“The Deadly Memes” / Memorable Fancies #1209

     Do the stories replicate, making many copies? That is, is the story told by many people at the same time, like the flu, or one at a time, like passing a baton?      And if one meme meets another in someone’s mind, do they sniff each other like dogs, deciding enemy or friend?      And what is each meme trying to get us to do?      Is there an ‘inoculation’ meme that can save us from the others? A prevention, possibly a cure?      And who starts them ... what’s that pounding on … [Read more...]

“The Meme” / Memorable Fancies #843

       I invented a meme, a harmless catch-phrase and the thought behind it. After numerous failed experiments on fellow-drinkers hanging out at my neighborhood bar, I finally hit upon exactly the right cognitive formula that allowed my meme to spread rapidly, a kind of mind-virus.     But then my meme mutated, as a gene would, acquired a taint of suspicion and desperate fear. It became dangerous, but it was out of my hands even as I warned the citizens against it.     The war began … [Read more...]

“Metaphors of Struggle and Peace” / Memorable Fancies #522

     Who controls the metaphors, the memes, the clichés. No one? Everyone? Our leaders? But that’s too simple. It doesn’t recognize that the metaphors, together, form an underlying implicit system, one that defines reality for us, and over which we have no control. We don’t notice this any more than a fish notices water.      Each meme, after all, seeks its own survival and growth. Originally there was a Darwinian struggle in which “our leader has failed” competed with “our leader has … [Read more...]