Buddhist Meme Winging West
Buddhist Meme in Migration

Memes to Come & Memes to Go

Memetics is the study of the spread of ideas
and its mastery is the key to changing minds,
behavior and thus social reality.

Academically, the field of memetics used to be a high-testosterone thunderdome where a host of theorists, researchers and journalists all competed for seminal influence on how the "meme" meme would evolve and who would finally be called "Daddy". The incessant warfare between the hip-shooting virus/disease-metaphor mongers and the reductionist mathematical geneticist wannabes eventually exhausted everyone, it seems, and the whole discipline is currently in the doldrums. Even the basic definition of the term is still in dispute, but an entry level explanation in wide circulation is:

(rhymes with 'dream') A contagious information pattern that replicates by infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. (Term coined by Richard Dawkins, by analogy with "gene".)

Individual concepts, slogans, melodies, inventions, and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it is replicated or repeated to someone else. All education and transmitted knowledge is memetic.

The key thing to remember is that memes instruct recipients on "how to" do something - how to evaluate something, how to play something, how to build something, sing something, incite something, worship something, etc. How we will marry, bury our dead, educate our children, conceive of our own worth and rights, and regard other communities are all largely determined by the dominant memes in our consciousness (both those already in mind & memory and those reverberating in the immediate social surround). The outcome of meme wars thus define us as a people and set our evolutionary course, so it is vital that we at least learn enough to prevail over the mind-numbing/soul-crushing corporate meme storm at hand. (See the Meme Lexicon)

The Academic Theory Wars are great fun (witness the ancient chaos at the alt.memetics newsgroup), but while they rage in the abstract altitudes, thousands of white-collar meme mechanics put in their daily 9-to-5 churning out pernicious or simply pointless memetic contagions for the likes of Madison Ave, mega-corporate legal persons, Hollywood, and the world's enduring Ministries of Truth. These mercenary professionals are much like modern acupuncturists who have to blithely ignore the theoretical mess their field is in to get on with what they feel/see/know will work. Decrying the ominous or inane content of this crowd's memetic output does not detract from their often elegant craftsmanship or distributive genius. So, for better or worse, professional flacks, hacks and marketing whores are perhaps our guides of choice if we seek to quickly excel in the craft ourselves.
Yes, this is a bit sordid, but recall our basic challenge. The trinity of memes we propose to spread are both virtually unknown and officially unpopular. Consider:
  • The Ki Meme - which would awaken public awareness of the extraordinary qualities, powers and industrial theft of human attention (as well as its vital role in sex, healing and corporate bodybuilding):
  • The Big Body Meme - which would expose mega-corporate bodies as truly alive, in charge and out of control;
  • The Earth Hour Meme - which would arouse recurrent revolutionary experience of our specie's essential unity and erotic identity with Gaia.
Since all are controversial and each abets the others to either transcend, transform or subvert current corporate reality, we face a Goliath of a challenge. We thus need -- besides the more conventional virtues -- all the practical guile, cunning and underhanded artistry we can muster. (Check out the overall strategy for Meme Cascades.)

That all being said, a little knowledge is still a dangerous thing and thus of potential utility. Pick up a bit of your own below:

Once you catch the drift of memes,
flow on to more strategic applications

One Simple Way to Spread Benevolent Contagions:
Distribute the Buttons Below with Our URL,
or Better Yet, Design Some Sexier Ones Yourself!

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