example the Joe Piscapo sketch from Saturday Night Live, "Oh, you from
Jersey? I'm from Jersey! What exit?" The joke is people from New Jersey
identify where they live by which exit is closest on the New Jersey
Turnpike. From what I gather from my friends who are from New
Jersey is that no one from Jersey says this and that they find it
offensive. Stereotypes would seem to be related to this, to these memes
that evince a strong response in out-groupers to recognize in-group
members, or that in-groupers are being referenced. As with all memes,
there is nothing guaranteeing that these be logical, consistent, or
A memetic hacker (a person with whom I have a purely meta-memetic exchange, i.e., we talk about
the memetic system, not through it, as with a psychologist, a memetic
researcher, or a trusted spiritual advisor), I can enact any meme I
like, since I am not out for a genuine memetic reward.
Memes that trigger in-group members to go into a different memetic
state, or change the current memetic inventory available to them. The
presence or non-presence of a perceived out-grouper could be such a
trigger. Another SNL reference is Eddie Murphy's sketch where he played
an African-American man who put on "whiteface" and went among white
(ethnic Northern European) people and found that, as the joke went,
white people completely change their behavior when the last non-white
person leaves the bus, room, etc. It becomes a party, everybody is open
and nice to one another, and so on. This is often a component of racist
narratives, by the way, that one group or the other, usually both each
in their own way, has some kind of "secret life" which may only come
into being when no members of the other group are present. This can
center around race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and so,
and conjures images of shared intimacies, orgies even, kindness,
relaxing of harsh rules which are in full force when the other group is
around. Reaction memes are those that tell the
members of the memetic cohort to change their memetic inventory, either
to go into a state of not being able to enact some of the memes they
normally would, or to have a larger or different set of memes.
Performing the act of imitating some behavior, i.e., a meme. Are memes simply triggered as the result of an incoming meme? That is
not the model, really, that is, an automaton. The idea is that given a
certain memetic state, the individual has the opportunity to deploy
certain memes based on their perceived chance of garnering memetic rewards,
which is a physiological gratification response (also somewhat
light-heartedly known as a "memetic orgasm"). There are a couple of
problems here: one is that the individual's assessment of a chance for
reward may be wrong, and they may not be perfectly skilled at deploying
the meme which would otherwise net said reward.
Responding with a physiological reaction, e.g., laughter or tears, or the deployment of any of a set of "expected" or "appropriate" memes, in response to a meme deployed by another. Note that this may also be giving no reaction under certain circumstances. This would typically occur in a special memetic state. For example, the realization that all persons present were members of the same sect, political persuasion, gender, hobby interest, etc. Among nudists, for example, one of the memetic rewards one expects from one's cohort is that of not reacting when one takes off all of ones clothing. Likewise, in other groups, one might make a remark or gesture which would be very inappropriate in a general setting (different memetic state where different reaction memes apply), would expect to be greeted with (mild) agreement, or even just (approving) silence, i.e., one "got away with it", so to speak. Note also that the resonance memes deployed may or may not be "nice". One may still be a member of an oppressed racial, religious, gender, etc., group, but still have a rich panoply of memes one may deploy to elicit a resonance response, in fact, one may have more such memes available than a "non-oppressed" person. It's just that those memes overwhelmingly result in mistreatment and denial of resources. Lack of opportunities for resonance is related to memetic destitution.
If there are few
reaction meme systems available to be stimulated by interface memes from
another group, then we are in a state of alienation or memetic destitution.
That is, the groups cannot interact with one another at a memetic
level, and this leads to violence, and possibly...apathy. Note that
memetic destitution is not the same thing as oppression. A group
may be oppressed vis-a-vis another and still have a rich interplay of
interface memes between the groups. The oppressed group may be denied
freedom, access to services and basic necessities, but not (yet) be in a
state of memetic destitution. This is the theory, at any rate, and
more research on the relationship and interplay between these two
quantifies would almost certainly be useful.
Residual Memetic Debt
Related to a memetic loop and to memetic reward. Memetic debt is incurred during the effort to enact or to learn to enact a meme Once the memetic loop is closed, i.e., the meme is successfully enacted and this is rewarded by resonance from the cohort (which the individual may have just entered), the memetic debt is resolved. Residual memetic debt is incurred when the individual is not allowed to enact the given meme(s), or is not rewarded appropriately for doing so. This is another micromemetic concept which is one of the few I include here. This is how intergenerational abuse functions: the child (victim) is not allowed to reciprocate, or close the memetic loop, on the abuse heaped on by their more powerful abuser (who may also have the prevailing memeplex on their side), until they themselves become a parent and are finally able to close the memetic reward loop with their own children, effectively getting to enact the other half of the exchange which was denied them up to that point. The pent-up desire to redeem residual memetic debt is a motivation for remaining in abusive situations.
The study of the behavior of memes at a
conceptual level, e.g., how they are transmitted, their effect on
individual human behavior, how they are transmitted from one person to the next, etc.
study of systems of memes (memeplexes) at a large scale, i.e., large numbers of memes interacting with one another as systems withing large human populations, interactions between large memeplexes. A comparison could be drawn with Hari Seldon's Psychohistory from Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, i.e., a deterministic, mathematical discipline for accurately predicting the behavior of large populations of human beings. Contrasted
Also called "memetic
orgasm". The driving force for humans to enact (or deploy), and
resonate with memes. Theoretically humans experience a "rush" or
"pleasure reward" when they successfully enact a meme, or when they
close a memetic loop(3). This is actually a micromemetic concept, one of the few I'll use herein. It is also a candidate for a way of "proving" that memetics may be (physiologically) accurately measured, much like the X-ray crystalography of the DNA molecule provided evidence that the human genome might possibly exist as a collection of information and might be entirely stored in these long-chained molecules. This may be one of the first places where quantitative units may begin to be applied to memetics, e.g., if the "memetic reward" turns out to be a cocktail of blush response, galvanic response, blood pressure, etc., or even just a firing of some very specific and localized nerves in a specific part of the human brain, then things like quantities, thresholds, latency periods, and so forth, could begin to be assigned, once the details of this process are identified.
Along with the memetic
reward, the concept of the "memetic loop" forms the motivational basis
for an individual to participate in a memeplex, even a dysfunctional
one. When one individual enacts a meme and a second uninurred(4)
individual shows they have learnt it by imitating it back to the
initiator or resonates (enacts an appropriate response meme) with the
enacted meme, the loop initiated by the first person is closed, or
completed, giving a physiological reward to all involved. Note that this
theoretically forms the basis for intergenerational abusive behavior,
but that is outside the scope of this essay.
A special class of signal meme which is enacted in response to an alien meme, that is, a meme which is not in the memetic inventory(8) of the given memetic cohort(9)
Also known as a "Functional Meme" or a "Mechanomeme".
Memeplex (Memetic System)
The memes that make up a given memeplex (as opposed to the entire memetic fabric, which is the memespace). The degree of inurement of an individual by a given memeplex depends on how many of the memes in the inventory of said memeplex the individual is infected with. Memetic
inventory of a memeplex or individual or memetic state and is what
defines in-group and out-group status of a person or a meme. It's the
set of all memes that make up the memeplex or sub-memeplex, or the set
of all memes the individual is able to enact (which may span partly or
completely multiple memeplexes). This is distinguished from a
A memespace is the set of all memes residing within a given memetic fabric
The matrix formed by all the minds in a memetically connected population (as opposed to a cohort), specifically the capacity of that matrix to support the activity of memes copying and transmitting themselves and competing with one another.
The collection of individuals inured of a given memeplex. A cohort is the group of people who
are inurred of the given memeplex or in a shared memetic state(10).
Related to a memetic fabric(13). However, a cohort refers to the set of
all individuals that participate in a memeplex, whereas a memetic fabric
can be a superset in that it is the set of all collected brains in
communication with one another in an interconnected community all of
which may or may not be inurred of the memeplex in question. See memetic
A memetic state refers to when
an individual is able to enact a larger number of memes reliably,
usually because they are in a special state of attention with other
individuals (see also "memetic hacking"(12)), usually individuals
sharing some kind of common interest or persuasion, e.g., same religion,
speakers of a common language(s), same hobbies or interests or
profession such as gun owners, car fanatics, manga nerds/otaku,
engineers, parents of young children, etc. The result is that such a
sub-cohort(9) can exchange more memes more efficiently, with a larger
inventory of shared memes, and can place those individuals in a state
where practically every meme they deploy produces a strong
resonance, and can lead to a memetic orgy(14). A teaching scenario may
also produce a high memetic density(15) state, and may be the motivation
for pursuit of this occupation.
Whether an individual resonates with a given meme. More research and definition needed here. A person may be passively receptive, i.e., recognize the meme but not react outwardly to it, react outwardly (such as laughing at a joke or following a line of discussion in which the meme is a pivotal element, etc.), or even actively propagating the meme from simply repeating it (deploying or enacting) when opportunities arise.
The internalization of a given meme (or memeplex) such
that one resonates with the enactment of said meme(s) by another, or is
able to enact them in response to appropriate signal (triggering) memes.
A collection of individuals who are in communication with one another such that it is possible for them to exchange memes, e.g., they live in the same area, share a common language, use/consume the same media, etc. Also referred to as a community.
MIAO (Memetic Iconic Anchoring Object)
An object (can be abstract) to which memes may be associated. Appearance or invocation of the MIAO makes all of the associated memes available. Branding is an example of MIAO creation/engineering.
MIAOs are another important concept, particularly as concerns racism,
stereotyping, and cultural cooption. MIAOs are objects to which memes
may be attached, that is, they invoke memes when they appear. This is
where the sometimes fine line between memes and "iconic objects" comes
in. An object or image such as a coffee cup, a cat (or a caricature of
one), a swastika, etc., is clearly not a meme since it cannot be
"imitated". One could draw or make one, but that is not imitating the
object itself. But what do we mean by a meme being "attached" or
"anchored" to an object? We could say that when a person is exposed to a
MIAO, there are all sorts of memes attached to that MIAO, and if they
are interface memes for reaction memes for the memetic state that person
is in, then the MIAO can effectively trigger those reaction memes.
memetic orgy is a chain-reaction situation produced when a cohort(9)
are in a state(10) where almost all memes deployed resonate and
continues to build and maintain a high level of memetic resonance over
an extended period. Obviously the deployment of memes in this scenario
produces very reliable rewards, which is a major point of this essay.
The interconnectedness of a collection of memes in a given state of a given group of individuals (community). Also, the likelihood that deployment of a given meme will produce a strong resonance. This is related to a memetic orgy, i.e., a state in which there is a rich choice of deployable memes which will produce a strong reaction in the rest of the group. The number of meme pathways that are dead ends or which are not shared by a high percentage of membes are few.
The extent do which individuals comprising a fabric
respond to a given MIAO(17) by enacting any of the memes within a given
memeples associated with the MIAO. For example, there are a number of
memes surrounding religion, feminism, or any other dogma or "belief
system", which might be classed as "for" and "against" (I use these
terms loosely). The degree to which individuals in a fabric tend to
resonate to or enact any of the memes of the memeplex attached to a
given MIAO is the memetic polarization of the fabric (as opposed to some
cohort). For example, if wearing a T-shirt with a given image or slogan
elicits some kind of response within a given memeplex from most ever
person in a community, one could say that the fabric is highly polarized
around that MIAO. For example, when I wear a gun rights shirt in my
community, many people notice and respond positively, including
inquiring where they might obtain a similar shirt. However, wearing a
"The Patriarchy made me do it" shirt elicits only very occasional
response (sometimes quite strong), but largely no reaction (despite my
community have a large population of young university students). This
suggests that the fabric here is not very polarized around the concept
of "The Patriarchy", i.e., many people either are unaware of the concept
or have no memes to enact around it, in other words they are not
members of any cohort related to "feminism" or any reaction group
against "feminism". This could be related to "apathy", but this is
another concept I hope to explore later, i.e., "apathy" as an