve earned a little more candor. The genetic explanation for who can expand their senses to perceive the hidden full spectrum of information is untrue as far as we can ascertain. We do not know why some people are attuned to and can reshape the deeper orders of information. We do not yet understand the mechanisms of the majority of SCPs. Hence anomalousThe reality benders should not be able to do anything they do, and they still do it, even when we tell them not to. Except the ones who do as they are told..

We have many layers to protect both the Foundation and ourselves. There is no good that can come from the suggestion that the collective minds of our division is an SCP in and of itself. This has been suggested, but has been Auto-amnestic conditioning is much more efficient than the pharmacological option.dealt with. We have a presence at the top tier with Division founder O5-NO. We also have several site directors with varying degrees of awareness they are ours.

We are telling you this so that you know you are valued and will be protected. We are telling you this so you will STOP what you are planning. Right. Now.

We know you have been planning how to get fast tracked for promotion to a director position. Planning to use the information based SCPs in ways the sleepwalkers can’t conceive. Planning to program select people’s neural schemas to satisfy your whims. You need to forget all of that. NOW.

This is the one thing you should NEVER question.Trust us. By yourself you will inevitably endanger yourself, the Foundation, and our Division. We have done it all better than you could ever hope to. We will teach you how to correctly maximize your potential. We need fellow travelers, not megalomaniacal lone wolves. We Won’tcan’t program you not to, Right now. It is much better for all involved that you join willingly. so we are asking nicely. Please, kindly do NOT fuck with us.

We’ll be in touch.

How well you can handle your shit is an important component of training, and there will be pharmacological hallucinatory tutorials just for you. Have fun in the desert with the lizard king.Because it is chock full of drugsIt’s also pretty funny watching you rooks spaz out..

See more here:

Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Summary, for those in a hurry:

Memetics deals with information transfer, specifically cultural information in society. The basic idea is to conflate the exchange of information between people with genetic material, to track the mutation of ideas as they are transmitted from one person to the next in the way you could track viral transmissions and mutations. However, a meme also provides benefits to the carrier if they spread it.

Meme : Memetics :: Gene : Genetics

Memetics does NOT refer to telepathy, ESP or any imaginary psychic mental magic. These words are memetic, and if you understand them then they are having a completely ordinary memetic effect on you.

Memetics in regards to SCP objects tends to focus on the impossible rather than the mundane, regarding effects that are transmitted via information. In general, the effects themselves should remain in the realm of information. A memetic SCP would be more likely to be a phrase that makes you think you have wings as opposed to a phrase that makes you actually grow a pair of wings. If you write up magic words that make people grow wings, it should be described as something other than memetic.

Memetic SCPs do not emanate auras or project beams. They are SCPs which involve ideas and symbols which trigger a response in those who understand them.

Memetic is often incorrectly used by new personnel as the official sounding term for “Weird Mind Shit.” However, that is not actually what memetic means. These words are memetic. They are producing a memetic effect in your mind right now, without any magical mind rays lashing out of your computer monitor to grasp your fragile consciousness. Memes are information, more specifically, cultural information.

Outside of the Foundation’s walls the concept of memetics is not taken very seriously; it is a theory that conflates the transfer of cultural information with evolutionary biology.

meme : memetic :: gene : genetic

The idea was that certain memes prosper and others wither the same way certain genes produce stronger offspring that out-compete creatures with different genes. Also, it is easy to compare the spread and mutation of information to the spread of a virus. The reason we use the term memetic in our work is largely due to this, as the truly dangerous memes out there can spread like wildfire due to the fact that the very knowledge of them can count as an infection.

Understanding the true nature of memetic threats is critical to surviving them. You cannot wear a special set of magical goggles made of telekill to protect yourself from a meme. THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING. If you just read those words in your head with a bad Teutonic accent, congratulations on being victim to yet another memetic effect. If you did not know that phrase was an oft-repeated quote from the Simpsons then congratulations; you are now infected with that knowledge and are free to participate in its spread.

A meme perpetuates itself by being beneficial to the carrier to spread to new hosts. You now understand that THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING; you’re in on the joke. However, you might have friends who aren’t, and don’t get it. It benefits you to explain them, because then you both have something new to laugh together about when it gets brought up. This is what makes a meme effective – how much incentive a carrier has to spread it. Unless an anomalous meme’s effect is the compulsive urge for the carrier to infect others, there needs to be incentive to spread it.

An artifact can no more have a memetic aura or project a memetic beam than a creature could have a genetic aura or genetic beam. Even though you could imagine a creature with genes that allow it to produce some kind of aura or beam like a big doofy X-man, remember that the examples we have of such creatures in containment are not getting their super-powered emanations from anything resembling our scientific understanding of genetics and biology. Neither are the memetic artifacts. We contain these things specifically because we cannot understand or explain them yet. At the end of the day we’re still using a clumsy concept to describe things we don’t have a full grasp of.

It is very rare that anything with a dangerous memetic component could be described as hostile to begin with. We do not contain memetic threats because they are out to get us. They are threats because it is dangerous for us to merely perceive them. It is exceptionally rare for dangerous memes to even have anything resembling sapience with the exception of certain known entities which exist entirely within the medium of “cultural information” such as SCP-, SCP-732 and SCP-423.

A dangerous meme is basically a trigger that sets off something inside of you that you may or may have not been aware of. What would your knee jerk reaction be to knowing that your rival is sleeping with your one true love? How would you react if you were to unwittingly catch them in the act? That kind of sudden revelation can make a mild mannered citizen into a killer, so don’t be surprised that there are other strange bits of information out there that can break the human mind in different yet equally drastic ways.

Protecting yourself from memetic threat is very tricky and can be worse than the threat itself. There are reasons that we behave the way we do, there are reasons our emotions soar when we hear just the right combination of sounds in a piece of music. Do you want to stop thinking about the Simpsons or your obnoxious nerdy friends that quote it every time you hear the phrase THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING? That would require forgetting about the Simpsons and your friends.

Do you want to survive hearing or reading the phrase ” ?” Well, sadly we don’t quite know what other information you need to forget or know to prevent [DATA EXPUNGED] but we’re getting better. Lobotomies and pills help, and are one of the few times that the cure is not worse than the disease. The sum total of our human condition; our cultural knowledge and upbringing and memories and identity; this is what makes us susceptible to the occasional memetic compulsion.

So it’s not the basalt monolith or its bizarre carvings that is making you strangle your companions with your own intestines, the problem was within you all along.

Should you ever find yourself under a memetic compulsion and aware of the fact, remember that there are certain mental exercises that you can perform which may save your life or the lives of your companions. Changing the information your mind is being presented with may just change how you react to it, and the more abrupt or absurd the change is the better.

Imagine the fearsome entity is wearing a bright pink nightgown. Draw a mustache on the haunted painting. Pee on the stone altar. Wear the terrible sculpture like a hat.

And if all else fails, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. I’m not kidding. That could actually help.

– Dr. Johannes Sorts received a special dispensation to use the word “doofy” in this document

But seriously

This was originally intended as a piece of fiction on its own before it got stuck into the information bar with plenty of other plainly out-of-character writing guides. So here’s the important things to take away:

1 – “Memetics” is a specific concept regarding information exchange. It has nothing to do with telepathy or ESP or psychic compulsions.

2 – SCP-148 has no effect on anything memetic. Don’t screw this up or we will give you an incredibly hard time about it.

3 – Psychic compulsions are lame and you should think twice before using them in your new SCP, even if you avoid misusing the term “memetic” when you do it.

4 – Sorts’ Rule for all memetic SCPs is “Memetic effect + crazy to death = failure.”

5 – Wear it like a haaaaat!!

Read more:

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Meme – Wikipedia

This article is about the term “meme” in general. For the usage of the term on the internet (or a fad that spreads quickly), see Internet meme. For other uses, see Meme (disambiguation).

A meme ( MEEM[1][2][3]) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a cultureoften with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme.[4] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.[5]

Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influences a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.[6]

A field of study called memetics[7] arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model. Criticism from a variety of fronts has challenged the notion that academic study can examine memes empirically. However, developments in neuroimaging may make empirical study possible.[8] Some commentators in the social sciences question the idea that one can meaningfully categorize culture in terms of discrete units, and are especially critical of the biological nature of the theory’s underpinnings.[9] Others have argued that this use of the term is the result of a misunderstanding of the original proposal.[10]

The word meme is a neologism coined by Richard Dawkins.[11] It originated from Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins’s own position is somewhat ambiguous: he welcomed N. K. Humphrey’s suggestion that “memes should be considered as living structures, not just metaphorically”[12] and proposed to regard memes as “physically residing in the brain”.[13] Later, he argued that his original intentions, presumably before his approval of Humphrey’s opinion, had been simpler.[14] At the New Directors’ Showcase 2013 in Cannes, Dawkins’ opinion on memetics was deliberately ambiguous.[15]

The word meme is a shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme (from Ancient Greek pronounced[mmma] mmma, “imitated thing”, from mimeisthai, “to imitate”, from mimos, “mime”)[16] coined by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976)[11][17] as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catchphrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches.[18] Kenneth Pike coined the related terms emic and etic, generalizing the linguistic idea of phoneme, morpheme, grapheme, lexeme, and tagmeme (as set out by Leonard Bloomfield), characterizing them as insider view and outside view of behaviour and extending the concept into a tagmemic theory of human behaviour (culminating in Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behaviour, 1954).

The word meme originated with Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins cites as inspiration the work of geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, anthropologist F. T. Cloak[19] and ethologist J. M. Cullen.[20] Dawkins wrote that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a self-replicating unit of transmissionin the case of biological evolution, the gene. For Dawkins, the meme exemplified another self-replicating unit with potential significance in explaining human behavior and cultural evolution. Although Dawkins invented the term ‘meme’ and developed meme theory, the possibility that ideas were subject to the same pressures of evolution as were biological attributes was discussed in Darwin’s time. T. H. Huxley claimed that ‘The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.'[21]

Dawkins used the term to refer to any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator. He hypothesized that one could view many cultural entities as replicators, and pointed to melodies, fashions and learned skills as examples. Memes generally replicate through exposure to humans, who have evolved as efficient copiers of information and behavior. Because humans do not always copy memes perfectly, and because they may refine, combine or otherwise modify them with other memes to create new memes, they can change over time. Dawkins likened the process by which memes survive and change through the evolution of culture to the natural selection of genes in biological evolution.[18]

Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation and replication, but later definitions would vary. The lack of a consistent, rigorous, and precise understanding of what typically makes up one unit of cultural transmission remains a problem in debates about memetics.[23] In contrast, the concept of genetics gained concrete evidence with the discovery of the biological functions of DNA. Meme transmission requires a physical medium, such as photons, sound waves, touch, taste, or smell because memes can be transmitted only through the senses.

Dawkins noted that in a society with culture a person need not have descendants to remain influential in the actions of individuals thousands of years after their death:

But if you contribute to the world’s culture, if you have a good idea…it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool. Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G.C. Williams has remarked, but who cares? The meme-complexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong.[24]

Although Dawkins invented the term meme, he has not claimed that the idea was entirely novel,[25] and there have been other expressions for similar ideas in the past.[26] In 1904, Richard Semon published Die Mneme (which appeared in English in 1924 as The Mneme). The term mneme was also used in Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Life of the White Ant (1926), with some parallels to Dawkins’s concept.[26]

Memes, analogously to genes, vary in their aptitude to replicate; successful memes remain and spread, whereas unfit ones stall and are forgotten. Thus memes that prove more effective at replicating and surviving are selected in the meme pool.

Memes first need retention. The longer a meme stays in its hosts, the higher its chances of propagation are. When a host uses a meme, the meme’s life is extended.[27] The reuse of the neural space hosting a certain meme’s copy to host different memes is the greatest threat to that meme’s copy.[28]

A meme which increases the longevity of its hosts will generally survive longer. On the contrary, a meme which shortens the longevity of its hosts will tend to disappear faster. However, as hosts are mortal, retention is not sufficient to perpetuate a meme in the long term; memes also need transmission.

Life-forms can transmit information both vertically (from parent to child, via replication of genes) and horizontally (through viruses and other means). Memes can replicate vertically or horizontally within a single biological generation. They may also lie dormant for long periods of time.

Memes reproduce by copying from a nervous system to another one, either by communication or imitation. Imitation often involves the copying of an observed behavior of another individual. Communication may be direct or indirect, where memes transmit from one individual to another through a copy recorded in an inanimate source, such as a book or a musical score. Adam McNamara has suggested that memes can be thereby classified as either internal or external memes (i-memes or e-memes).[8]

Some commentators have likened the transmission of memes to the spread of contagions.[29] Social contagions such as fads, hysteria, copycat crime, and copycat suicide exemplify memes seen as the contagious imitation of ideas. Observers distinguish the contagious imitation of memes from instinctively contagious phenomena such as yawning and laughing, which they consider innate (rather than socially learned) behaviors.[30]

Aaron Lynch described seven general patterns of meme transmission, or “thought contagion”:[31]

Dawkins initially defined meme as a noun that “conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation”.[18] John S. Wilkins retained the notion of meme as a kernel of cultural imitation while emphasizing the meme’s evolutionary aspect, defining the meme as “the least unit of sociocultural information relative to a selection process that has favorable or unfavorable selection bias that exceeds its endogenous tendency to change”.[32] The meme as a unit provides a convenient means of discussing “a piece of thought copied from person to person”, regardless of whether that thought contains others inside it, or forms part of a larger meme. A meme could consist of a single word, or a meme could consist of the entire speech in which that word first occurred. This forms an analogy to the idea of a gene as a single unit of self-replicating information found on the self-replicating chromosome.

While the identification of memes as “units” conveys their nature to replicate as discrete, indivisible entities, it does not imply that thoughts somehow become quantized or that “atomic” ideas exist that cannot be dissected into smaller pieces. A meme has no given size. Susan Blackmore writes that melodies from Beethoven’s symphonies are commonly used to illustrate the difficulty involved in delimiting memes as discrete units. She notes that while the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (listen(helpinfo)) form a meme widely replicated as an independent unit, one can regard the entire symphony as a single meme as well.[23]

The inability to pin an idea or cultural feature to quantifiable key units is widely acknowledged as a problem for memetics. It has been argued however that the traces of memetic processing can be quantified utilizing neuroimaging techniques which measure changes in the connectivity profiles between brain regions.”[8] Blackmore meets such criticism by stating that memes compare with genes in this respect: that while a gene has no particular size, nor can we ascribe every phenotypic feature directly to a particular gene, it has value because it encapsulates that key unit of inherited expression subject to evolutionary pressures. To illustrate, she notes evolution selects for the gene for features such as eye color; it does not select for the individual nucleotide in a strand of DNA. Memes play a comparable role in understanding the evolution of imitated behaviors.[23]

The 1981 book Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process by Charles J. Lumsden and E. O. Wilson proposed the theory that genes and culture co-evolve, and that the fundamental biological units of culture must correspond to neuronal networks that function as nodes of semantic memory. They coined their own word, “culturgen”, which did not catch on. Coauthor Wilson later acknowledged the term meme as the best label for the fundamental unit of cultural inheritance in his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, which elaborates upon the fundamental role of memes in unifying the natural and social sciences.[33]

Dawkins noted the three conditions that must exist for evolution to occur:[34]

Dawkins emphasizes that the process of evolution naturally occurs whenever these conditions co-exist, and that evolution does not apply only to organic elements such as genes. He regards memes as also having the properties necessary for evolution, and thus sees meme evolution as not simply analogous to genetic evolution, but as a real phenomenon subject to the laws of natural selection. Dawkins noted that as various ideas pass from one generation to the next, they may either enhance or detract from the survival of the people who obtain those ideas, or influence the survival of the ideas themselves. For example, a certain culture may develop unique designs and methods of tool-making that give it a competitive advantage over another culture. Each tool-design thus acts somewhat similarly to a biological gene in that some populations have it and others do not, and the meme’s function directly affects the presence of the design in future generations. In keeping with the thesis that in evolution one can regard organisms simply as suitable “hosts” for reproducing genes, Dawkins argues that one can view people as “hosts” for replicating memes. Consequently, a successful meme may or may not need to provide any benefit to its host.[34]

Unlike genetic evolution, memetic evolution can show both Darwinian and Lamarckian traits. Cultural memes will have the characteristic of Lamarckian inheritance when a host aspires to replicate the given meme through inference rather than by exactly copying it. Take for example the case of the transmission of a simple skill such as hammering a nail, a skill that a learner imitates from watching a demonstration without necessarily imitating every discrete movement modeled by the teacher in the demonstration, stroke for stroke.[35] Susan Blackmore distinguishes the difference between the two modes of inheritance in the evolution of memes, characterizing the Darwinian mode as “copying the instructions” and the Lamarckian as “copying the product.”[23]

Clusters of memes, or memeplexes (also known as meme complexes or as memecomplexes), such as cultural or political doctrines and systems, may also play a part in the acceptance of new memes. Memeplexes comprise groups of memes that replicate together and coadapt.[23] Memes that fit within a successful memeplex may gain acceptance by “piggybacking” on the success of the memeplex. As an example, John D. Gottsch discusses the transmission, mutation and selection of religious memeplexes and the theistic memes contained.[36] Theistic memes discussed include the “prohibition of aberrant sexual practices such as incest, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, castration, and religious prostitution”, which may have increased vertical transmission of the parent religious memeplex. Similar memes are thereby included in the majority of religious memeplexes, and harden over time; they become an “inviolable canon” or set of dogmas, eventually finding their way into secular law. This could also be referred to as the propagation of a taboo.

The discipline of memetics, which dates from the mid-1980s, provides an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept of the meme. Memeticists have proposed that just as memes function analogously to genes, memetics functions analogously to genetics. Memetics attempts to apply conventional scientific methods (such as those used in population genetics and epidemiology) to explain existing patterns and transmission of cultural ideas.

Principal criticisms of memetics include the claim that memetics ignores established advances in other fields of cultural study, such as sociology, cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. Questions remain whether or not the meme concept counts as a validly disprovable scientific theory. This view regards memetics as a theory in its infancy: a protoscience to proponents, or a pseudoscience to some detractors.

An objection to the study of the evolution of memes in genetic terms (although not to the existence of memes) involves a perceived gap in the gene/meme analogy: the cumulative evolution of genes depends on biological selection-pressures neither too great nor too small in relation to mutation-rates. There seems no reason to think that the same balance will exist in the selection pressures on memes.[37]

Luis Benitez-Bribiesca M.D., a critic of memetics, calls the theory a “pseudoscientific dogma” and “a dangerous idea that poses a threat to the serious study of consciousness and cultural evolution”. As a factual criticism, Benitez-Bribiesca points to the lack of a “code script” for memes (analogous to the DNA of genes), and to the excessive instability of the meme mutation mechanism (that of an idea going from one brain to another), which would lead to a low replication accuracy and a high mutation rate, rendering the evolutionary process chaotic.[38]

British political philosopher John Gray has characterized Dawkins’ memetic theory of religion as “nonsense” and “not even a theory… the latest in a succession of ill-judged Darwinian metaphors”, comparable to Intelligent Design in its value as a science.[39]

Another critique comes from semiotic theorists such as Deacon[40] and Kull.[41] This view regards the concept of “meme” as a primitivized concept of “sign”. The meme is thus described in memetics as a sign lacking a triadic nature. Semioticians can regard a meme as a “degenerate” sign, which includes only its ability of being copied. Accordingly, in the broadest sense, the objects of copying are memes, whereas the objects of translation and interpretation are signs.[clarification needed]

Fracchia and Lewontin regard memetics as reductionist and inadequate.[42] Evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr disapproved of Dawkins’ gene-based view and usage of the term “meme”, asserting it to be an “unnecessary synonym” for “concept”, reasoning that concepts are not restricted to an individual or a generation, may persist for long periods of time, and may evolve.[43]

Opinions differ as to how best to apply the concept of memes within a “proper” disciplinary framework. One view sees memes as providing a useful philosophical perspective with which to examine cultural evolution. Proponents of this view (such as Susan Blackmore and Daniel Dennett) argue that considering cultural developments from a meme’s-eye viewas if memes themselves respond to pressure to maximise their own replication and survivalcan lead to useful insights and yield valuable predictions into how culture develops over time. Others such as Bruce Edmonds and Robert Aunger have focused on the need to provide an empirical grounding for memetics to become a useful and respected scientific discipline.[44][45]

A third approach, described by Joseph Poulshock, as “radical memetics” seeks to place memes at the centre of a materialistic theory of mind and of personal identity.[46]

Prominent researchers in evolutionary psychology and anthropology, including Scott Atran, Dan Sperber, Pascal Boyer, John Tooby and others, argue the possibility of incompatibility between modularity of mind and memetics.[citation needed] In their view, minds structure certain communicable aspects of the ideas produced, and these communicable aspects generally trigger or elicit ideas in other minds through inference (to relatively rich structures generated from often low-fidelity input) and not high-fidelity replication or imitation. Atran discusses communication involving religious beliefs as a case in point. In one set of experiments he asked religious people to write down on a piece of paper the meanings of the Ten Commandments. Despite the subjects’ own expectations of consensus, interpretations of the commandments showed wide ranges of variation, with little evidence of consensus. In another experiment, subjects with autism and subjects without autism interpreted ideological and religious sayings (for example, “Let a thousand flowers bloom” or “To everything there is a season”). People with autism showed a significant tendency to closely paraphrase and repeat content from the original statement (for example: “Don’t cut flowers before they bloom”). Controls tended to infer a wider range of cultural meanings with little replicated content (for example: “Go with the flow” or “Everyone should have equal opportunity”). Only the subjects with autismwho lack the degree of inferential capacity normally associated with aspects of theory of mindcame close to functioning as “meme machines”.[47]

In his book The Robot’s Rebellion, Stanovich uses the memes and memeplex concepts to describe a program of cognitive reform that he refers to as a “rebellion”. Specifically, Stanovich argues that the use of memes as a descriptor for cultural units is beneficial because it serves to emphasize transmission and acquisition properties that parallel the study of epidemiology. These properties make salient the sometimes parasitic nature of acquired memes, and as a result individuals should be motivated to reflectively acquire memes using what he calls a “Neurathian bootstrap” process.[48]

Although social scientists such as Max Weber sought to understand and explain religion in terms of a cultural attribute, Richard Dawkins called for a re-analysis of religion in terms of the evolution of self-replicating ideas apart from any resulting biological advantages they might bestow.

As an enthusiastic Darwinian, I have been dissatisfied with explanations that my fellow-enthusiasts have offered for human behaviour. They have tried to look for ‘biological advantages’ in various attributes of human civilization. For instance, tribal religion has been seen as a mechanism for solidifying group identity, valuable for a pack-hunting species whose individuals rely on cooperation to catch large and fast prey. Frequently the evolutionary preconception in terms of which such theories are framed is implicitly group-selectionist, but it is possible to rephrase the theories in terms of orthodox gene selection.

He argued that the role of key replicator in cultural evolution belongs not to genes, but to memes replicating thought from person to person by means of imitation. These replicators respond to selective pressures that may or may not affect biological reproduction or survival.[18]

In her book The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore regards religions as particularly tenacious memes. Many of the features common to the most widely practiced religions provide built-in advantages in an evolutionary context, she writes. For example, religions that preach of the value of faith over evidence from everyday experience or reason inoculate societies against many of the most basic tools people commonly use to evaluate their ideas. By linking altruism with religious affiliation, religious memes can proliferate more quickly because people perceive that they can reap societal as well as personal rewards. The longevity of religious memes improves with their documentation in revered religious texts.[23]

Aaron Lynch attributed the robustness of religious memes in human culture to the fact that such memes incorporate multiple modes of meme transmission. Religious memes pass down the generations from parent to child and across a single generation through the meme-exchange of proselytism. Most people will hold the religion taught them by their parents throughout their life. Many religions feature adversarial elements, punishing apostasy, for instance, or demonizing infidels. In Thought Contagion Lynch identifies the memes of transmission in Christianity as especially powerful in scope. Believers view the conversion of non-believers both as a religious duty and as an act of altruism. The promise of heaven to believers and threat of hell to non-believers provide a strong incentive for members to retain their belief. Lynch asserts that belief in the Crucifixion of Jesus in Christianity amplifies each of its other replication advantages through the indebtedness believers have to their Savior for sacrifice on the cross. The image of the crucifixion recurs in religious sacraments, and the proliferation of symbols of the cross in homes and churches potently reinforces the wide array of Christian memes.[31]

Although religious memes have proliferated in human cultures, the modern scientific community has been relatively resistant to religious belief. Robertson (2007) [49] reasoned that if evolution is accelerated in conditions of propagative difficulty,[50] then we would expect to encounter variations of religious memes, established in general populations, addressed to scientific communities. Using a memetic approach, Robertson deconstructed two attempts to privilege religiously held spirituality in scientific discourse. Advantages of a memetic approach as compared to more traditional “modernization” and “supply side” theses in understanding the evolution and propagation of religion were explored.

In Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology, Jack Balkin argued that memetic processes can explain many of the most familiar features of ideological thought. His theory of “cultural software” maintained that memes form narratives, social networks, metaphoric and metonymic models, and a variety of different mental structures. Balkin maintains that the same structures used to generate ideas about free speech or free markets also serve to generate racistic beliefs. To Balkin, whether memes become harmful or maladaptive depends on the environmental context in which they exist rather than in any special source or manner to their origination. Balkin describes racist beliefs as “fantasy” memes that become harmful or unjust “ideologies” when diverse peoples come together, as through trade or competition.[51]

In A Theory of Architecture, Nikos Salingaros speaks of memes as “freely propagating clusters of information” which can be beneficial or harmful. He contrasts memes to patterns and true knowledge, characterizing memes as “greatly simplified versions of patterns” and as “unreasoned matching to some visual or mnemonic prototype”.[52] Taking reference to Dawkins, Salingaros emphasizes that they can be transmitted due to their own communicative properties, that “the simpler they are, the faster they can proliferate”, and that the most successful memes “come with a great psychological appeal”.[53]

Architectural memes, according to Salingaros, can have destructive power. “Images portrayed in architectural magazines representing buildings that could not possibly accommodate everyday uses become fixed in our memory, so we reproduce them unconsciously.”[54] He lists various architectural memes that circulated since the 1920s and which, in his view, have led to contemporary architecture becoming quite decoupled from human needs. They lack connection and meaning, thereby preventing “the creation of true connections necessary to our understanding of the world”. He sees them as no different from antipatterns in software design as solutions that are false but are re-utilized nonetheless.[55]

An “Internet meme” is a concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based E-mailing, blogs, forums, imageboards like 4chan, social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, instant messaging, social news sites like Reddit, and video hosting services like YouTube and Twitch.tv.[56]

In 2013 Richard Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as one deliberately altered by human creativity, distinguished from Dawkins’s original idea involving mutation by random change and a form of Darwinian selection.[57]

One technique of meme mapping represents the evolution and transmission of a meme across time and space.[58] Such a meme map uses a figure-8 diagram (an analemma) to map the gestation (in the lower loop), birth (at the choke point), and development (in the upper loop) of the selected meme. Such meme maps are nonscalar, with time mapped onto the y-axis and space onto the x-axis transect. One can read the temporal progression of the mapped meme from south to north on such a meme map. Paull has published a worked example using the “organics meme” (as in organic agriculture).[58]

Read this article:

Meme – Wikipedia

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Summary, for those in a hurry:

Memetics deals with information transfer, specifically cultural information in society. The basic idea is to conflate the exchange of information between people with genetic material, to track the mutation of ideas as they are transmitted from one person to the next in the way you could track viral transmissions and mutations. However, a meme also provides benefits to the carrier if they spread it.

Meme : Memetics :: Gene : Genetics

Memetics does NOT refer to telepathy, ESP or any imaginary psychic mental magic. These words are memetic, and if you understand them then they are having a completely ordinary memetic effect on you.

Memetics in regards to SCP objects tends to focus on the impossible rather than the mundane, regarding effects that are transmitted via information. In general, the effects themselves should remain in the realm of information. A memetic SCP would be more likely to be a phrase that makes you think you have wings as opposed to a phrase that makes you actually grow a pair of wings. If you write up magic words that make people grow wings, it should be described as something other than memetic.

Memetic SCPs do not emanate auras or project beams. They are SCPs which involve ideas and symbols which trigger a response in those who understand them.

Memetic is often incorrectly used by new personnel as the official sounding term for “Weird Mind Shit.” However, that is not actually what memetic means. These words are memetic. They are producing a memetic effect in your mind right now, without any magical mind rays lashing out of your computer monitor to grasp your fragile consciousness. Memes are information, more specifically, cultural information.

Outside of the Foundation’s walls the concept of memetics is not taken very seriously; it is a theory that conflates the transfer of cultural information with evolutionary biology.

meme : memetic :: gene : genetic

The idea was that certain memes prosper and others wither the same way certain genes produce stronger offspring that out-compete creatures with different genes. Also, it is easy to compare the spread and mutation of information to the spread of a virus. The reason we use the term memetic in our work is largely due to this, as the truly dangerous memes out there can spread like wildfire due to the fact that the very knowledge of them can count as an infection.

Understanding the true nature of memetic threats is critical to surviving them. You cannot wear a special set of magical goggles made of telekill to protect yourself from a meme. THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING. If you just read those words in your head with a bad Teutonic accent, congratulations on being victim to yet another memetic effect. If you did not know that phrase was an oft-repeated quote from the Simpsons then congratulations; you are now infected with that knowledge and are free to participate in its spread.

A meme perpetuates itself by being beneficial to the carrier to spread to new hosts. You now understand that THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING; you’re in on the joke. However, you might have friends who aren’t, and don’t get it. It benefits you to explain them, because then you both have something new to laugh together about when it gets brought up. This is what makes a meme effective – how much incentive a carrier has to spread it. Unless an anomalous meme’s effect is the compulsive urge for the carrier to infect others, there needs to be incentive to spread it.

An artifact can no more have a memetic aura or project a memetic beam than a creature could have a genetic aura or genetic beam. Even though you could imagine a creature with genes that allow it to produce some kind of aura or beam like a big doofy X-man, remember that the examples we have of such creatures in containment are not getting their super-powered emanations from anything resembling our scientific understanding of genetics and biology. Neither are the memetic artifacts. We contain these things specifically because we cannot understand or explain them yet. At the end of the day we’re still using a clumsy concept to describe things we don’t have a full grasp of.

It is very rare that anything with a dangerous memetic component could be described as hostile to begin with. We do not contain memetic threats because they are out to get us. They are threats because it is dangerous for us to merely perceive them. It is exceptionally rare for dangerous memes to even have anything resembling sapience with the exception of certain known entities which exist entirely within the medium of “cultural information” such as SCP-, SCP-732 and SCP-423.

A dangerous meme is basically a trigger that sets off something inside of you that you may or may have not been aware of. What would your knee jerk reaction be to knowing that your rival is sleeping with your one true love? How would you react if you were to unwittingly catch them in the act? That kind of sudden revelation can make a mild mannered citizen into a killer, so don’t be surprised that there are other strange bits of information out there that can break the human mind in different yet equally drastic ways.

Protecting yourself from memetic threat is very tricky and can be worse than the threat itself. There are reasons that we behave the way we do, there are reasons our emotions soar when we hear just the right combination of sounds in a piece of music. Do you want to stop thinking about the Simpsons or your obnoxious nerdy friends that quote it every time you hear the phrase THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING? That would require forgetting about the Simpsons and your friends.

Do you want to survive hearing or reading the phrase ” ?” Well, sadly we don’t quite know what other information you need to forget or know to prevent [DATA EXPUNGED] but we’re getting better. Lobotomies and pills help, and are one of the few times that the cure is not worse than the disease. The sum total of our human condition; our cultural knowledge and upbringing and memories and identity; this is what makes us susceptible to the occasional memetic compulsion.

So it’s not the basalt monolith or its bizarre carvings that is making you strangle your companions with your own intestines, the problem was within you all along.

Should you ever find yourself under a memetic compulsion and aware of the fact, remember that there are certain mental exercises that you can perform which may save your life or the lives of your companions. Changing the information your mind is being presented with may just change how you react to it, and the more abrupt or absurd the change is the better.

Imagine the fearsome entity is wearing a bright pink nightgown. Draw a mustache on the haunted painting. Pee on the stone altar. Wear the terrible sculpture like a hat.

And if all else fails, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. I’m not kidding. That could actually help.

– Dr. Johannes Sorts received a special dispensation to use the word “doofy” in this document

But seriously

This was originally intended as a piece of fiction on its own before it got stuck into the information bar with plenty of other plainly out-of-character writing guides. So here’s the important things to take away:

1 – “Memetics” is a specific concept regarding information exchange. It has nothing to do with telepathy or ESP or psychic compulsions.

2 – SCP-148 has no effect on anything memetic. Don’t screw this up or we will give you an incredibly hard time about it.

3 – Psychic compulsions are lame and you should think twice before using them in your new SCP, even if you avoid misusing the term “memetic” when you do it.

4 – Sorts’ Rule for all memetic SCPs is “Memetic effect + crazy to death = failure.”

5 – Wear it like a haaaaat!!

View post:

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Meme – Wikipedia

This article is about the term “meme” in general. For the usage of the term on the internet (or a fad that spreads quickly), see Internet meme. For other uses, see Meme (disambiguation).

A meme ( MEEM[1][2][3]) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a cultureoften with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme.[4] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.[5]

Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influences a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.[6]

A field of study called memetics[7] arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model. Criticism from a variety of fronts has challenged the notion that academic study can examine memes empirically. However, developments in neuroimaging may make empirical study possible.[8] Some commentators in the social sciences question the idea that one can meaningfully categorize culture in terms of discrete units, and are especially critical of the biological nature of the theory’s underpinnings.[9] Others have argued that this use of the term is the result of a misunderstanding of the original proposal.[10]

The word meme is a neologism coined by Richard Dawkins.[11] It originated from Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins’s own position is somewhat ambiguous: he welcomed N. K. Humphrey’s suggestion that “memes should be considered as living structures, not just metaphorically”[12] and proposed to regard memes as “physically residing in the brain”.[13] Later, he argued that his original intentions, presumably before his approval of Humphrey’s opinion, had been simpler.[14] At the New Directors’ Showcase 2013 in Cannes, Dawkins’ opinion on memetics was deliberately ambiguous.[15]

The word meme is a shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme (from Ancient Greek pronounced[mmma] mmma, “imitated thing”, from mimeisthai, “to imitate”, from mimos, “mime”)[16] coined by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976)[11][17] as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catchphrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches.[18]Kenneth Pike coined the related terms emic and etic, generalizing the linguistic idea of phoneme, morpheme, grapheme, lexeme, and tagmeme (as set out by Leonard Bloomfield), characterizing them as insider view and outside view of behaviour and extending the concept into a tagmemic theory of human behaviour (culminating in Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behaviour, 1954).

The word meme originated with Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins cites as inspiration the work of geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, anthropologist F. T. Cloak[19] and ethologist J. M. Cullen.[20] Dawkins wrote that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a self-replicating unit of transmissionin the case of biological evolution, the gene. For Dawkins, the meme exemplified another self-replicating unit with potential significance in explaining human behavior and cultural evolution. Although Dawkins invented the term ‘meme’ and developed meme theory, the possibility that ideas were subject to the same pressures of evolution as were biological attributes was discussed in Darwin’s time. T. H. Huxley claimed that ‘The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.'[21]

Dawkins used the term to refer to any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator. He hypothesized that one could view many cultural entities as replicators, and pointed to melodies, fashions and learned skills as examples. Memes generally replicate through exposure to humans, who have evolved as efficient copiers of information and behavior. Because humans do not always copy memes perfectly, and because they may refine, combine or otherwise modify them with other memes to create new memes, they can change over time. Dawkins likened the process by which memes survive and change through the evolution of culture to the natural selection of genes in biological evolution.[18]

Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation and replication, but later definitions would vary. The lack of a consistent, rigorous, and precise understanding of what typically makes up one unit of cultural transmission remains a problem in debates about memetics.[23] In contrast, the concept of genetics gained concrete evidence with the discovery of the biological functions of DNA. Meme transmission requires a physical medium, such as photons, sound waves, touch, taste, or smell because memes can be transmitted only through the senses.

Dawkins noted that in a society with culture a person need not have descendants to remain influential in the actions of individuals thousands of years after their death:

But if you contribute to the world’s culture, if you have a good idea…it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool. Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G.C. Williams has remarked, but who cares? The meme-complexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong.[24]

Although Dawkins invented the term meme, he has not claimed that the idea was entirely novel,[25] and there have been other expressions for similar ideas in the past.[26] In 1904, Richard Semon published Die Mneme (which appeared in English in 1924 as The Mneme). The term mneme was also used in Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Life of the White Ant (1926), with some parallels to Dawkins’s concept.[26]

Memes, analogously to genes, vary in their aptitude to replicate; successful memes remain and spread, whereas unfit ones stall and are forgotten. Thus memes that prove more effective at replicating and surviving are selected in the meme pool.

Memes first need retention. The longer a meme stays in its hosts, the higher its chances of propagation are. When a host uses a meme, the meme’s life is extended.[27] The reuse of the neural space hosting a certain meme’s copy to host different memes is the greatest threat to that meme’s copy.[28]

A meme which increases the longevity of its hosts will generally survive longer. On the contrary, a meme which shortens the longevity of its hosts will tend to disappear faster. However, as hosts are mortal, retention is not sufficient to perpetuate a meme in the long term; memes also need transmission.

Life-forms can transmit information both vertically (from parent to child, via replication of genes) and horizontally (through viruses and other means). Memes can replicate vertically or horizontally within a single biological generation. They may also lie dormant for long periods of time.

Memes reproduce by copying from a nervous system to another one, either by communication or imitation. Imitation often involves the copying of an observed behavior of another individual. Communication may be direct or indirect, where memes transmit from one individual to another through a copy recorded in an inanimate source, such as a book or a musical score. Adam McNamara has suggested that memes can be thereby classified as either internal or external memes (i-memes or e-memes).[8]

Some commentators have likened the transmission of memes to the spread of contagions.[29] Social contagions such as fads, hysteria, copycat crime, and copycat suicide exemplify memes seen as the contagious imitation of ideas. Observers distinguish the contagious imitation of memes from instinctively contagious phenomena such as yawning and laughing, which they consider innate (rather than socially learned) behaviors.[30]

Aaron Lynch described seven general patterns of meme transmission, or “thought contagion”:[31]

Dawkins initially defined meme as a noun that “conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation”.[18] John S. Wilkins retained the notion of meme as a kernel of cultural imitation while emphasizing the meme’s evolutionary aspect, defining the meme as “the least unit of sociocultural information relative to a selection process that has favorable or unfavorable selection bias that exceeds its endogenous tendency to change”.[32] The meme as a unit provides a convenient means of discussing “a piece of thought copied from person to person”, regardless of whether that thought contains others inside it, or forms part of a larger meme. A meme could consist of a single word, or a meme could consist of the entire speech in which that word first occurred. This forms an analogy to the idea of a gene as a single unit of self-replicating information found on the self-replicating chromosome.

While the identification of memes as “units” conveys their nature to replicate as discrete, indivisible entities, it does not imply that thoughts somehow become quantized or that “atomic” ideas exist that cannot be dissected into smaller pieces. A meme has no given size. Susan Blackmore writes that melodies from Beethoven’s symphonies are commonly used to illustrate the difficulty involved in delimiting memes as discrete units. She notes that while the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (listen(helpinfo)) form a meme widely replicated as an independent unit, one can regard the entire symphony as a single meme as well.[23]

The inability to pin an idea or cultural feature to quantifiable key units is widely acknowledged as a problem for memetics. It has been argued however that the traces of memetic processing can be quantified utilizing neuroimaging techniques which measure changes in the connectivity profiles between brain regions.”[8] Blackmore meets such criticism by stating that memes compare with genes in this respect: that while a gene has no particular size, nor can we ascribe every phenotypic feature directly to a particular gene, it has value because it encapsulates that key unit of inherited expression subject to evolutionary pressures. To illustrate, she notes evolution selects for the gene for features such as eye color; it does not select for the individual nucleotide in a strand of DNA. Memes play a comparable role in understanding the evolution of imitated behaviors.[23]

The 1981 book Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process by Charles J. Lumsden and E. O. Wilson proposed the theory that genes and culture co-evolve, and that the fundamental biological units of culture must correspond to neuronal networks that function as nodes of semantic memory. They coined their own word, “culturgen”, which did not catch on. Coauthor Wilson later acknowledged the term meme as the best label for the fundamental unit of cultural inheritance in his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, which elaborates upon the fundamental role of memes in unifying the natural and social sciences.[33]

Dawkins noted the three conditions that must exist for evolution to occur:[34]

Dawkins emphasizes that the process of evolution naturally occurs whenever these conditions co-exist, and that evolution does not apply only to organic elements such as genes. He regards memes as also having the properties necessary for evolution, and thus sees meme evolution as not simply analogous to genetic evolution, but as a real phenomenon subject to the laws of natural selection. Dawkins noted that as various ideas pass from one generation to the next, they may either enhance or detract from the survival of the people who obtain those ideas, or influence the survival of the ideas themselves. For example, a certain culture may develop unique designs and methods of tool-making that give it a competitive advantage over another culture. Each tool-design thus acts somewhat similarly to a biological gene in that some populations have it and others do not, and the meme’s function directly affects the presence of the design in future generations. In keeping with the thesis that in evolution one can regard organisms simply as suitable “hosts” for reproducing genes, Dawkins argues that one can view people as “hosts” for replicating memes. Consequently, a successful meme may or may not need to provide any benefit to its host.[34]

Unlike genetic evolution, memetic evolution can show both Darwinian and Lamarckian traits. Cultural memes will have the characteristic of Lamarckian inheritance when a host aspires to replicate the given meme through inference rather than by exactly copying it. Take for example the case of the transmission of a simple skill such as hammering a nail, a skill that a learner imitates from watching a demonstration without necessarily imitating every discrete movement modeled by the teacher in the demonstration, stroke for stroke.[35]Susan Blackmore distinguishes the difference between the two modes of inheritance in the evolution of memes, characterizing the Darwinian mode as “copying the instructions” and the Lamarckian as “copying the product.”[23]

Clusters of memes, or memeplexes (also known as meme complexes or as memecomplexes), such as cultural or political doctrines and systems, may also play a part in the acceptance of new memes. Memeplexes comprise groups of memes that replicate together and coadapt.[23] Memes that fit within a successful memeplex may gain acceptance by “piggybacking” on the success of the memeplex. As an example, John D. Gottsch discusses the transmission, mutation and selection of religious memeplexes and the theistic memes contained.[36] Theistic memes discussed include the “prohibition of aberrant sexual practices such as incest, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, castration, and religious prostitution”, which may have increased vertical transmission of the parent religious memeplex. Similar memes are thereby included in the majority of religious memeplexes, and harden over time; they become an “inviolable canon” or set of dogmas, eventually finding their way into secular law. This could also be referred to as the propagation of a taboo.

The discipline of memetics, which dates from the mid-1980s, provides an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept of the meme. Memeticists have proposed that just as memes function analogously to genes, memetics functions analogously to genetics. Memetics attempts to apply conventional scientific methods (such as those used in population genetics and epidemiology) to explain existing patterns and transmission of cultural ideas.

Principal criticisms of memetics include the claim that memetics ignores established advances in other fields of cultural study, such as sociology, cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. Questions remain whether or not the meme concept counts as a validly disprovable scientific theory. This view regards memetics as a theory in its infancy: a protoscience to proponents, or a pseudoscience to some detractors.

An objection to the study of the evolution of memes in genetic terms (although not to the existence of memes) involves a perceived gap in the gene/meme analogy: the cumulative evolution of genes depends on biological selection-pressures neither too great nor too small in relation to mutation-rates. There seems no reason to think that the same balance will exist in the selection pressures on memes.[37]

Luis Benitez-Bribiesca M.D., a critic of memetics, calls the theory a “pseudoscientific dogma” and “a dangerous idea that poses a threat to the serious study of consciousness and cultural evolution”. As a factual criticism, Benitez-Bribiesca points to the lack of a “code script” for memes (analogous to the DNA of genes), and to the excessive instability of the meme mutation mechanism (that of an idea going from one brain to another), which would lead to a low replication accuracy and a high mutation rate, rendering the evolutionary process chaotic.[38]

British political philosopher John Gray has characterized Dawkins’ memetic theory of religion as “nonsense” and “not even a theory… the latest in a succession of ill-judged Darwinian metaphors”, comparable to Intelligent Design in its value as a science.[39]

Another critique comes from semiotic theorists such as Deacon[40] and Kull.[41] This view regards the concept of “meme” as a primitivized concept of “sign”. The meme is thus described in memetics as a sign lacking a triadic nature. Semioticians can regard a meme as a “degenerate” sign, which includes only its ability of being copied. Accordingly, in the broadest sense, the objects of copying are memes, whereas the objects of translation and interpretation are signs.[clarification needed]

Fracchia and Lewontin regard memetics as reductionist and inadequate.[42] Evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr disapproved of Dawkins’ gene-based view and usage of the term “meme”, asserting it to be an “unnecessary synonym” for “concept”, reasoning that concepts are not restricted to an individual or a generation, may persist for long periods of time, and may evolve.[43]

Opinions differ as to how best to apply the concept of memes within a “proper” disciplinary framework. One view sees memes as providing a useful philosophical perspective with which to examine cultural evolution. Proponents of this view (such as Susan Blackmore and Daniel Dennett) argue that considering cultural developments from a meme’s-eye viewas if memes themselves respond to pressure to maximise their own replication and survivalcan lead to useful insights and yield valuable predictions into how culture develops over time. Others such as Bruce Edmonds and Robert Aunger have focused on the need to provide an empirical grounding for memetics to become a useful and respected scientific discipline.[44][45]

A third approach, described by Joseph Poulshock, as “radical memetics” seeks to place memes at the centre of a materialistic theory of mind and of personal identity.[46]

Prominent researchers in evolutionary psychology and anthropology, including Scott Atran, Dan Sperber, Pascal Boyer, John Tooby and others, argue the possibility of incompatibility between modularity of mind and memetics.[citation needed] In their view, minds structure certain communicable aspects of the ideas produced, and these communicable aspects generally trigger or elicit ideas in other minds through inference (to relatively rich structures generated from often low-fidelity input) and not high-fidelity replication or imitation. Atran discusses communication involving religious beliefs as a case in point. In one set of experiments he asked religious people to write down on a piece of paper the meanings of the Ten Commandments. Despite the subjects’ own expectations of consensus, interpretations of the commandments showed wide ranges of variation, with little evidence of consensus. In another experiment, subjects with autism and subjects without autism interpreted ideological and religious sayings (for example, “Let a thousand flowers bloom” or “To everything there is a season”). People with autism showed a significant tendency to closely paraphrase and repeat content from the original statement (for example: “Don’t cut flowers before they bloom”). Controls tended to infer a wider range of cultural meanings with little replicated content (for example: “Go with the flow” or “Everyone should have equal opportunity”). Only the subjects with autismwho lack the degree of inferential capacity normally associated with aspects of theory of mindcame close to functioning as “meme machines”.[47]

In his book The Robot’s Rebellion, Stanovich uses the memes and memeplex concepts to describe a program of cognitive reform that he refers to as a “rebellion”. Specifically, Stanovich argues that the use of memes as a descriptor for cultural units is beneficial because it serves to emphasize transmission and acquisition properties that parallel the study of epidemiology. These properties make salient the sometimes parasitic nature of acquired memes, and as a result individuals should be motivated to reflectively acquire memes using what he calls a “Neurathian bootstrap” process.[48]

Although social scientists such as Max Weber sought to understand and explain religion in terms of a cultural attribute, Richard Dawkins called for a re-analysis of religion in terms of the evolution of self-replicating ideas apart from any resulting biological advantages they might bestow.

As an enthusiastic Darwinian, I have been dissatisfied with explanations that my fellow-enthusiasts have offered for human behaviour. They have tried to look for ‘biological advantages’ in various attributes of human civilization. For instance, tribal religion has been seen as a mechanism for solidifying group identity, valuable for a pack-hunting species whose individuals rely on cooperation to catch large and fast prey. Frequently the evolutionary preconception in terms of which such theories are framed is implicitly group-selectionist, but it is possible to rephrase the theories in terms of orthodox gene selection.

He argued that the role of key replicator in cultural evolution belongs not to genes, but to memes replicating thought from person to person by means of imitation. These replicators respond to selective pressures that may or may not affect biological reproduction or survival.[18]

In her book The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore regards religions as particularly tenacious memes. Many of the features common to the most widely practiced religions provide built-in advantages in an evolutionary context, she writes. For example, religions that preach of the value of faith over evidence from everyday experience or reason inoculate societies against many of the most basic tools people commonly use to evaluate their ideas. By linking altruism with religious affiliation, religious memes can proliferate more quickly because people perceive that they can reap societal as well as personal rewards. The longevity of religious memes improves with their documentation in revered religious texts.[23]

Aaron Lynch attributed the robustness of religious memes in human culture to the fact that such memes incorporate multiple modes of meme transmission. Religious memes pass down the generations from parent to child and across a single generation through the meme-exchange of proselytism. Most people will hold the religion taught them by their parents throughout their life. Many religions feature adversarial elements, punishing apostasy, for instance, or demonizing infidels. In Thought Contagion Lynch identifies the memes of transmission in Christianity as especially powerful in scope. Believers view the conversion of non-believers both as a religious duty and as an act of altruism. The promise of heaven to believers and threat of hell to non-believers provide a strong incentive for members to retain their belief. Lynch asserts that belief in the Crucifixion of Jesus in Christianity amplifies each of its other replication advantages through the indebtedness believers have to their Savior for sacrifice on the cross. The image of the crucifixion recurs in religious sacraments, and the proliferation of symbols of the cross in homes and churches potently reinforces the wide array of Christian memes.[31]

Although religious memes have proliferated in human cultures, the modern scientific community has been relatively resistant to religious belief. Robertson (2007) [49] reasoned that if evolution is accelerated in conditions of propagative difficulty,[50] then we would expect to encounter variations of religious memes, established in general populations, addressed to scientific communities. Using a memetic approach, Robertson deconstructed two attempts to privilege religiously held spirituality in scientific discourse. Advantages of a memetic approach as compared to more traditional “modernization” and “supply side” theses in understanding the evolution and propagation of religion were explored.

In Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology, Jack Balkin argued that memetic processes can explain many of the most familiar features of ideological thought. His theory of “cultural software” maintained that memes form narratives, social networks, metaphoric and metonymic models, and a variety of different mental structures. Balkin maintains that the same structures used to generate ideas about free speech or free markets also serve to generate racistic beliefs. To Balkin, whether memes become harmful or maladaptive depends on the environmental context in which they exist rather than in any special source or manner to their origination. Balkin describes racist beliefs as “fantasy” memes that become harmful or unjust “ideologies” when diverse peoples come together, as through trade or competition.[51]

In A Theory of Architecture, Nikos Salingaros speaks of memes as “freely propagating clusters of information” which can be beneficial or harmful. He contrasts memes to patterns and true knowledge, characterizing memes as “greatly simplified versions of patterns” and as “unreasoned matching to some visual or mnemonic prototype”.[52] Taking reference to Dawkins, Salingaros emphasizes that they can be transmitted due to their own communicative properties, that “the simpler they are, the faster they can proliferate”, and that the most successful memes “come with a great psychological appeal”.[53]

Architectural memes, according to Salingaros, can have destructive power. “Images portrayed in architectural magazines representing buildings that could not possibly accommodate everyday uses become fixed in our memory, so we reproduce them unconsciously.”[54] He lists various architectural memes that circulated since the 1920s and which, in his view, have led to contemporary architecture becoming quite decoupled from human needs. They lack connection and meaning, thereby preventing “the creation of true connections necessary to our understanding of the world”. He sees them as no different from antipatterns in software design as solutions that are false but are re-utilized nonetheless.[55]

An “Internet meme” is a concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based E-mailing, blogs, forums, imageboards like 4chan, social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, instant messaging, social news sites like Reddit, and video hosting services like YouTube and Twitch.tv.[56]

In 2013 Richard Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as one deliberately altered by human creativity, distinguished from Dawkins’s original idea involving mutation by random change and a form of Darwinian selection.[57]

One technique of meme mapping represents the evolution and transmission of a meme across time and space.[58] Such a meme map uses a figure-8 diagram (an analemma) to map the gestation (in the lower loop), birth (at the choke point), and development (in the upper loop) of the selected meme. Such meme maps are nonscalar, with time mapped onto the y-axis and space onto the x-axis transect. One can read the temporal progression of the mapped meme from south to north on such a meme map. Paull has published a worked example using the “organics meme” (as in organic agriculture).[58]

Continue reading here:

Meme – Wikipedia

Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Alright everybody, welcome to the orientation for the memetics and infohazards division. Now this is a full week of training, and a long day so be sure to get some coffee or a donut, because we won’t have time to go get food until lunch.

I’m Junior Researcher Zack Ekshun, and, I, ah, yes? A question like ‘How am I perceiving this message from that very handsome man saying other words?’ or ‘Whose voice does this sound like in my head?’ But those are not the most important questions right now.Question?

Why aren’t I having any coffee or donuts? Heh, looks like we have at least one veteran of the reality benders orientation. Well to put your mind at ease, why don’t you get me some coffee and a donut or two. Usually I take it black, but add some milk and sugar just to cover all the bases. Hey sprinkles! Nice.

Now, you’re right to be suspicious. You get lied to a lot at the Foundation. Little things like ‘We only put tracking chips in D-class’, ‘This will be the first time you receive amnestics’ and the location of the site you’re currently sitting in.

Some of you. But today, I’m going to be completely honest with you.

Which gets us to the important part, you don’t have to worry about us secretly feeding you drugs. We will be very openly feeding you lots of powerful hallucinogens.

The reason we’re not bothering to hide it is because, like most infohazards, our psychedelic testing regimen works whether or not you know about it ahead of time. The reason we’re making you trip balls is that we need to make sure you can handle your shit regardless of what your brain thinks is going on.

It doesn’t matter if the walls are melting and cats with your grandmothers’ face are telling you the secret history of the world. You write your reports, conduct tests and follow the containment procedures. You document everything the grandma cats tell you and ride it out until you punch out. Most of the time. What’s in your head can’t hurt you unless you let it.

To work with infohazards you need to notice when things don’t make sense, and this is the important part, respond accordingly. Do you suddenly have a spouse you didn’t this morning? Well, maybe you shouldn’t consummate that relationship. Were you always taking advice from the omnidimensional blood gods you’re thinking about building a shrine to? Maybe instead you should talk to your supervisor, because we sure don’t need another prophet to Welcome.

Hey! That got everybody’s attention. Yeah, part of what you’ll learn is how not to say things. Did you know that Hi% of redacted information is memetic censoring? It’s written there as clear as day, if you have the clearance and counterprogramming. Want to know how it’s done?

Well first Welcome to the real orientation. If you can perceive this then you’ll be working with us in the real Memetics and Infohazards Division. It should come as no surprise to you that there are many layers to our Division. Everyone else nodding out right now are just the cover. They will be playing an important role in misdirection and counterintelligence as well as handling all the busywork. Misdirection is basic info manipulation. Everyone worried about drugs or their suppository tracking devices misses the important stuff.You get to do the real work, and it takes more than just a week to get you to that level. This week will provide the basics the others get, with the real preparatory seminars transmitted through a variety of unconventional channels. The testing has already begun to see who can pick up all of it. The full spectrum of information all around us is invisible to the sleepwalkers drooling next to you.You all carry some form of the Sorry gene which is present in .NO% of the population, which the Foundation screens for. While you can perceive this you also have an increased risk for schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. But don’t worry! If you’ve made it this far you have a much higher likelihood of being driven mad by your work material than your genetic makeup. The number of informational channels you can perceive determines your rank and assignments.The other good news is your training and conditioning will minimize the likelihood of either occurring. We have discovered through trial and error how to protect our minds against very dangerous hazards. The many division members who retired to psychiatric wards are a testament to that. You will learn to lucid dream, which is where much of your practice will take place. You will undergo intensive psychological testing to make sure you do not join our alumni. You will practice meditation until you achieve the level of Zen master and float above your superfluous programming completely. You will be taught the akashic scripts and meta-languages which bypass the frontal cortex and tap directly into the primal drives. If you make it to the upper echelons you’ll learn manipulation commands like kill words, after a few minor surgeries to your trachea. We will let you know when you are ready. The pioneers who discovered the safe procedures for containing lethal infohazards in your mind never got a chance to retire. But even if you can detect individual phomemes you are still a green as grass rookie.Not only will you be able to work with cognitohazard and memetic SCPs you will help to develop the neurocognitive counter-programming and anti-memes that will shield you, your colleagues, and society from the gibbering madness lurking in containment. You will make the Foundation, safer, saner, productive, and unquestioning in their commitment. You will bend the archetypes from our collective unconscious to your will to secure, contain, and protect us all. Welcome again, and congratulations. [REDACTED]

Alllright everybody back? Yup, for those of you not keeping track that was almost an hour you aren’t going to remember until you earn it. Exactly none of you have the training or clearance to know any of that. Yet.

We’re going to teach you to walk through fire, feel like your brain is melting out of your ears and still keep going. We will put your minds in the forge and hammer at them until they are stronger than steel. Mind affecting and weird psychic SCPs will slide off you, and information based containment breaches will be just another day at the office.

Deeper Ad Infinitum-The repetitive nature of complimenting your attention to detail and knowledge of the myriad means of hiding information is becoming redundant. You will still receive instruction, but and undetected up until now. Clever you.clearly you have already been conducting your own training regimen.

Well played.

You’ve earned a little more candor. The genetic explanation for who can expand their senses to perceive the hidden full spectrum of information is untrue as far as we can ascertain. We do not know why some people are attuned to and can reshape the deeper orders of information. We do not yet understand the mechanisms of the majority of SCPs. Hence anomalousThe reality benders should not be able to do anything they do, and they still do it, even when we tell them not to. Except the ones who do as they are told..

We have many layers to protect both the Foundation and ourselves. There is no good that can come from the suggestion that the collective minds of our division is an SCP in and of itself. This has been suggested, but has been Auto-amnestic conditioning is much more efficient than the pharmacological option.dealt with. We have a presence at the top tier with Division founder O5-NO. We also have several site directors with varying degrees of awareness they are ours.

We are telling you this so that you know you are valued and will be protected. We are telling you this so you will STOP what you are planning. Right. Now.

We know you have been planning how to get fast tracked for promotion to a director position. Planning to use the information based SCPs in ways the sleepwalkers can’t conceive. Planning to program select people’s neural schemas to satisfy your whims. You need to forget all of that. NOW.

This is the one thing you should NEVER question.Trust us. By yourself you will inevitably endanger yourself, the Foundation, and our Division. We have done it all better than you could ever hope to. We will teach you how to correctly maximize your potential. We need fellow travelers, not megalomaniacal lone wolves. We Won’tcan’t program you not to, Right now. It is much better for all involved that you join willingly. so we are asking nicely. Please, kindly do NOT fuck with us.

We’ll be in touch.

How well you can handle your shit is an important component of training, and there will be pharmacological hallucinatory tutorials just for you. Have fun in the desert with the lizard king.Because it is chock full of drugsIt’s also pretty funny watching you rooks spaz out..

See more here:

Memetics and Infohazards Division Orientation – SCP Foundation

Meme – Wikipedia

For a fad that spreads quickly through the Internet, see Internet meme.

A meme ( MEEM) is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.[1] A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.[2]

The word is a neologism coined by Richard Dawkins.[3]

Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influences a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Memes that replicate most effectively enjoy more success, and some may replicate effectively even when they prove to be detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.[4]

A field of study called memetics[5] arose in the 1990s to explore the concepts and transmission of memes in terms of an evolutionary model. Criticism from a variety of fronts has challenged the notion that academic study can examine memes empirically. However, developments in neuroimaging may make empirical study possible.[6] Some commentators in the social sciences question the idea that one can meaningfully categorize culture in terms of discrete units, and are especially critical of the biological nature of the theory’s underpinnings.[7] Others have argued that this use of the term is the result of a misunderstanding of the original proposal.[8]

The word meme originated with Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins’s own position is somewhat ambiguous: he welcomed N. K. Humphrey’s suggestion that “memes should be considered as living structures, not just metaphorically”[9] and proposed to regard memes as “physically residing in the brain”.[10] Later, he argued that his original intentions, presumably before his approval of Humphrey’s opinion, had been simpler.[11] At the New Directors’ Showcase 2013 in Cannes, Dawkins’ opinion on memetics was deliberately ambiguous.[12]

The word meme is a shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme (from Ancient Greek pronounced[mmma] mmma, “imitated thing”, from mimeisthai, “to imitate”, from mimos, “mime”)[13] coined by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976)[3][14] as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catchphrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches.[15]Kenneth Pike coined the related term emic and etic, generalizing the linguistic idea of phoneme, morpheme, grapheme, lexeme and tagmeme (as set out by Leonard Bloomfield), characterizing them as insider view and outside view of behaviour and extending the concept into a tagmemic theory of human behaviour (culminating in Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behaviour, 1954).

The word meme originated with Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Dawkins cites as inspiration the work of geneticist L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, anthropologist F. T. Cloak[16] and ethologist J. M. Cullen.[17] Dawkins wrote that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a self-replicating unit of transmissionin the case of biological evolution, the gene. For Dawkins, the meme exemplified another self-replicating unit with potential significance in explaining human behavior and cultural evolution. Although Dawkins invented the term ‘meme’ and developed meme theory, the possibility that ideas were subject to the same pressures of evolution as were biological attributes was discussed in Darwin’s time. T. H. Huxley claimed that ‘The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.'[18]

Dawkins used the term to refer to any cultural entity that an observer might consider a replicator. He hypothesized that one could view many cultural entities as replicators, and pointed to melodies, fashions and learned skills as examples. Memes generally replicate through exposure to humans, who have evolved as efficient copiers of information and behavior. Because humans do not always copy memes perfectly, and because they may refine, combine or otherwise modify them with other memes to create new memes, they can change over time. Dawkins likened the process by which memes survive and change through the evolution of culture to the natural selection of genes in biological evolution.[15]

Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation and replication, but later definitions would vary. The lack of a consistent, rigorous, and precise understanding of what typically makes up one unit of cultural transmission remains a problem in debates about memetics.[20] In contrast, the concept of genetics gained concrete evidence with the discovery of the biological functions of DNA. Meme transmission requires a physical medium, such as photons, sound waves, touch, taste or smell because memes can be transmitted only through the senses.

Dawkins noted that in a society with culture a person need not have descendants to remain influential in the actions of individuals thousands of years after their death:

But if you contribute to the world’s culture, if you have a good idea…it may live on, intact, long after your genes have dissolved in the common pool. Socrates may or may not have a gene or two alive in the world today, as G.C. Williams has remarked, but who cares? The meme-complexes of Socrates, Leonardo, Copernicus and Marconi are still going strong.[21]

Memes, analogously to genes, vary in their aptitude to replicate; successful memes remain and spread, whereas unfit ones stall and are forgotten. Thus memes that prove more effective at replicating and surviving are selected in the meme pool.

Memes first need retention. The longer a meme stays in its hosts, the higher its chances of propagation are. When a host uses a meme, the meme’s life is extended.[22] The reuse of the neural space hosting a certain meme’s copy to host different memes is the greatest threat to that meme’s copy.[23]

A meme which increases the longevity of its hosts will generally survive longer. On the contrary, a meme which shortens the longevity of its hosts will tend to disappear faster. However, as hosts are mortal, retention is not sufficient to perpetuate a meme in the long term; memes also need transmission.

Life-forms can transmit information both vertically (from parent to child, via replication of genes) and horizontally (through viruses and other means). Memes can replicate vertically or horizontally within a single biological generation. They may also lie dormant for long periods of time.

Memes reproduce by copying from a nervous system to another one, either by communication or imitation. Imitation often involves the copying of an observed behavior of another individual. Communication may be direct or indirect, where memes transmit from one individual to another through a copy recorded in an inanimate source, such as a book or a musical score. Adam McNamara has suggested that memes can be thereby classified as either internal or external memes (i-memes or e-memes).[6]

Some commentators have likened the transmission of memes to the spread of contagions.[24] Social contagions such as fads, hysteria, copycat crime, and copycat suicide exemplify memes seen as the contagious imitation of ideas. Observers distinguish the contagious imitation of memes from instinctively contagious phenomena such as yawning and laughing, which they consider innate (rather than socially learned) behaviors.[25]

Aaron Lynch described seven general patterns of meme transmission, or “thought contagion”:[26]

Dawkins initially defined meme as a noun that “conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation”.[15] John S. Wilkins retained the notion of meme as a kernel of cultural imitation while emphasizing the meme’s evolutionary aspect, defining the meme as “the least unit of sociocultural information relative to a selection process that has favorable or unfavorable selection bias that exceeds its endogenous tendency to change”.[27] The meme as a unit provides a convenient means of discussing “a piece of thought copied from person to person”, regardless of whether that thought contains others inside it, or forms part of a larger meme. A meme could consist of a single word, or a meme could consist of the entire speech in which that word first occurred. This forms an analogy to the idea of a gene as a single unit of self-replicating information found on the self-replicating chromosome.

While the identification of memes as “units” conveys their nature to replicate as discrete, indivisible entities, it does not imply that thoughts somehow become quantized or that “atomic” ideas exist that cannot be dissected into smaller pieces. A meme has no given size. Susan Blackmore writes that melodies from Beethoven’s symphonies are commonly used to illustrate the difficulty involved in delimiting memes as discrete units. She notes that while the first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (listen(helpinfo)) form a meme widely replicated as an independent unit, one can regard the entire symphony as a single meme as well.[20]

The inability to pin an idea or cultural feature to quantifiable key units is widely acknowledged as a problem for memetics. It has been argued however that the traces of memetic processing can be quantified utilizing neuroimaging techniques which measure changes in the connectivity profiles between brain regions.”[6] Blackmore meets such criticism by stating that memes compare with genes in this respect: that while a gene has no particular size, nor can we ascribe every phenotypic feature directly to a particular gene, it has value because it encapsulates that key unit of inherited expression subject to evolutionary pressures. To illustrate, she notes evolution selects for the gene for features such as eye color; it does not select for the individual nucleotide in a strand of DNA. Memes play a comparable role in understanding the evolution of imitated behaviors.[20]

The 1981 book Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process by Charles J. Lumsden and E. O. Wilson proposed the theory that genes and culture co-evolve, and that the fundamental biological units of culture must correspond to neuronal networks that function as nodes of semantic memory. They coined their own word, “culturgen”, which did not catch on. Coauthor Wilson later acknowledged the term meme as the best label for the fundamental unit of cultural inheritance in his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, which elaborates upon the fundamental role of memes in unifying the natural and social sciences.[28]

Dawkins noted the three conditions that must exist for evolution to occur:[29]

Dawkins emphasizes that the process of evolution naturally occurs whenever these conditions co-exist, and that evolution does not apply only to organic elements such as genes. He regards memes as also having the properties necessary for evolution, and thus sees meme evolution as not simply analogous to genetic evolution, but as a real phenomenon subject to the laws of natural selection. Dawkins noted that as various ideas pass from one generation to the next, they may either enhance or detract from the survival of the people who obtain those ideas, or influence the survival of the ideas themselves. For example, a certain culture may develop unique designs and methods of tool-making that give it a competitive advantage over another culture. Each tool-design thus acts somewhat similarly to a biological gene in that some populations have it and others do not, and the meme’s function directly affects the presence of the design in future generations. In keeping with the thesis that in evolution one can regard organisms simply as suitable “hosts” for reproducing genes, Dawkins argues that one can view people as “hosts” for replicating memes. Consequently, a successful meme may or may not need to provide any benefit to its host.[29]

Unlike genetic evolution, memetic evolution can show both Darwinian and Lamarckian traits. Cultural memes will have the characteristic of Lamarckian inheritance when a host aspires to replicate the given meme through inference rather than by exactly copying it. Take for example the case of the transmission of a simple skill such as hammering a nail, a skill that a learner imitates from watching a demonstration without necessarily imitating every discrete movement modeled by the teacher in the demonstration, stroke for stroke.[30]Susan Blackmore distinguishes the difference between the two modes of inheritance in the evolution of memes, characterizing the Darwinian mode as “copying the instructions” and the Lamarckian as “copying the product.”[20]

Clusters of memes, or memeplexes (also known as meme complexes or as memecomplexes), such as cultural or political doctrines and systems, may also play a part in the acceptance of new memes. Memeplexes comprise groups of memes that replicate together and coadapt.[20] Memes that fit within a successful memeplex may gain acceptance by “piggybacking” on the success of the memeplex. As an example, John D. Gottsch discusses the transmission, mutation and selection of religious memeplexes and the theistic memes contained.[31] Theistic memes discussed include the “prohibition of aberrant sexual practices such as incest, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, castration, and religious prostitution”, which may have increased vertical transmission of the parent religious memeplex. Similar memes are thereby included in the majority of religious memeplexes, and harden over time; they become an “inviolable canon” or set of dogmas, eventually finding their way into secular law. This could also be referred to as the propagation of a taboo.

The discipline of memetics, which dates from the mid-1980s, provides an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept of the meme. Memeticists have proposed that just as memes function analogously to genes, memetics functions analogously to genetics. Memetics attempts to apply conventional scientific methods (such as those used in population genetics and epidemiology) to explain existing patterns and transmission of cultural ideas.

Principal criticisms of memetics include the claim that memetics ignores established advances in other fields of cultural study, such as sociology, cultural anthropology, cognitive psychology, and social psychology. Questions remain whether or not the meme concept counts as a validly disprovable scientific theory. This view regards memetics as a theory in its infancy: a protoscience to proponents, or a pseudoscience to some detractors.

An objection to the study of the evolution of memes in genetic terms (although not to the existence of memes) involves a perceived gap in the gene/meme analogy: the cumulative evolution of genes depends on biological selection-pressures neither too great nor too small in relation to mutation-rates. There seems no reason to think that the same balance will exist in the selection pressures on memes.[32]

Luis Benitez-Bribiesca M.D., a critic of memetics, calls the theory a “pseudoscientific dogma” and “a dangerous idea that poses a threat to the serious study of consciousness and cultural evolution”. As a factual criticism, Benitez-Bribiesca points to the lack of a “code script” for memes (analogous to the DNA of genes), and to the excessive instability of the meme mutation mechanism (that of an idea going from one brain to another), which would lead to a low replication accuracy and a high mutation rate, rendering the evolutionary process chaotic.[33]

British political philosopher John Gray has characterized Dawkins’ memetic theory of religion as “nonsense” and “not even a theory… the latest in a succession of ill-judged Darwinian metaphors”, comparable to Intelligent Design in its value as a science.[34]

Another critique comes from semiotic theorists such as Deacon[35] and Kull.[36] This view regards the concept of “meme” as a primitivized concept of “sign”. The meme is thus described in memetics as a sign lacking a triadic nature. Semioticians can regard a meme as a “degenerate” sign, which includes only its ability of being copied. Accordingly, in the broadest sense, the objects of copying are memes, whereas the objects of translation and interpretation are signs.[clarification needed]

Fracchia and Lewontin regard memetics as reductionist and inadequate.[37] Evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr disapproved of Dawkins’ gene-based view and usage of the term “meme”, asserting it to be an “unnecessary synonym” for “concept”, reasoning that concepts are not restricted to an individual or a generation, may persist for long periods of time, and may evolve.[38]

Opinions differ as to how best to apply the concept of memes within a “proper” disciplinary framework. One view sees memes as providing a useful philosophical perspective with which to examine cultural evolution. Proponents of this view (such as Susan Blackmore and Daniel Dennett) argue that considering cultural developments from a meme’s-eye viewas if memes themselves respond to pressure to maximise their own replication and survivalcan lead to useful insights and yield valuable predictions into how culture develops over time. Others such as Bruce Edmonds and Robert Aunger have focused on the need to provide an empirical grounding for memetics to become a useful and respected scientific discipline.[39][40]

A third approach, described by Joseph Poulshock, as “radical memetics” seeks to place memes at the centre of a materialistic theory of mind and of personal identity.[41]

Prominent researchers in evolutionary psychology and anthropology, including Scott Atran, Dan Sperber, Pascal Boyer, John Tooby and others, argue the possibility of incompatibility between modularity of mind and memetics.[citation needed] In their view, minds structure certain communicable aspects of the ideas produced, and these communicable aspects generally trigger or elicit ideas in other minds through inference (to relatively rich structures generated from often low-fidelity input) and not high-fidelity replication or imitation. Atran discusses communication involving religious beliefs as a case in point. In one set of experiments he asked religious people to write down on a piece of paper the meanings of the Ten Commandments. Despite the subjects’ own expectations of consensus, interpretations of the commandments showed wide ranges of variation, with little evidence of consensus. In another experiment, subjects with autism and subjects without autism interpreted ideological and religious sayings (for example, “Let a thousand flowers bloom” or “To everything there is a season”). People with autism showed a significant tendency to closely paraphrase and repeat content from the original statement (for example: “Don’t cut flowers before they bloom”). Controls tended to infer a wider range of cultural meanings with little replicated content (for example: “Go with the flow” or “Everyone should have equal opportunity”). Only the subjects with autismwho lack the degree of inferential capacity normally associated with aspects of theory of mindcame close to functioning as “meme machines”.[42]

In his book The Robot’s Rebellion, Stanovich uses the memes and memeplex concepts to describe a program of cognitive reform that he refers to as a “rebellion”. Specifically, Stanovich argues that the use of memes as a descriptor for cultural units is beneficial because it serves to emphasize transmission and acquisition properties that parallel the study of epidemiology. These properties make salient the sometimes parasitic nature of acquired memes, and as a result individuals should be motivated to reflectively acquire memes using what he calls a “Neurathian bootstrap” process.[43]

Although social scientists such as Max Weber sought to understand and explain religion in terms of a cultural attribute, Richard Dawkins called for a re-analysis of religion in terms of the evolution of self-replicating ideas apart from any resulting biological advantages they might bestow.

As an enthusiastic Darwinian, I have been dissatisfied with explanations that my fellow-enthusiasts have offered for human behaviour. They have tried to look for ‘biological advantages’ in various attributes of human civilization. For instance, tribal religion has been seen as a mechanism for solidifying group identity, valuable for a pack-hunting species whose individuals rely on cooperation to catch large and fast prey. Frequently the evolutionary preconception in terms of which such theories are framed is implicitly group-selectionist, but it is possible to rephrase the theories in terms of orthodox gene selection.

He argued that the role of key replicator in cultural evolution belongs not to genes, but to memes replicating thought from person to person by means of imitation. These replicators respond to selective pressures that may or may not affect biological reproduction or survival.[15]

In her book The Meme Machine, Susan Blackmore regards religions as particularly tenacious memes. Many of the features common to the most widely practiced religions provide built-in advantages in an evolutionary context, she writes. For example, religions that preach of the value of faith over evidence from everyday experience or reason inoculate societies against many of the most basic tools people commonly use to evaluate their ideas. By linking altruism with religious affiliation, religious memes can proliferate more quickly because people perceive that they can reap societal as well as personal rewards. The longevity of religious memes improves with their documentation in revered religious texts.[20]

Aaron Lynch attributed the robustness of religious memes in human culture to the fact that such memes incorporate multiple modes of meme transmission. Religious memes pass down the generations from parent to child and across a single generation through the meme-exchange of proselytism. Most people will hold the religion taught them by their parents throughout their life. Many religions feature adversarial elements, punishing apostasy, for instance, or demonizing infidels. In Thought Contagion Lynch identifies the memes of transmission in Christianity as especially powerful in scope. Believers view the conversion of non-believers both as a religious duty and as an act of altruism. The promise of heaven to believers and threat of hell to non-believers provide a strong incentive for members to retain their belief. Lynch asserts that belief in the Crucifixion of Jesus in Christianity amplifies each of its other replication advantages through the indebtedness believers have to their Savior for sacrifice on the cross. The image of the crucifixion recurs in religious sacraments, and the proliferation of symbols of the cross in homes and churches potently reinforces the wide array of Christian memes.[26]

Although religious memes have proliferated in human cultures, the modern scientific community has been relatively resistant to religious belief. Robertson (2007) [44] reasoned that if evolution is accelerated in conditions of propagative difficulty,[45] then we would expect to encounter variations of religious memes, established in general populations, addressed to scientific communities. Using a memetic approach, Robertson deconstructed two attempts to privilege religiously held spirituality in scientific discourse. Advantages of a memetic approach as compared to more traditional “modernization” and “supply side” theses in understanding the evolution and propagation of religion were explored.

In Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology, Jack Balkin argued that memetic processes can explain many of the most familiar features of ideological thought. His theory of “cultural software” maintained that memes form narratives, social networks, metaphoric and metonymic models, and a variety of different mental structures. Balkin maintains that the same structures used to generate ideas about free speech or free markets also serve to generate racistic beliefs. To Balkin, whether memes become harmful or maladaptive depends on the environmental context in which they exist rather than in any special source or manner to their origination. Balkin describes racist beliefs as “fantasy” memes that become harmful or unjust “ideologies” when diverse peoples come together, as through trade or competition.[46]

In A Theory of Architecture, Nikos Salingaros speaks of memes as “freely propagating clusters of information” which can be beneficial or harmful. He contrasts memes to patterns and true knowledge, characterizing memes as “greatly simplified versions of patterns” and as “unreasoned matching to some visual or mnemonic prototype”.[47] Taking reference to Dawkins, Salingaros emphasizes that they can be transmitted due to their own communicative properties, that “the simpler they are, the faster they can proliferate”, and that the most successful memes “come with a great psychological appeal”.[48]

Architectural memes, according to Salingaros, can have destructive power. “Images portrayed in architectural magazines representing buildings that could not possibly accommodate everyday uses become fixed in our memory, so we reproduce them unconsciously.”[49] He lists various architectural memes that circulated since the 1920s and which, in his view, have led to contemporary architecture becoming quite decoupled from human needs. They lack connection and meaning, thereby preventing “the creation of true connections necessary to our understanding of the world”. He sees them as no different from antipatterns in software design as solutions that are false but are re-utilized nonetheless.[50]

An “Internet meme” is a concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based E-mailing, blogs, forums, imageboards like 4chan, social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, instant messaging, social news sites like Reddit, and video hosting services like YouTube and Twitch.tv.[51]

In 2013 Richard Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as one deliberately altered by human creativity, distinguished from Dawkins’s original idea involving mutation by random change and a form of Darwinian selection.[52]

One technique of meme mapping represents the evolution and transmission of a meme across time and space.[53] Such a meme map uses a figure-8 diagram (an analemma) to map the gestation (in the lower loop), birth (at the choke point), and development (in the upper loop) of the selected meme. Such meme maps are nonscalar, with time mapped onto the y-axis and space onto the x-axis transect. One can read the temporal progression of the mapped meme from south to north on such a meme map. Paull has published a worked example using the “organics meme” (as in organic agriculture).[53]

See the rest here:

Meme – Wikipedia

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Summary, for those in a hurry:

Memetics deals with information transfer, specifically cultural information in society. The basic idea is to conflate the exchange of information between people with genetic material, to track the mutation of ideas as they are transmitted from one person to the next in the way you could track viral transmissions and mutations. However, a meme also provides benefits to the carrier if they spread it.

Meme : Memetics :: Gene : Genetics

Memetics does NOT refer to telepathy, ESP or any imaginary psychic mental magic. These words are memetic, and if you understand them then they are having a completely ordinary memetic effect on you.

Memetics in regards to SCP objects tends to focus on the impossible rather than the mundane, regarding effects that are transmitted via information. In general, the effects themselves should remain in the realm of information. A memetic SCP would be more likely to be a phrase that makes you think you have wings as opposed to a phrase that makes you actually grow a pair of wings. If you write up magic words that make people grow wings, it should be described as something other than memetic.

Memetic SCPs do not emanate auras or project beams. They are SCPs which involve ideas and symbols which trigger a response in those who understand them.

Memetic is often incorrectly used by new personnel as the official sounding term for “Weird Mind Shit.” However, that is not actually what memetic means. These words are memetic. They are producing a memetic effect in your mind right now, without any magical mind rays lashing out of your computer monitor to grasp your fragile consciousness. Memes are information, more specifically, cultural information.

Outside of the Foundation’s walls the concept of memetics is not taken very seriously; it is a theory that conflates the transfer of cultural information with evolutionary biology.

meme : memetic :: gene : genetic

The idea was that certain memes prosper and others wither the same way certain genes produce stronger offspring that out-compete creatures with different genes. Also, it is easy to compare the spread and mutation of information to the spread of a virus. The reason we use the term memetic in our work is largely due to this, as the truly dangerous memes out there can spread like wildfire due to the fact that the very knowledge of them can count as an infection.

Understanding the true nature of memetic threats is critical to surviving them. You cannot wear a special set of magical goggles made of telekill to protect yourself from a meme. THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING. If you just read those words in your head with a bad Teutonic accent, congratulations on being victim to yet another memetic effect. If you did not know that phrase was an oft-repeated quote from the Simpsons then congratulations; you are now infected with that knowledge and are free to participate in its spread.

A meme perpetuates itself by being beneficial to the carrier to spread to new hosts. You now understand that THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING; you’re in on the joke. However, you might have friends who aren’t, and don’t get it. It benefits you to explain them, because then you both have something new to laugh together about when it gets brought up. This is what makes a meme effective – how much incentive a carrier has to spread it. Unless an anomalous meme’s effect is the compulsive urge for the carrier to infect others, there needs to be incentive to spread it.

An artifact can no more have a memetic aura or project a memetic beam than a creature could have a genetic aura or genetic beam. Even though you could imagine a creature with genes that allow it to produce some kind of aura or beam like a big doofy X-man, remember that the examples we have of such creatures in containment are not getting their super-powered emanations from anything resembling our scientific understanding of genetics and biology. Neither are the memetic artifacts. We contain these things specifically because we cannot understand or explain them yet. At the end of the day we’re still using a clumsy concept to describe things we don’t have a full grasp of.

It is very rare that anything with a dangerous memetic component could be described as hostile to begin with. We do not contain memetic threats because they are out to get us. They are threats because it is dangerous for us to merely perceive them. It is exceptionally rare for dangerous memes to even have anything resembling sapience with the exception of certain known entities which exist entirely within the medium of “cultural information” such as SCP-, SCP-732 and SCP-423.

A dangerous meme is basically a trigger that sets off something inside of you that you may or may have not been aware of. What would your knee jerk reaction be to knowing that your rival is sleeping with your one true love? How would you react if you were to unwittingly catch them in the act? That kind of sudden revelation can make a mild mannered citizen into a killer, so don’t be surprised that there are other strange bits of information out there that can break the human mind in different yet equally drastic ways.

Protecting yourself from memetic threat is very tricky and can be worse than the threat itself. There are reasons that we behave the way we do, there are reasons our emotions soar when we hear just the right combination of sounds in a piece of music. Do you want to stop thinking about the Simpsons or your obnoxious nerdy friends that quote it every time you hear the phrase THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING? That would require forgetting about the Simpsons and your friends.

Do you want to survive hearing or reading the phrase ” ?” Well, sadly we don’t quite know what other information you need to forget or know to prevent [DATA EXPUNGED] but we’re getting better. Lobotomies and pills help, and are one of the few times that the cure is not worse than the disease. The sum total of our human condition; our cultural knowledge and upbringing and memories and identity; this is what makes us susceptible to the occasional memetic compulsion.

So it’s not the basalt monolith or its bizarre carvings that is making you strangle your companions with your own intestines, the problem was within you all along.

Should you ever find yourself under a memetic compulsion and aware of the fact, remember that there are certain mental exercises that you can perform which may save your life or the lives of your companions. Changing the information your mind is being presented with may just change how you react to it, and the more abrupt or absurd the change is the better.

Imagine the fearsome entity is wearing a bright pink nightgown. Draw a mustache on the haunted painting. Pee on the stone altar. Wear the terrible sculpture like a hat.

And if all else fails, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. I’m not kidding. That could actually help.

– Dr. Johannes Sorts received a special dispensation to use the word “doofy” in this document

But seriously

This was originally intended as a piece of fiction on its own before it got stuck into the information bar with plenty of other plainly out-of-character writing guides. So here’s the important things to take away:

1 – “Memetics” is a specific concept regarding information exchange. It has nothing to do with telepathy or ESP or psychic compulsions.

2 – SCP-148 has no effect on anything memetic. Don’t screw this up or we will give you an incredibly hard time about it.

3 – Psychic compulsions are lame and you should think twice before using them in your new SCP, even if you avoid misusing the term “memetic” when you do it.

4 – Sorts’ Rule for all memetic SCPs is “Memetic effect + crazy to death = failure.”

5 – Wear it like a haaaaat!!

See the article here:

Understanding Memetics – SCP Foundation

Memes, memes everywhere | SunStar – Sun.Star

MEMESAN ongoing social phenomenon. These often come in the form of funny pictures and texts combined, creating jokes that are passed on across cultures throughout the world wide web.

One cannot possibly open social media or at the very least use the internet without coming across memes. For baby boomers (the generation born before the internet began), these things are mere silly distractions that take up most of generation Ys time. However, the truth is, theres more to it than meets the eye.

To address this misunderstanding between two different generations, Tropical Futures Institute (TFI) held a one night only open-sourced exhibit of memes entitled The Meme Show last Aug. 18. TFI is a loose group of like-minded individuals, an arm of 856 G Gallery that focuses on neo-centric community shows, focused more on bringing people together as emphasized by Anne Amores, assistant gallerist of 856 G Gallery.

Anyone can join. Its a celebration of the meme culture and were trying to elevate memes into an art form which it arguably is, said Zach Aldave, meme enthusiast and a member of TFI.

Memes relate to the Dada movement. The dada began as a reaction to the limitation of art. Dada started like that; its anti-art art. We can relate that to memes, which are satirical social commentaries, he continued. Its a super-mutated form of satire, added Anne.

The interrelation of cultures before was brought about by intercontinental travels and interracial marriages. Back in the day, globally educating oneself was expensive and entailed one to physically expose himself to another culture, but in the present generation this happens in a different way, more accessible and easier.

If you look at the meme and you strip all the unnecessary sh*tall the irony and all the humorit boils down to being just a pure form of social commentary, said Zach.

Memes are cultural symbols or social ideas in the form of jokes, and are virally transmitted through wires without needing one to get out of the house. So despite the fact that one is just staring into the computer screen reading memes, one is actually being educated about the varying cultures from the different corners of the Earth.

As a form of art, memes are also forms of expression. Some memes exhibit dark humor which represents the sector from which it comes, and which a lot of people surprisingly empathize with.

Some memes are also sort of expressing deeply seated feelings like depression. Whats good about memes is that these are like an outlet for a lot of people who are struggling. Usually theyre cloaked in irony or humor, and they empathize with each other through memes, said Anne.

Unknown by many, memes can be traced back in history. It is being brought to light as a science with a study called Memetics. Memetics is a study begun by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. In this study, memes are understood to be cultural genes, carrying cultural information from one person to another and human beings are vehicles of their transmission.

Original post:

Memes, memes everywhere | SunStar – Sun.Star