Sunday, March 3, 2013

Meme Wars (Part 5)

A war for mind share is going on around us.  Ideas struggle for territory in our brains.  In Part 5 of Meme Wars we consider current technologies enabling memes to struggle for mind share.

Meme WarsPart 1 - Part 2 - Part 3  - Part 4 - Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7

Like the bodies immune system, meme's protect themselves
(click for video)
Meme Immunity

As when specialization happened during Renaissance meme reproduction, we are now specializing by ideology and familiarity.  Like attracts like and we form into reading and writing communities.  Our minds are attracted to our desires and prejudices.  Individuals now filter which information streams they will allow to reproduce memes in their brains.

Many people are limiting meme reproduction by only speaking and listening to those they know in a physical world.  Friends on Facebook and Google are allowed into our streams of consciousness because we already are familiar with them.  We visit websites that contain information we want to read and ignore those with voices that could change our minds.

Most minds have memes which are developing an immune system like structure to protect our brains from ideas that could threaten or change us.  Like white blood cells, our brain's memes attacks ideas that are unfamiliar or disliked.  We reinforce these meme’s by reproducing them in posts, blogs, and texts.

Death of Thought?

Pictures of cute pets and single sentence sentiments are plentiful.  Our ability to write and be read so quickly and easily is allowing the most base of human thought to bubble to the surface.

Memes that are winning the battle for mind share?
Complex thoughts are being reduced, over simplified and shared widely.  Effortless, emotional appeals are trumping thoughtful logic and considered thought.  Our information flow is so fast and furious that factual knowledge is being reduced to absurdity, being lost in a stream of silliness.

More dangerous, perhaps, is the tendency toward verbal violence and extreme speech.  Ridicule has become a standard means of communication.  Cruel one-liners are replacing patient understanding. True dialog to understand one another dissolves into shouting matches.  We seem in many circles to be devolving into name-calling ideologues.

Ideas that require more than one sentence or single picture are being lost in the shuffle by our new filters.  With so much information, minds trend toward easy to digest bits of information.  Our capacity for deep, introspective thought is giving way to shallow, surface communication.

At the same time our minds are being bombarded by memes desiring reproduction, we are filtering all but simple, short ones out.  Complex ideas which can not be reduced to sentiment are losing in this fight for mind share.  Our meme immune systems must develop more complexity in order for us to regain control of our own minds.  If we do not we may reduce ourselves to absurdity.

In part 6 of Meme Wars we explore political and social effects of a new meme landscape.

Meme WarsPart 1 - Part 2 - Part 3  - Part 4 - Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7

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