In a week where I could not get my sleepometer full, much has happened. Clyde is primed, so grab a cuppa and snuggle into a rocker. You might need a big one to celebrate your gift. Let’s talk.
In the last month, The M3 Blog has passed some milestones, only one of which was noticed.
El Guapo made the 25,000th comment.
The Million Word Meter reached 3/4 full, 750,000 words.
M3’s 900th post went live.
Reached more than 2,000,000 page views this year.
For all of your faithful support of M3, please accept this award.
No rules. No requirements. You have already done it by supporting M3 through reading, commenting and sharing. As inadequate as it sounds, thank you. Feel free to pass it along to your readers who are stars. You are absolutely the stars in my universe.
The theme which developed this week centered on communication. It spoke to you.
Colleen took the brevity to heart.
Candy took Mine to class.
Confusion took Meme
Memes are indeed pictures with quotes overlaid. Memes are also people who scream about themselves (or passive aggressively get you to ask about them, so they can whine). The fad is celebrity merely for the sake of celebrity.
You are stars because you effectively communicate with me on topics others leave behind. Even when I am certain I am preaching to the choir, you are belting out the chorus in unison. You really are stars.
I laughed and laughed at some of the responses to Wordless Wednesday this week! Good grief. You even laughed at each other.
The names are:
1. Comme ci, comme ça
4. Pink Pearls
5. Drinking Bird
Your favorite so far is #3. Look for some different takes and some new questions on the fractals for the rest of this month. Did you see the other two fractals nestled into posts this week?
Right Turn, Clyde!
Clyde got stuck between Mine and Meme. In fact, he got hung up on the concept of selfish. Let’s consult our definition guru:
selfish: adjective \ˈsel-fish\
- concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
- arising from concern with one’s own welfare or advantage in disregard of others
- being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function <selfish DNA>; also :being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication
The first one is just malicious, regardless of which portion of the definition we read. Excess in any arena leads to disaster. When anyone concentrates merely on themselves, they become too lopsided to actually stand erect.
The second definition would be acceptable were it not for the last four words. Selfish to the extent it is self-preservation is not a bad thing. It is when selfishness rises to the level it disregards the consequences to others it becomes a bad thing.
The third definition is basis the meme cultural phenomenon we observe every day. Richard Dawkins‘ theory is: Evolution is not based on the chemical properties of genetics but instead on the existence of the self-replicating unit of transmission (gene). Ergo, behaviors can evolve with a sufficient quantity and pervasiveness of the replicator.¹ (fashion, music, adages).
Just like multiplication is taught through drills and repetition, so are behaviors, especially social behaviors.
One easy example to see is the loss of accent by those who emigrate. As they assimilate into the new culture, the immigrant will unconsciously mimic the speech patterns of those around them. When presenting in their country of origin, natives will comment on the change in their speech, even if the person has no consciousness of the change.
Speech has another incarnation of the mimeme principle: Evolution of language. Over time our lexicons change. Words are used out of context in the presence of those who do not know their true meaning. The Listener repeats the misuse of the word, teaching the new listener the meaning as they have come to know it. Eventually, the new definition is adopted and added to the lexicon.
The inverse is a strengthening of the mimeme principle. When we no longer use words, they become archaic and are “naturally selected” out of the lexicon.
The pictorial meme we see passed on social media today is the equivalent of a virus. The information they transmit may or may not be true, yet still we allow them to replicate nearly unchecked. Those who know the truth are unlikely to transmit the virus, preferring to kill them to stop the cultural spread.
Religion and politics are other viral memes. The ideals transmit generationally faster than the vertical passing from parent to child and use both motivational and adversative memes.
Motivational and adversative memes work the same way in opposite direction. Motivational memes encourage behavior where adversative memes encourage attacking or denigrating other memes.
John Wilkins’ definition of a meme unit is “the last unit of sociocultural information relative to a selection process that has favourable or unfavourable selection bias that exceeds its endogenous tendency to change.”² Short version? Enduring ideas which pass from one person to the next successfully through imitation.
Since ideas are hard to quantify, memes are measured by their effect. The same way we look at eye color (the result of a number of genes combined), we can see the effects memes have on our culture in terms of shifting ideals.
The marriage of Wilkins’ definition and Dawkins’ theory give us a cultural mutation (virus). The Screaming Mimi, a woman who screams incessantly- generally to draw attention and favor to herself, has mutated into the meme we see in reality television, tabloids and on social media.
These people spread their beliefs, ideals, viewpoints and ethics (and lack thereof) through the culture relatively unimpeded to large segments of society.
It is enough to make an ape wonder.
How do we determine memes as sustainable? Have you known a positive meme? Can you name a musical meme?
Hashtags: #meme #psychology #sociology
The paper in the second footnote discusses individuals as memes.
Thank you for sharing The M3 Blog with hashtags.
¹Dawkins, R., (1976, 2006) The Selfish Gene, Oxford Press
²Wilkins, John S. (1998), “What’s in a Meme? Reflections from the perspective of the history and philosophy of evolutionary biology“, Journal of Memetics