Re: DEF: memes (was MEDIA: >MTV)

Anders Sandberg (
31 Mar 1999 11:59:22 +0200

Julian Leviston <> writes:

> What are memes? I've seen it a lot, so I recognise that it's probably a
> core issue with extropy.

Not really a core issue, but something extropians tend to speak much about.

The word meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in _The Selfish Gene_ in analogy to gene to denote a thought/idea that could spread from person to person. A typical example would be a joke or rumor, but much more complex memes like religions or extropianism are possible (these are really large groups of cooperating memes). Memes are subjected to evolution, and the whole idea of memetics is of course also a meme. Now you're infected! :-)

Of course, this is a slightly controversial subject, since some people think the meme concept is too wague or ill-defined to be useful, but even when viewed as an analogy it can produce inspiring insights IMHO.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y