Monday, March 4, 2013

Meme Wars (Part 7)

A war for mind share is going on around us.  Ideas struggle for territory in our brains.  In the last part of Meme Wars we consider how on science and commerce are effected by battles between memes for minds.

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

Market Memes

Commercial memes spread through advertising
everywhere on the planet
Business uses branding to create demand for their products.  Branding is a type of meme associated with a product or service.  Images, words, and feelings are generated in the brain by the meme that meet needs, create desires, or inspire lust.  Advertising is the art of creating thoughts in human minds.  Advertising, when effective, generates and propagate memes, that reproducing in people’s minds.

Adapting to new meme reproduction methods, advertising has begun to shift meme creation and reproduction strategies to internet, social media, and other information technologies.

This revolution in meme reproduction has disturbed centralized broadcast replication.  Print media is struggling for access to mind share with web pages.  YouTube is capturing eyeballs once controlled by network television. 

Advertisers have long known that younger minds are more receptive to new memes.  Humans now spend three billion hours each week playing video games.  These gamers are largely younger minds.  In order to circulate their memes, business must learn means of reproduction inside these media.

Even in the poorest of societies, pervasive
commercial memes are hard to ignore
Immunity Avoidance

Global consumer business has boomed by being successful and spreading memes.  The poorest countries in the world know what Coca Cola is.  Nike’s meme of “Just Do It” is in most of the planets brains. 

Entertainment media uses meme’s sexuality to grab our attention so that businesses can place their ideas in our brains and associate them with the other attractions.  Sporting events that grab us emotionally are used in similar manners to allow more receptive brains to get meme’s about automobiles.  Demand is thrust upon us unaware.

Commercial memes are intentionally crafted and delivered to avoid our mental immune systems.  There economic success depends upon meme-crafter's ability to do circumvent our minds immunity.

Opinion Makers

On a more strategic level, owners of businesses try to convince get us to act in their best interest by creating memes that distract us.  Pointing to people and branding them as lazy, leeches on society, and “takers”, memes can cause us to act in ways that are not beneficial to us.  Driving down expectations for compassion while driving up anger and fear, these memes warp our view of reality.

Non-compassionate meme generator
Shell Oil has tried to cast itself as caring and for good, while destroying thousands of livelihoods.  Wal-Mart convinces that lower prices are most important for consumers while Main Street dies and wages plummet.  Goldman Sachs did severe damage to the world economy in the 2007 financial collapse yet advertises on public television for how they build small business.

News networks and online media build and circulate memes that tear at the fabric of society.  Belittling their opponents with personal attacks, bad memes about government, economy and society are allowed access to unwary minds. 

Appealing to frustrations and remapping it onto their own desires, meme crafters shift public opinion.  Calling public servants useless, they devalue our ability to help each other.  Politics devolves to personal attacks, civil debate disappears, and solution finding becomes nonexistent as memes wage war in peoples minds.

We have yet to build meme immunity systems that will allow us to keep such bad ideas out of our minds.  Until we do, bad ideas will reproduce and cause havoc.

Religion and Science

A meme war between science and religion is being waged in brains.  Religious memes have a huge “head start” on scientific ones. 

Science and religion engage in a meme war
Around the planet, religion is taught to us when we are very young.  Science is kept from developing minds until much later.  Religious stories enter our brains while they are still forming.  Most western society’s children know of Noah, Adam and Eve, and Christmas before they know of numbers, letters, or discovery methods.

Most religious people acknowledge that other faiths have “bad ideas”.  Immunity memes against other religious beliefs are placed in children’s minds early on, thus barriers for science memes are also set high.

Some memes are more complex and complicated than others.  Complex memes require more time and space in minds to reproduce than simple ones.  Entrenched complex memes are much more successful at holding onto minds.  

The new information technology is allowing education to be individually tailored.  Home schooling, especially for religious people, surges in western cultures.  This permits minds to form without common concepts.  Science memes that were delivered in public schools not long ago are allowed to die out.

Science tends more toward facts and religion tends more toward faith.  In the meme war between them, science will continue to press that advantage.  Will it be enough to overcome early indoctrination by religion into young minds?  Perhaps science needs to shift it's memes to the battlefield of younger minds?


There is a war of ideas struggling to control our brains and thereby our actions.

By examining previous meme wars, we can learn more about those ideological struggles in our own time.

Ideas replicate in human minds in ways similar to biological systems.  New technologies alter how meme’s reproduce.  Our current communication technology is accelerating and focusing meme reproduction. 

Meme wars may never end.
Good ideas (facts) do not always win over bad ideas (myths).  Memes are engaged in an ongoing struggle for supremacy.

Memes can develop immunity to other ideas.  Some memes can stop the entry of other memes into brains.

There are too many ideas for any brain to handle, so we specialize and move toward familiarity memes. We also are trending toward simpler, easier to mentally digest memes and trending away from complex, subtle ones.

Business, religion, governments, and media create memes intentionally.  We are usually unaware of their existence.  They can and do cause us to act against our own interests

Conflicts of ideas occur in our brains regularly.  We need to become aware of these conflicts and build our own immune systems. 

We can build better minds by expending effort to allow complex memes to enter our brains.  Resisting the simple, we must learn to think more deeply to avoid bad memes.

Crafting memes is a relatively new idea itself.  Like DNA, words and pictures are the tools that we can use to build memes.  Technology is providing us with powerful ways to reproduce memes.  

In this new revolutions, each of us as individuals can and should engage in the meme wars.

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

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