by Jack Hardy
extracted from The Anomalist-11
The meme as a concept
Dawkins used the term to refer to any cultural entity
that an observer might consider a replicator. He
hypothesized that one could view many cultural entities
as replicators, and pointed to melodies, fashions and
learned skills as examples. Memes generally replicate
through exposure to humans, who have evolved as
efficient copiers of information and behavior.
humans do not always copy memes perfectly, and because
they may refine, combine or otherwise modify them with
other memes to create new memes, they can change over
time. Dawkins likened the process by which memes survive
and change through the evolution of culture to the
natural selection of genes in biological evolution.
Dawkins defined the meme as a unit of cultural
transmission, or a unit of imitation, but later
definitions would vary. The lack of a consistent,
rigorous, and precise understanding of what typically
makes up one unit of cultural transmission remains a
problem in debates about memetics.
In contrast, the
concept of genetics gained concrete evidence with the
discovery of the biological functions of DNA. In the
context of the exact sciences, memetics suffers in
comparison because, unlike the idea of genes, memes do
not necessarily have or need a concrete medium in order
What is a
The word “meme” was first popularly used by Richard Dawkins in his
The Selfish Gene.
It has come to mean a cultural accretion of
knowledge, a package of several ideas that can be passed onto
others. It’s usually more complex than a single idea, and can
represent a fashion/music/lifestyle or a belief. It is the mental
equivalent of a gene whereby a package of many attributes is passed
The science or study of memes in action has come to be called
A meme has been regarded too narrowly I believe, and I am interested
in broadening the ideas of what a meme is or can do. No matter how
narrow a definition you give to a meme, sooner or later you have to
consider more nebulous or abstract ideas as having acquired enough
cultural accretion to have become memes. It’s easy to conceive of a
visual fad such as the hula-hoop as having a chartable spread
through society and calling it a meme, but surely socialism,
futurism or a new political idea are also memes that spread through
society and are all the more interesting despite being invisible.
Memes like these, just as in any fad or fashion have a zenith before
arcing into decline. There will always be a few adherents of any
“ism” who may be the actual carriers of the meme, but eventually
they may find themselves beached upon a shore that has no tides.
Someone new to the idea of memes might say well why don’t we just
call them ideas? The answer is that memes act as if they have a life
of their own. Whether they do or not is not the relevant point but
that they do replicate and have a dynamism that is absent from our
common notion of a simple idea.
As I’ve thought about memes, they seem to have an arc of existence
that defies simple replicative models. Indeed, I daresay that many
memes lie dormant awaiting a resurgence, as might forgotten gods
that can then spread like a wildfire. Let’s say a meme like Nazism
could be re-established and that’s why volunteers are so keen to
On this model, some memes could be likened to a huge bull waiting to
be let out the gate and into a china shop.
I suspect that memes act as living entities with strategies for
survival and aren’t therefore so simple as replicators. Maybe my
definition of a meme is different to an accepted one and we will
have to call my memes a jeme. As I use the word meme, I mean
it to be an accretion of mental energy that acts as if it has a life
of its own.
This mental energy can be spread through many minds or
maybe it resides someplace as yet unidentified. Whether or not this
is strictly true is less important to me than the fact that this
definition allows for insights and explanations previously
Academics seem overly cautious in stepping outside of a narrow
definition of what a meme is or does. I’ve had several discussions
and some email correspondence with published authors on memes, and
they mostly prefer to stay in the corral of memes they can see or
I claim that so-called simple memes have embedded suppositions.
Simply calling a craze or an identifiable fad a meme above other
contenders is safe but useless. A linguist could explicate that any
language we use to discuss something has all manner of implicit
premises. The reason that we don’t elaborate on them is a matter of
pragmatism over philosophy. A philosopher might contend that hidden
in any narrow definition are unstated assumptions that have a wider
context. Anything that impinges upon our consciousness requires that
only a holistic approach can be appropriate.
Simple memes may be easier to map than the nebulous meme-complexes,
but as no meme has laboratory isolation, it is intellectually
dishonest to suggest the purity of one over another.
Once you allow a meme to escape its unimaginative straightjacket
that has kept meme theory bound for the last twenty-five years, you
can accept that new explanations become possible. In human affairs,
in parapsychology as well as in ordinary life, we finally have the
tools to crack the nut; to explain that which was once considered
Memes as I use them are for the most part something that seems
independent of self, and shared by several minds. However we all
have a sense of self, an ego or superego that we create as we grow
and could be considered our individual meme.
Rupert Sheldrake is another memetic theorist. He has postulated life
forms as morphic units that create morphic fields. These fields then
allow memes to operate within them.
Now my main difference with this model is that the morphogenetic
hypothesis focuses too much on memory and animals somehow generating
their own operational destiny. It doesn’t really explain how memes
can operate independently of us or how a zeitgeist (a spirit of the
age) can meld human behavior to it.
I see memes as acting as if they have a life of their own. Maybe
they do and maybe they aren’t truly independent but they act as if
they are. For Dawkins, this is why actions that seem altruistic are
essentially selfish. He used memes as a way to explain how genes
could perpetuate themselves by seemingly acting in ways that may
appear not to maximize their survivability.
By treating memes as being akin to a genetic packet involves them
having an arc of existence like a life form or morphic unit as
Rupert may have it. So it is that memes can grow and die. No-one
else really goes into this I think.
Another aspect of my memetic theory is that a meme innoculates
itself with a little bit of its opposite. So it is that good can
come out of evil and murder can erupt in paradise. This is outlined
a bit more in the section on longevity.
My whole dynamic sets up notions that aren’t fully explored or even
considered by most would be memeticians, and this is the main
difference between me and just about everyone else. Unfortunately,
most academic writers on memes want to restrict the definition of
them to something easily visible and are unaware of philosophical
premises and assumptions that consign such simple renderings as a
Sheldrake in particular is certainly on the right track and the
experiments of pattern recognition after mass exposure and the
illustration of pet and owner morphic resonances are classic
Now there are many academics that aren’t that keen on the idea of
morphic fields or the idea of memes in general. It’s a problem for
them because they can’t see it. I’d like to point out that they
can’t see the money in their bank accounts either, just some numbers
representing it, but that is apparently not so insurmountable.
Academics aside, memes are a tool for understanding. Just like
numbers, we can’t point to a number or a meme, but can find the
abstract has a vital form that we use to get a grip on reality.
Many thinkers have a problem with the idea of a group mind, too,
which is understandable, or that memes can be anthropomorphized as
having characteristics to enable their survival. Well, one approach
to deflect this criticism is to say that they don’t have to actually
be like this, just that they behave as if they do.
Same as flocking
birds might not actually have a group mind but they act as if they
Personalizing genes and saying they adopt selfish strategies to
ensure their survival is another problem area, but if they even act
as a life form regardless of whether they really are, then why not
treat them as such? We don’t say a number is completely independent
of another number but within its sphere of operation, it acts as if
Now there are experiments that do seem to indicate the existence of
group minds. I’ll mention the
100th monkey effect in the section on
devolving memes, and here just mention Restak’s experiments with
bees. His work can be found in Mind, number 249, and has also been
featured in Howard Bloom’s
The Lucifer Principle (p. 140).
Basically, Restak showed that bees can
anticipate future sources of food despite quite complex mathematical
computations. What he did was position food at increasing distances
away from the first site according to a mathematical formula.
bees all went to the area they next expected food to be at, who was
doing the calculation?
For my own work on memes I take them to be a product of many
thoughts, a cultural accretion of meaning. They can be a belief, a
unique viewpoint. I realize this is very amorphous, but a thought
may contain a meme or even a single word. They are complex and it
would be foolish to try and restrict their meaning to something
Even a word has a host of unstated premises and
connotations, and words operate within a culture in an accepted way
but also in a flux of meaning that can suddenly change.
It is logically impossible to fix a meaning for a meme. As long as
we can agree on the basics of what memes can do and are not within
broad parameters, we can enquire into them. Trying to skewer their
meaning using words is only going to allow it to ever wriggle off
the board. Let me give another example of a word that we can
understand yet can never pin down as to exactly what it can mean in
Consider the word “omnipotent.” Though
we can understand the general meaning, we would have logical
problems in defining its actual scope. Does being omnipotent mean
you could create a creature that can never be destroyed, or run a
mile faster than can ever be achieved again? Whichever answer one
gives is going to negate the general meaning of being omnipotent.
So basically a meme is a concept. It can be shared or held alone.
These memes can have favored attachments just like molecules.
Certain pairings can be more probable than others. So memes are not
just an explanation for the workings of human affairs, but a way for
things to find each other. With memes, man can find God, a woman can
find her mate, a customs officer can find a smuggler and a hunter
Another area where memes make themselves problematic to academia is
that we can use them to explain phenomena, but it is often of a kind
that is non-repeatable. I think it was Arthur Koestler who
postulated the existence of the library angel.
What he meant was that often he was
looking for some information and he’d open a book to the very page
with the information he needed. Or he found a book he could use
shelved wrongly, but right where he happened to look. People are
known to open the Bible at a passage that seems unusually apt to
I’m sure we’ve all had these
coincidental experiences, and I doubt that we could repeat them for
the sake of a scientific study, but memes can explain them.
So how do memes work?
Well, something done consciously and
unconsciously builds a meme. They aren’t something you can usually
point at, and to devolve them (or use them) seems to work best when
it happens in an unconscious way.
Let's take a meme building activity like a new fashion. Some
pioneers wear it, soon the media acts as a platform for others to
espouse it. Everyone quickly becomes aware of it, but not everyone
is going to adopt it unless it fits in with the zeitgeist. Instead
of a fashion that we can see, imagine this applying to a new
philosophy or a belief.
The longer this meme is built, then the
more it accretes levels of meaning and spreads to include
lifestyles, food, clothes and stance, all of which can indicate a
particular meme. For example, consider the meme of an artist, or
what it would mean to be a beatnik, hippy or a rasta. A meme that
started as a fashion can soon be taken to include preferred foods or
political viewpoints and philosophy. The views held by a person can
now be deduced, simply by looking at the hat that they wear.
Like a plate resting upon a table, where there are only a few
disparate molecules in direct contact. Or a brain where an idea can
lodge in one of several areas, a meme could be said to lodge in some
of many possible minds. It may change minds often and doesn’t have a
Academics seem to think that the earlier fashion meme is somehow
simpler than the later accretion of several attributes. They have
claimed that the simple thing that got imitated is somehow a pure
meme, and the later development is a meme complex. I deny this
thinking as intellectual laziness, and contend that the latter is
contained wholly in the former. It’s just that we haven’t yet had to
time to see its full fruition so are duped into assuming a seed is
more complex than a flower.
Just because we can’t yet chart a development, or because there is
controversy here, does not mean that it isn’t so. The controversy
lies in the consequence being contained in the premise. There are
too many vested interests that need to separate these links of x
leading to y, and there is a very big blame game to play if we go
down the path of accepting that some minor detail will lead to major
dissonance. But this is what memes do.
They start as a minor detail, say a
schoolkid wearing a safety pin, and become a fully blown segment of
human behavior with a generational chunk of glue sniffers.
use a dramatic illustration but I also feel that we can’t hold back
a memetic tide, nor would we endear ourselves to anyone by trying to
do so. Memes are morally neutral, having both good and bad aspects
that vary according to our interpretation. What can seem harmful can
produce benefit and vice-versa, which is the yin and yang of them.
When I first read Dawkin’s book a quarter of a century ago, I had
already formed a nebulous theory of mental energy. Living in what
seemed to be a vast population of like-minded people, where people
all reacted the same or used the same current expressions, I
envisaged a gigantic group mind. Similar to ants or bees or flocks
of birds, it seemed to me that we all acted in a predictable manner
that was linked to the group. I’d started to consider this a
gigantic psychic generator that could surely be tapped in some way.
Another thought was that there would be
nodes where you could find certain phenomena like a very lucky
person or someone that could do no wrong. I imagined that these
nodes could be related to interference patterns and denoted either
something more normal than normal, or a recipient of all this
psychic flow. When I discovered the word ‘meme’, I realized that
this was a descriptive term that I could utilize.
It took a couple of years to simmer,
before I knew how to use it, and about 15 years before I suddenly
realized the further implications of memetics. The mechanistic model
of building and devolving memes wasn’t the crux of the matter though
undoubtedly this would be what people first glommed onto.
Consciousness seems to be a factor in the transmission process,
though not an absolute. It’s just that memes seem to operate better
the less aware we are of their operation.
Unaware as well as conscious effort builds a meme so that it can be
said to have a growth period, and once built, is able to be
devolved, by others often unconnected to the building process. This
devolvement works best by unconscious effort and is a way for
knowledge to become distributed in a way once thought to be science
fiction. The potential of telepathy, although fantastic, can be
explained in memetic terms.
Similarly, memetics does enable
unconnected people to have a shared knowledge or belief system. As
when scattered cultures built pyramid structures, there was a
memetic diffusion of similar goals. This is exemplified by the
phenomenon known as the 100th monkey effect, and to which I’ll come
back to shortly.
Animals can share memes. As their consciousness, is taken as being
more simplistic, they are able to act alike.
When flocks of birds
and schools of fish turn or feed or flee all at the same time, it is
difficult to explain this as a totality of separate, independent
Are they all plugged into a
group mind or acting in an identical way just for being
biologically similar? And it’s not just animals that act
identically. Human children can act and react in the same
Are they similar for being
closer to the mould?
Are they more telepathic for
being more similar?
This is the real advance of memetics.
ask these kind of questions that we may indeed discern answers to at
some point down the road. By looking at memes as a potential
indicator of both group and individual consciousness, we can unseal
some of the mystery that has previously been a closed book to us.
This may initially seem overly philosophical, but memes can explain
something like a soul better than the concept of souls themselves.
For instance, if you take a worm and cut
it into two pieces that then becomes two worms, did you also create
another soul? A more prosaic explanation is that both worms would be
sharing the selfsame meme as can identical twins, until their
different reactions match their different experiences. Memes can
seem an unnecessary concept until you start to realize that memes
can explicate better than other undefined concepts that are freely
However interesting it can be to contrast souls as a memetic
concept, for now let’s just treat a meme as a package of cultural
It is an idea with an accretion of connotation aboard
that can seem to act as if it has a life of its own.
In the last section I suggested nodes as a place where memes could
be better able to be devolved.
Now this positing of nodes is really
only helpful to explain why some people are vastly better able to
attract phenomena than others. Like a very lucky person or
Another illustration would be a really
good artist. Many people assume that a successful artist simply has
the right idea at the right time, but world-class artists seem to
have more than this simple formula working for them. A good artist
tells us something we recognize as a truth in an original way, and a
great artist draws on something that makes their work and
originality speak to other times.
They draw on a muse that has many
strands and are often at a loss themselves to explain how they weave
it into art. They are distilling the essence of the zeitgeist.
Somehow, they are devolving the spirit of the age and telling us
something that we recognize as a truth. Something that we knew all
along without having enunciated it.
When this happens, we call it a
Could it be that the artist has positioned themselves on a node that
devolves this creative energy? Their brains are a receiving medium
for something they have unconsciously sought. It certainly seems
that there have been geographical distilleries of genius like Athens
or Paris in the past.
I’ve noticed a similar thing happen with music. I know the success
of one local band can fuel the aspirations of others, but certain
places whether Salzburg or Liverpool seem to throw up on occasion
not just a singular bloom but a whole bouquet. Most bands, unlike
artists seem to make a handful of distinctive rousing music and then
atrophy. They never better their first original work, and plough the
same furrow making their later compositions just variations on a
Yet there are rare artists that can
define an era, and their work both embodies and propagates memes.
Bubba Sparxx rapped, “Rhyming chose me.”
As with art, science and theory leaps forward from singular people
or places that seem truly inspired. Yet there are often people
working on similar things but only the one that gets the credit and
is remembered. If it could ever be shown that radical ideas and
advances come from on high, it must be a scattergun approach where
several people are simultaneously trying to establish it, and it
doesn’t really matter who will win the race; just that one will.
The above are speculative asides. My main thrust is that ideas, fads
or philosophies can be transmitted without local contact. These are
memes that can be devolved and spread within limitations or
throughout all society.
Consider personal experience of how this could be. Haven’t we all
done something for the first time and then discovered how natural it
can seem? Just like riding a bicycle, it can take a few moments and
then seem like we always could do it.
Don’t we all know someone that did something by chance and then it
became a life’s work or career?
Let’s consider a body of knowledge, a recently evolved meme such as
A new or trainee heart surgeon consciously learns the craft, but
he/she is also memetically guided by the prior experience of others.
Like acting or any trade, this memetic devolvement is best felt to
be working when the subject is relaxed and have ‘let themselves go’.
The examples of those that did it before us are like invisible
spirit guides once we are ‘in the groove’.
Great men may be said to sit on the shoulders of others before them,
but so it is with all activity whether it is carpentry, mothering,
lying or fighting. No matter how harmful or mundane, others have
built tramlines of the mind. In careers, apprentices or trainees can
experience this as an arbitrary choice ‘fitting like a glove’.
have discovered an aptitude or just somehow ‘picked it up’ without
really being able to explain how. In animals of lesser
consciousness, this becomes a pure instinct so that all will eat,
fight and sleep in a practically identical way.
Is there evidence that learned behavior is carried to others?
One example would be when a rat finds
its way through a maze. A second rat seems to find its way through
the maze even quicker. In experiments, the rats have been killed (to
prevent telepathy) or identical new mazes substituted (to prevent
scent trails), yet despite this, rats are progressively able to get
through these mazes faster than the earlier ones.
Where does this
knowledge reside? They are able to access a meme that is being
built, a meme of knowledge about the maze.
I doubt that a meme is entirely independent of living things, but
the crucial thing is that it acts as if it is. A meme has an arc of
existence that like the life of a living organism is a
self-contained pocket of energy.
Perhaps the best analogy of memes in the world is that they are akin
to numbers. The fantastic science of mathematics has enabled us to
go to the moon and inspire computers. Yet we wouldn’t be able to
point to a number or say, “this is a six”, we could just say there
are six of something. Like memes, we use the concept of number to
find linking commonalities and to make something have sense for us.
To grasp that which has no obvious handle.
One of my favorite examples of memetics in action is that referred
to as the 100th monkey effect. It’s covered in Primates 6 (1965),
and was about studies of monkeys living on a string of Japanese
What happened was that one monkey started washing the sand off sweet
potatoes, and then others started doing it. At some point, a
critical mass was reached and even monkeys on other islands, though
there was no obvious contact, started washing their food to remove
the sand. This is almost a perfect example of a meme growing and
then becoming accessible to all.
A way for knowledge or learning to
become transmitted to others that are not in physical contact. In
human affairs, this is best seen in fashion, whereby there just
seems to be zeitgeist (spirit of the age) sweeping through disparate
and otherwise unconnected populations.
This 100th monkey effect was first popularized in the Lyall
Lifetide. Another book by Ken Keyes
The Hundredth Monkey further propagated this
novel idea. Now there have been a few articles that ‘revisit’ these
experiments (e.g. one from Elaine Myere) but they all seem to miss
These pseudo rebuttals usually harp on about how not all the monkeys
adopted this new way of washing sand off potatoes. Now Ken Keyes
clearly says in his forward about this phenomenon “…almost all..,”
so he wasn’t claiming a universal spread.
Furthermore, the 100th monkey mechanism isn’t negated by this. The
skeptics are confusing a hundred monkeys as somehow meaning 100%.
Think of a meme such as a fashion. A few people adopt it, perhaps to
widespread ridicule but at some threshold point, it becomes widely
Now obviously, not every single person
adopts the exact same fashion, but does this detract from the
mechanism that causes it’s explosive growth?
Of course not. Indeed, there will ever
be adherents to memes that are other fashions or the antithesis of
the one currently in vogue. It can be a bit like the scene in the
sci-fi movie Fahrenheit 451 where in a book burning society,
individuals each keep a certain book alive by reciting it and
Fashions could be similarly said to be kept alive by adherents.
Victims of fashion are the ones held by the meme in a grip that has
no hold on other people who have moved on to other fashions.
Critics of memetics I have found, similarly miss the point about
statistics. I am not asserting that twins will all have the same
experiences or that coincidences can be statistically explained or
expected, like the likelihood of two people at a gathering sharing
the same birthday. In fact memes explain why not everything will be
the same in every case and every time.
What interests me are the coincidences that are so astronomically
unlikely that they can’t be configured.
The one in a billion chance.
Which when it happens, deserves some consideration instead of being
dismissed as a one-off. These incredible coincidences are amenable
to memetic explanation. I’m not claiming that fantastical
coincidences are the rule. Indeed, they are the exceptions that
prove the rule, but these exceptions have underlying mechanisms that
make them so exceptional.
There are other examples of mass learning within species if you
don’t buy the 100th monkey one. One in particular was the study done
on blue tits pecking at foil on milk bottles to get at the milk.
Once one or two started doing it, within a short time, blue tits
everywhere were doing it.
Another form of memetics in action would be the phenomenon known as
On my model, the conscious dwelling on
Christ’s wounds say by catholics or other christians creates
a meme that grows like a cloud that gathers moisture. When it has
reached an optimum size, then like lightning, the meme devolves or
is discharged upon some unwitting subject.
This explains why the
stigmata phenomenon can appear on people who aren’t especially
religious or even Christian.
A padre was made a saint by the pope in 2002, who had displayed the
stigmata. Church enquiries couldn’t find any evidence of fraud or
deception. Indeed the profuse bleeding was deemed of unknown
origination. The padre was especially venerated for being one of the
clergy that rarely display the phenomenon.
The stigmata that occurs may have a cultural base. When the
conception of Christ on the cross, changed from one of him
being serene to a more realistic portrayal of the crucifixion, then
the stigmata became intermittent though still rare.
Much phenomena that has been described as paranormal, unexplainable
or baffling in human affairs has a memetic explanation.
The believe in Reincarnation can be explained as people devolving memes built up by
others. This is akin to the parable of reaping that which others
The reason most people think they are Cleopatra or some famous
character is that a meme has been built by people thinking about
these “larger than life” historical personages. I suspect that the
person claiming to be a reincarnation has taken onboard several
cultural connotations that were embedded into the personage when the
meme was being built.
Now there may well be knowledge imparted in a way that only the
original person could have known. This is when the meme of a
lesser-known person, yet having a meme built up during their own
life has devolved upon someone. An example of this seemingly
inexplicable phenomena, is say when a murder victim has communicated
a vital but overlooked piece of crucial evidence in a dream. This
would equate a very vigorous meme with a life of it’s own, a soul.
A case where someone knows something they could not have, about a
distant town or person is sometimes attributed to reincarnation.
Once again however, it is all about meme devolvement.
Evil and goodness are gigantic memes that we can all tap into and
use them to power activity. So it is that a bullet easily seems to
find an innocent mark, and joy can be brought by simple acts of
kindness. These memetic aids to action don’t negate our actual free
will, but we will find that once a choice has been made, an
acceleration that can seem outside ourselves speeds us on.
An analogy or model of how we devolve memes that I like to use is
that of a funfair dodgem ride. We are all connected to a gigantic
grid with our minds. Now this could be Jung’s collective
unconscious, or a species wide area network or
Sheldrake’s morphic field but
whatever we choose to call this grid that seems to link us all, we
sometimes derive power from it and sometimes not.
The sparks can fly but our action is
sometimes hesitant and sometimes swift. All analogies limp and this
one doesn’t allow for the cars to sometimes put power into the grid
but this model is useful to see how we can be linked but separate to
a larger force.
Because of our memetic nature, whatever mental paths we follow, it
will always be amenable to memes.
Some memeticists treat memes as an
infective virus and although some are devolved unwillingly and
unconsciously, I don’t find it helpful to use this model of
contagion. Even when we have a meme that we identify and get rid of,
we still have others at work albeit unidentified.
Whether memes use individuals as entry points or rain en masse upon
numerous subjects, there always seem to be loci, some nodal points
In the previous section, I concentrated on individual devolvement of
I’d now like to express some thoughts on mass devolvement.
This can be a lot of memes on one person or a lot of people
devolving a similar meme.
This memotype can be viewed as an
overlay upon the genotype. This may produce an interference pattern
that provides certain nodes of contact. These nodes then become the
epicenter for memes to ripple outward and whether this model is
accurate or not, we have to accept that memes or new ideas have to
Irony is a good indicator of memetic action. Unfortunately it is
usually only in retrospect that we are made aware of it. I’ll come
back to irony shortly.
A major devolvement of memes is something I call a PXF node. This is
applauded when it is a creative flowering of the arts, and disdained
(by others) when it is say a militant nationalistic chauvinism. I
use the letters PXF just to show that there are multiple conduits,
such as with an art-movement.
Impressionism started, and France back then became a PXF node for
artistic excellence. Paris especially became a focus for painters
and the success of the few was fuelled by the dreams of the many.
In a smaller way, you can see this phenomena when a music scene
erupts into wider popularity. Once it was Liverpool and more
recently it was Seattle. A cynic would say that the big success of
one band such as the Beatles or Nirvana enabled other bands from the
region to get signed to big labels, on their coat-tails. A
memeticist would say that a muse or a pipeline of musical talent
devolved upon the region that enabled everyone on that scene to
become world class.
Bubba Sparxx rapped, “Rhyming chose me.” Popular artists can
incarnate memes and lead trends. By devolving the memes of the
zeitgeist, they become a focus for the devotion and adulation
representing it. John Lennon said at one point that the Beatles were
more popular than Jesus, though that backfired somewhat.
A few artists devolved the memes of world class artistry which had a
wider fallout. This then gets classified as a whole art movement. A
doubter would say that the artists themselves are their own crucible
forging an intellectual passion and using each other to inspire
greater works. A memeticist would say the presence of a PXF node
sucked in the memes that created a vast advance in that time and
This feel of the universe flowing thru
them was something that many then sensed and rose to the occasion. I
think people can be attuned and be able to predict these ripples,
these memetic effects. Very few are radically able to do it in a
predictive or even an overtly useful way. Whether this is a skill or
circumstance, every now and again we see rapid advances or creative
A famous artist can often be a PXF node embodiment. Since their
lives are usually detailed, you can spot the ironies/coincidences
presaging their own induction into cultural icon-hood. These PXF
nodes can also be a non-living icon too, such as the flag or a city
symbol, that become almost a memetic deity.
The devolvement of memes upon inanimate objects is what would
normally be classed as miraculous phenomena. Now this belongs in the
advanced thinking on memetics and for now I’ll just make a couple of
suggestions like weeping statuary that are examples of this. We
anthropomorphize the moon (‘the man in the moon’) or the face on
Mars, but could some memetic terra-forming be helping the process
This is all fantastic stuff but let’s not forget the more prosaic
everyday things. Memes are in ordinary things, like having a meme of
‘watching television’ or even toilet habits that people do without
any thought as to where the behavior came from. Most people can’t
be so analytical or self referential and live a “normal” life, so
they don’t get philosophical about everything.
When a person becomes aware of memetic influences, then I think you
can use them without trying too hard to use them.
You kind of decide what you want in the
back of your mind without lust of result. Then later, when you’ve
forgotten almost about it, an opportunity will enable you to get the
thing you wanted. An example might be that I want a red mustang say.
So I don’t dwell on it or peruse the car sales. Then when I’ve no
longer a conscious yearning for it, I’ll see a bargain priced one or
a friend will offer to loan me one or something along those lines.
This can seem magical or mystical and
coincidental, but is how memetics works.
Irony is a by-product of the reaction of memes upon our lives. Memes
are dynamic and attracted to certain conductors, they cause a
reaction that can leave irony in it’s wake.
Irony can seem like just one of those things but as an ironical
twist of fate can quickly demonstrate, you ignore its potential at
some risk. I’m sure that Christopher Reeve, the actor that played
Superman and now finds himself a cripple has ruminated about irony.
Ironical things can happen because our mental life isn’t static. I
would say that even when nothing much seems to be going on, the
dynamism of memes are affecting our lives. You can do an experiment
to show this dynamism of memes. For instance, think a few seconds
about something that you don’t necessarily encounter... say for
Alright, you think a minute then forget
about it. Right, at the point you just about forget about them and
only your unconscious brain retains the thought, then a meme will
attach to attract other examples of what it is you was thinking
about. I know this sounds esoteric, but it is how life imitates art.
So anyway, within a few days there should be references that you
come across pertaining to the thought.
This might be a trailer on TV or a
conversation with a friend, and when you get really good at it,
there will be myriad coincidences of this sort and it will seem like
you are almost creating the universe as you go along.
Of course unless you are on LSD or something, we rarely achieve this
flow. Ironically the opposite of that which we intended can happen.
Irony is often an indicator of memes in action. Because of what I
believe about memes inoculating themselves, a good meme can appear
sometimes to be a bad one and vice versa.
This is an ironical twist
in that to achieve a result you have to take a course that seems to
lead away from it. Like the legend of the Holy Grail, those that
seek it won’t find it.
My take on actions leading to unintended results is that memes
naturally contain their opposite. This seems contradictory but when
you create a meme like a theory or a business, the successful meme
inoculates itself by incorporating it’s opposite. Like the exception
that proves the rule, the universe can seem to be governed by a
cosmic joker. This leads psychologists to postulate ‘death wishes’
or indeed all kinds of stuff that would seem counter productive to
Irony is with us in many mundane ways but we are blind to it. An
action we take to avoid something can often precipitate the very
thing we wish to avoid. A dramatic example of this could be the lady
who was worried by gas pressure fluctuations. She decided to replace
it with an electric oven but it was faulty and exploded killing her.
A true story from the 1980’s I read
Now usually, our ironies aren’t as final but neither so well
documented. If you look for irony and coincidence without lust of
result, you can find them. On a personal level, I might think of
someone and then see on television, a city where we once were. Not a
radical irony but typical of mundane ones.
An example of mundane irony is when Ted Heath was prime minister of
England. For reasons I forget, he was nicknamed “The Grocer” or
“Grocer Heath.” He was succeeded to the party leadership by Margaret
Thatcher, a bona fide grocer’s daughter.
Politics is often rich in irony. Someone helped to power is often
the nemesis of the helper. Shades of biting the hand that feeds you!
On a personal level, it seems to me that political systems that are
supposedly for the benefit of most people, actually benefit the
least such as communism. Whereas the ostensibly greedy system of
capitalism seems to have wide ranging benefits for all. Now that’s
just my personal belief, not an ax I’m grinding as part of memetic
theory but consider this.
If it wasn’t for some greedy avid
collector of certain artifacts (say Greek urns or Russian ikons),
then the coherent collection of artifacts that is often bequeathed
to a museum and for public display would not have been assembled.
Another example, a personal irony, was when I bought a cheap retread
for a tire at a distant location from my home in 1988. A few weeks
went by, and on the freeway a brown cloud and a bang informed me
that something serious had happened. I thought it was the engine at
first and miraculously skewed across four lanes and down an exit
ramp coming to a stop outside the very tire sellers I’d bought the
now disintegrated tire.
I’ve had several “confirming experiences” that show irony and
coincidence and memetic flow to have combined threads. Usually, I
can demo this to others by asking them to describe a phenomenon that
they don’t understand and then give a memetic explanation. Another
way is to listen to someone talk and then predict some irony that
may only become apparent in retrospect.
Name pairings and attractions can be often seen as ironic. What this
shows is that concepts and connotations that we put names to have a
kinetic life and interaction. Memetic attachments echo down the ages
regularly and take us by surprise. Such as an unexplained block of
ice from the sky falling upon the car of an anomalous weather
Even memeticists aren’t immune to irony
or the whims of fate but are better placed to explain them. Hidden
connotations in wordplay can generate irony. Let’s say someone is
unconscious of a name’s hidden meaning or heritage or even an
anagram of it, they can devolve memes to do with it.
A kind of memetic pull steers their
destiny without them being aware of it.
The devolution of unbidden memes has serious implications for what
we consider to be our free will. It’s one thing for a meme to help
us do something, and another thing for us to do something because a
meme has been devolved.
Memes by their action on unaware human carriers would also seem to
sometimes “choose” their carriers.
Like fame, some people are born with
memes, some achieve them, and others have them thrust upon them.
Like the stigmata phenomena, or other groupings of similar
phenomena, the person on whom the it impinges can seem unwilling to
carry the meme. A natural leader could deny his calling until (like
the sword in the stone), there is no other choice.
Hobson’s choice of all destiny may well appear to be a choice to
ourselves but actually not. As in the selfish gene book, much
behavior that seems to be altruistic or some such can be the
opposite of what was conceived to be. The Selfish Gene had a
lot about selfish behavior being seemingly altruistic due to memes
and I would further that line and say that much of what we think of
as free will is actually not.
Phenomena such as simultaneous discovery, either of a theory or a
device would make it feasible that ideas outside ourselves are just
waiting to be grabbed. Composers and musicians especially subscribe
to the theory that a muse inspires them and blesses them by having a
tune just pop into their head. Scientists and inventors describe a
similar process of inspiration.
Kekule was trying to figure out the
structure of benzene when he dreamt of a snake eating it’s own tail
and then realized only a ring could explain it’s molecular form.
Calculus was a mathematical theory simultaneously developed
independently by both Newton and Leibniz.
Whilst there will always be physicists working towards similar
goals, there are enough examples of inspiration to suspect that
memes can be handed down. When simultaneous discoveries happen, you
might suspect a scattergun approach. Or maybe it’s just the
non-locality of human mental events? This non-local suggestion is
surely how one’s learning can be transferred to an unconnected
other. It is the very heart of this memetics.
quantum mechanics has had to use concepts of
so memetics has a corresponding echo.
This meme devolving upon unwitting subjects concept can be added to
our interdependence on others and us all being victims of
circumstance to suggest that perhaps “moral stance” is our only true
area of free will. It’s possible that memes choose us rather than
the other way round, and I would like to develop experiments or
tests that investigate this hypothesis.
Possibly studies of large families may
shed some clues in this area, as I’ve been fascinated how large
families can often contain both a crook and a cop.
When we say that
in life, we have to play the cards that we’re dealt, memetics may
indeed show this to be truth. Devolving memes may determine our
options more than we could normally accept. What we rationally
consider to be ourselves, may be nothing more than a list of
consumer choices intertwined with moral ones.
Consider an artist or songwriter. They have often described the muse
as choosing them. Many songwriters and composers have described the
song or music just coming into their head, and they merely wrote it
down. Many scientific breakthroughs or other inspirational thinking
has come upon people by dreams or whilst they were in a relaxed
Typical examples might be Archimedes
jumping out of his bath, and running naked down the street and
yelling “Eureka,” or Newton having an apple fall on his head etc,
A child prodigy that composes music may simply be abler at accessing
a bank of musical information. All this would imply that memes could
have an independent existence and source other than ourselves. This
is another area that needs careful consideration and research,
although the above examples may simply be forms of facilitating
human invention and not remotely associated with devolving memes.
If living in London, is drinking water that has already been drunk
before, and Los Angeles is breathing someone else’s exhaust, could
thinking on an idea be thinking something that’s already been thunk?
“There’s nothing new under the sun,”
goes the old saw, and those that don’t remember history are
condemned to repeat it.
But what if a burgeoning population
actually allows new ideas to thrive, to provide a wider base for
supporting memes? Perhaps a larger world of people allows more
progressions to be devolved?
Having intimated that memes may choose us, people do seem able to
attract certain memes.
Whether a person has to be reflective or
have a high sense of self-consciousness or awareness of self, is not
clear. Like ‘greatness’, some people seem to be born with some
memes, others achieve them and others have them thrust upon them. A
fruitful area of investigation would be the nature of invention or
genius. To try and ascertain whether the subject considers the
source of his or her inspiration as within or without themselves.
This new broad theory suggests many areas of research. The
explanatory power of it, should cause us to re-examine areas that
would be considered irrelevant or unimportant by those blind to the
many ways that we do seem able to influence the world around us.
Pubescent girls are often present at the site of poltergeist
phenomena, and though this an unproven link, could it not be that we
can all have an effect, albeit of a much less dramatic nature, on
our immediate world. I suspect that memes devolve and can be
attracted, without any of us being aware of how and why.
Through reflection and
self-consciousness, we can transcend this memetic determinism and
maybe even move mountains or work miracles with understanding and a
little bit of faith.
There are ways that we can create our own “luck.” It could be
construed as God helping those that help themselves or it could be
we all have the ability to bend reality to our advantage. I
certainly believe that any of us can attract references or phenomena
associated with something that is ‘on our mind’. You can do a simple
test to show this.
Think of something incongruous like a first world
war soldier, something that you wouldn’t normally think about or
come across. Think of this subject several times during the day.
Now very shortly (usually a three day
window) thereafter, I’ve personally found several references to
whatever it was I thought about. Maybe it was just a magazine in the
newsagents or a TV advert or someone discussing the subject. Now I
know this can sound a bit like hoodoo voodoo or sympathetic magic,
but it is a very simple test anyone can do that shows the fabric of memetic correspondence.
This is also the reason that a customs officer knows a smuggler
without really knowing why a hunch works. This is why people who
lose a wedding ring can catch the very fish that swallowed it or
cook it for dinner. Or a man studying unusual weather can have a
block of ice, fall onto his car. Perhaps why lovers were made for
Some people have a developed lightning rod that attracts phenomena.
We might tag them “lucky” or “unlucky,” or just marvel at how
certain things always seem to happen to them.
Some people may even be able to create their own reality. Haven’t we
all had the experience of wanting something (say a particular color
and model of a car) and just about when we’ve given up hope of
finding one at a price we can afford, a friend of a friend turns up
with one at a deal of a price. This potential to affect the world in
ways that we wish things to be may be an evolutionary strategy.
Is it only wish fulfillment or is it
something else? When I see a bluebottle housefly wait patiently on a
door to enter the house, is it a tactic or does it instigate what
It would seem unlikely that a fly could
influence the future, but memetics can be a kind of wish fulfillment
that has an actual reality with time. Not always wishes.
When a train crashes, ironically
a year to the day after another crash,
Whether memes choose us more than we
choose them, has got to be the most interesting area of memetic
Memes have been regarded as evolutionary
tools in their narrow sense, but their role in a broader sense can
be ever so much more dramatic for evolution.
Memetics offers a way to reconcile simple creationism with
Evolutionary advances are not contradicted by
dispensation. The lack of a fossil record of missing links has
always been a problem with evolutionary theory, and Creationists
feel there are many aspects of life that point to an intelligent
A site that lists some of these
anthropomorphic coincidences from a physicist’s point of view
This will be too technical for most
people and what appeals generally as a designer argument is how well
adapted are the varieties of life upon this planet. The fossil
record such as of dinosaurs shows that there were once animals that
no longer exist, now whether these were one-off creations or have
evolved into something else is a debate that has no absolute answer.
If they did evolve into say birds, the jump to another shape must
have been sudden as there are no intermediate species.
Memetics offers a way to explain the
mechanism of evolutionary jumps.
Darwin’s survival of the fittest has explained the variations within
species, such as why dark butterflies may have an advantage over
light ones during the industrial revolution. But there are many
areas unexplained. Why for instance have all the mammals we are
familiar with, reached an evolutionary plateau? A Darwinian might
say that the changes are so gradual, that we can’t see them.
Yet many life-forms have remained static
for millennia. Fish like the coelacanth, once thought to be an
extinct ancestor of today’s fish are regularly dredged up from the
deep. They have remained unchanged for thousands if not millions of
years, as the fossil record shows. Also, it’s incredibly difficult
to see exactly how an animal can survive and prosper if it hasn’t
reached their optimum evolutionary potential.
How for instance could
a spider evolve it’s complex web spinning mechanism? It either had
it or it didn’t, as spinning a useless web on the way to evolving an
effective one, seems peculiar.
In fact, evolution seems to have made
sudden gigantic leaps rather than gradual ones over eons. The
obelisk of Clarke and Kubrick’s 2001 that triggers a new
evolutionary phase seems unlikely but may have more of a ring of
truth about it than Darwin’s theory.
My favorite Darwin story is that when he
returned home after two years from his travels, his father marveled
“The shape of his head is completely
Recently a pine tree has been discovered
in Australia’s Blue mountains, near Katoomba.
It has remained
unchanged and is the same as fossils from 150 million years ago.
Kind of knocks the idea of evolving life into a cocked hat I would
Now within a species, we can easily see how the environment may
favor dark or light moths and so such characteristics become
prevalent. But the big thrust of evolutionists that life is
constantly evolving simply isn’t borne out..
The theory of Lamarckism was subsumed by the Darwinian model, but
claimed that acquired characteristics could be inherited. So for
instance, the Lamarckian would say that if I were a carpenter, then
my son would be better able to handle wood. Now actually, the
memetic model has an affinity with
Lamarckism, but the difference is
that characteristics are not necessarily inherited. They can be
passed through a bloodline, but they can just as easily be
transferred to someone that isn’t related. This theory of memetics
can explain the discrepancies that Lamarck couldn’t.
How this could work in practice is that a species wide desire can
translate into an evolutionary jump.
Let’s say that we had a high level of
consciousness but were restricted to the body of a fly on a door.
Our self-awareness would be limited to that of our experience, but
we could form a rudimentary desire for the door to open. This would
create a meme that could enact a progression of events that gave us
what we wanted, or alternatively it could manifest a species wide
evolutionary jump that caused us to develop door opening tools like
arms and legs.
These assertions are less amenable to research than some of the
other aspects of memetic theory. However, I display them here to
show just how radical a paradigm shift would be, once we accept the
reality of memes.
When something has been described as instinctual, there seems never
an explanation of how this mechanism works. Memetics explains how
instinct and innate behaviors operate.
When a school of fish turn as one, or when ants act in consort, we
seem willing to accept the existence of a group mind, but what is
that if not a meme?
Evolutionists themselves are starting to express that evolution has
a lot of problems as a theory. Not the least of which is a lack of
evidence. Recent thinkers on the subject such as Stephen Jay
Gould examined the
Burgess shale, a strata of fossils and found
co-existing species, and a plethora of life forms that casts doubt
on the idea that complex life has arisen out of more simple life
from eons ago. They were always complex.
My memetics can explain the emergence of differing species as a
series of jumps that utilize species wide memes. So there are
vestiges of species in other species but no discernable evolutionary
Anyway, here from an anti-evolution tract are some quotes from
scientists that spell out many of the problems with evolution as an
“The pathetic thing is that we have
scientists who are trying to prove evolution, which no scientist
can ever prove.”
[Dr. Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize
winner and eminent evolutionist ]
“The theory of evolution suffers from grave defects, which are
more and more apparent as time advances. It can no longer square
with practical scientific knowledge.”
[Dr. A. Fleishmann, Zoologist,
“It is good to keep in mind... that nobody has ever succeeded in
producing even one new species by the accumulation of
micro-mutations. Darwin’s theory of natural selection has never
had any proof, yet it has been universally accepted.”
[Professor R. Goldschmidt, Ph.D.,
DSc Prof. Zoology, University of California, in Material Basis
of Evolution, Yale University Press.]
“It is easy enough to make up stories, of how one form gave rise
to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be
favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of
science, for there is no way of putting them to the test.”
[Luther D. Sutherland, Darwin’s
Enigma, Master Books 1988, page 89.]
“Is it really credible that random processes could have
constructed a reality, the smallest element of which - a
functional protein or gene - is complex beyond... anything
produced by the intelligence of man?”
[Michael Denton, molecular
biologist, Evolutionist: A Theory in Crisis (London: Burnett
Books, 1985 ) page 342.]
“When I make an incision with my scalpel, I see organs of such
intricacy that there simply hasn’t been enough time for natural
evolutionary processes to have developed them.”
[C. Everett Koop, former U.S.
“Modern apes...seem to have sprung out of nowhere. They have no
yesterday, no fossil record. And the true origin of modern
humans...is, if we are to be honest with ourselves, an equally
[Lyall Watson, Ph.D.,
“Although bacteria are tiny, they display biochemical,
structural and behavioral complexities that outstrip scientific
description. In keeping with the current microelectronics
revolution, it may make more sense to equate their size with
sophistication rather than with simplicity...Without bacteria,
life on earth could not exist in its present form.”
[James A. Shipiro, “Bacteria as
Multicellular Organisms,” Scientific American, vol. 258, no. 6,
“That a mindless, purposeless, chance process such as natural
selection, acting on the sequels of recombinant DNA or random
mutation, most of which are injurious or fatal, could fabricate
such complexity and organization as the vertebrate eye, where
each component part must carry out its own distinctive task in a
harmoniously functioning optical unit, is inconceivable. The
absence of transitional forms between the invertebrates retina
and that of the vertebrates poses another difficulty. Here there
is a great gulf fixed which remains inviolate with no seeming
likelihood of ever being bridged. The total picture speaks of
intelligent creative design of an infinitely higher order.”
[H.S. Hamilton, M.D., The Retina
of the Eye--An Evolutionary Road Block.]
“My attempts to demonstrate evolution by an experiment carried
on for more than 40 years have completely failed.”
[N.H. Nilson, famous botanist and
“None of five museum officials could
offer a single example of a transitional series of fossilized
organisms that would document the transformation of one
basically different type to another.”
“Not one change of species into another is on record...we cannot
prove that a single species has been changed.”
My Life and Letters.]
“[...] most people assume that fossils provide a very important
part of the general argument in favor of Darwinian
interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is
not strictly true.”
[Dr. David Raup, Curator of
Geology, Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago ]
“Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides means of
‘seeing’ Evolution, it has provided some nasty difficulties for
evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of
‘gaps’ in the fossil record. Evolution requires intermediate
forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.”
[David Kitts, Ph.D.,
“Palaeontology and Evolutionary Theory,” Evolution, vol. 28,
September 1974, page 467.]
“The fact that a theory so vague, so insufficiently verifiable,
and so far from the criteria otherwise applied in ‘hard’ science
has become a dogma can only be explained on sociological
[Ludwig Von Bertalanffy,
“Micromutations do occur, but the theory that these alone can
account for evolutionary change is either falsified, or else it
is an unfalsifiable, hence metaphysical theory. I suppose that
nobody will deny that it is a great misfortune if an entire
branch of science becomes addicted to a false theory. But this
is what has happened in biology....I believe that one day the
Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history
of science. When this happens many people will pose the
question: How did this ever happen?”
[S. Lovtrup, Darwinism: The
Refutation of a Myth, London: Croom Helm, page 422.]
“The uniform, continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into
Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers,
never happened in nature.”
[George Simpson, paleontologist
“As is well known, most fossil species appear instantaneously in
the fossil record.”
[Tom Kemp, Oxford University.]
“The curious thing is that there is a consistency about the
fossil gaps; the fossils are missing in all the important
[Francis Hitching, archeologist.]
“If Evolution were true, we should find literally millions of
fossils that show how one kind of life slowly and gradually
changed to another kind of life. But missing links are the trade
secret, in a sense, of paleontology. The point is, the links are
still missing. What we really find are gaps that sharpen up the
boundaries between kinds.”
[Dr. Gary Parker,
biologist/paleontologist and former ardent evolutionist ]
“Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and
paleontology does not provide them.”
[David Kitts, paleontologist and
There are plenty of other quotes that
dispute evolution, and not just from creationist or religious
I suspect that the theory became
popularized by secularists and humanists that wanted an alternative
(any alternative) to theological thinking. Although widely embraced
as seeming likely, there are a number of unanswered questions.
evolution as such that may have occurred was no gradual incremental
sort but a species-wide jump.
Biologists have touted mutations as
explaining such jumps but mutations don’t hold up as such anomalies
usually make the organism perform less efficiently or detrimentally.
I am not aware of any mutations have ever allowed a creature to
operate more successfully. Like the science fiction explanations
that create Superman or X-ray man, such mutations are fiction.
Only memes and memetic theory can explain evolutionary jumps.
When a meme devolves, it changes our worldview and thereby our
It is a common assumption that our rationality is
constant, but if you look at how people talk or act, you see that
consciousness is a major player.
Differing levels of consciousness are more or less varied when it
comes to grasping memes. Like a mild form of schizophrenia, our
beliefs vary according to our mental state. Many of us may have had
the experience of knowing or intending to do something when we are
in a particular state such as in love or drunk or otherwise
Back to normal, we forget all about it,
but when the state is again repeated, we re-remember that which had
been closed to us until then. The more time we spend in a particular
state, we are constructing another memetic reality of ourselves.
Eventually, this new personality can supplant our normal self.
The point I’m making is that rationality is just not the static
benchmark that we can refer to. All belief systems can be coherent
and all can seem true at certain times. This is why a meme can
devolve and not cause a conflict with someone’s belief system. You
only have to see two antagonists arguing vehemently to realize that
there is no time for considered and reasoned responses. Neither are
pausing for breath and mustering arguments. Both are aware of the
other’s mutually exclusive viewpoint, and instinctively shoot from
Hypnotism also demonstrates the myth of objective rationality. When
a hypnotized subject explains why they did something upon a prompt,
there is no shortage of inventive rationales that would usually be
acceptable, were we not already aware of the speaker’s hypnotized
state. In a similar manner, we could claim that anyone is hypnotized
by the beliefs that they have adopted.
The phrases of rational justification
can colorfully reflect a worldview.
Many turns of phrase today, have
derived from the rural norms of yesteryear. We could be described as
“sitting on a fence,” or be ‘closing the door after the horse has
bolted’ and the like. All this indicates that we are being used by a
rationale rather more than we are using it. And one day we may even
be able to claim that people have been hypnotized by the memes that
have devolved upon them.
Our commonly accepted notions of rationality is that we are
confronted with events or phenomena and after consideration, choose
the most rational or the one that fits most evidence. I would say
this is incorrect and that rationality is a way of filtering out
evidence that doesn’t fit. We act more like a prosecuting lawyer
than any judge and cherry-pick testimony and evidence that supports
The stuff that detracts from our
position we castigate. It has evolved this way as an evolutionary
stratagem to come to quick decisions for action. Instead of weighing
evidence, we make an emotional decision on what is right and then
look for indications that this is true.
Psychology shows over and over that people do things for reasons
different to what they say. The depth and ingenuity of reasoning
from hypnotized or angry subjects upon a prompt no matter how
ridiculous show that justifications can be a sham. Reasoning like
rhetoric or oratory can be more parts emotion than logic, and even
when seemingly unemotional is simply an instinctive defense of
There are ever arguments for and against
In reality you feel or sense the right answer. We
choose our rationality and thereby choose our answers. We can within
bounds decide one thing or another, but people could never explicate
their starting premises before a reasoned discussion. If we could
agree upon common assumptions and proceed from there, we could rate
belief by rankings as a sports table.
Criteria such as logic, inner
coherence or explanatory power could be used to rate theories just
as we can acknowledge Arsenal as a top football team within the
Rational thinking is often a wolf in sheep’s clothing because it can
seem innocuous and not linked to the profounder sense of self, but
they are always inextricably linked. This personal dimension often
renders real debate unlikely. Rather than weighing testimony, the
person arguing a position is acting more as a defense or prosecuting
lawyer, using only arguments that support their case. This isn’t
really seeking truth but conviction.
If a person was really seeking understanding or truth, they would
have to come up with a scenario or evidence that would disprove
their position. To truly test a belief you have to know or
acknowledge what would falsify it.
Memetics is for people that are honestly excited by an idea. It’s
okay to acknowledge that you can accept it because it fits in with
how you feel about something. Those that revere long lengthy
reasoning as if they are a judge will find the case for memetics
They think they are interviewing this
theory for a place in their rationality but memetics by its very
nature is something you will accept quickly or never can.
As I claimed earlier, all coincidence is a form of memetic
We can see this correspondence in things that aren’t
especially coincidental. I’ll give you an example that I noticed
when I lived in Ocean Park in the mid 80’s.
There was a lot of ‘street people’ in
the area and especially on an evening, you would come across several
grubbed out people mumbling, talking and outright ranting to
themselves. They were in their own private world that excluded the
passers by. Now fast forward several years beyond the gentrification
and yuppiefication of the area, where property prices had
Visiting Main Street, I was surprised to
find numerous people walking and talking on mobile phones in their
own little world. Most staggeringly, I saw someone yelling (though
with a mobile ear piece) at the very same spot that a notorious
drunk, a street alcoholic had once staked out as his patch.
really a coincidence, but it is an echo.
Perhaps certain places can attract or devolve a meme that recurs in
Perhaps certain places are much more amenable to
holiness or criminality so that there is an architecture that shapes
Going up a mountain and coming down with a changed memetic reality may have truth.
A sense of place may very well be
necessary for certain memes to be devolved.
These are certain areas that need to be
considered. However, this is certainly not an absolute occurrence.
I’ve visited many spots reputed for their evil connections such as a
haunted room or murder location or site of a Nazi rally, but have
not detected any sense of evil there. They are usually remarkably
benign or innocuous in their sense of place.
However rare it is that a place can affect one’s rationality, I do
believe that it does happen.
Another example that I can offer is
when as an “inter-railer” round Europe, I slept on the beach at Eze-sur-mer. For a diversion, I took the deserted footpath to the
hilltop village of Eze one day and felt intellectually charged.
Nothing revelatory, just a vivid afternoon that was possibly the
highlight of my whole trip. Many years later, by one of those
happenstance references, I discovered that the trail was also once
known as Nietzsche’s path from when the philosopher used to walk it.
Apparently he wrote the latter chunk of
Thus Spoke Zarathustra amongst the olives and pines there. When you
reach the top after over an hour’s walk, you are bamboozled by the
sudden bustle, but lower down I felt connected to something outside
The cycles of life are rarely viewed as something that recurs in all
generations and times. Love is an emotion that is intensely
experienced by each generation as if for the first time. Only those
that can take a step back through wisdom or age can see the
constantly recurring tides.
This is where memetics is able to provide explanations for the
puzzle. This tide, this governing of life, the recurring of events
is a correspondence that echoes through all generations. For
instance, we think we might have left the bacchanalian rites of
village festivals behind, but really all we have done is supplanted
Package holidays of booze and sex are just an evolved echo of
what was and always will be.
Anytime we see an echo or correspondence, especially in things or
events that we normally would not consider related, we are seeing
the action of a meme.
When the lifestyle aggregation of music, fashion and outlook called
‘punk’ started, it really seemed to spread during 1978. I went to
the USA that summer and hitch-hiked about. One thing that puzzled me
was that I kept running into people who seemed to be ‘punk’ yet had
not yet heard of the term. They had the philosophy, torn or bound
clothing and sometimes the spiky hairstyle, yet they hadn’t yet
heard of the ‘Sex Pistols’.
I suspected some kind of cosmic con
especially when I met one guy almost a clone of Sid Vicious that
insisted he’d never heard of him. How was it possible that people
had adopted a fashion in advance of widespread media attention? With
this phenomenon to ponder, I started developing my “one in every
town” theory. I postulated that every small town has a drunk, a real
redneck, a punk kid etc.
As the towns get larger, the cast of
characters increase. Added to this was the strange sense of déjà vu
when I met someone that was 90% of somebody else I’d met or the
spitting image of someone from my hometown. I was regularly
surprised to find a Dave who liked wrangler clothes, drank hard and
had a girlfriend called Sue just like someone else I’d already met.
I started to make boyfriend/girlfriend name pairings that seemed to
recur often enough to seem a standard.
If I met a “Carl,” I’d guess he had a
girlfriend called Sarah before he told me he did. In life, there are
all manner of possible permutations or simple juxtapositions, but
memes can make them into regular pairing; a temporary bondage.
Each bar I went in, had its resident lush and a “Mr. can get it.”
Each place I went had the same types of people. I’d talk about this
phenomenon with friends and claim “there’s one in every town.” Like
a hen’s pecking order, I’ve come to realize that human types are
similarly governed. You remove one and another will take up that
A startling possibility is that if certain memes can be linked with
certain places, then there’s no reason that memes couldn’t become
attached to certain genes.
Memes are across all racial lines, and I’ve noticed a line of eye or
a distinctive quirk in someone fresh out the jungle that has
reminded me of a sophisticated urban acquaintance. We have more in
common than we have differences, though I suspect traits and
tendencies along family bloodlines can be cemented into place by
A memetic template that guides developing phenomena would not be
A meme is what gives certain characteristics to a social
development as a gene can choose genetic characteristics. We can’t
see the meme but we may well be able to test for its operation.
There could well be a meme that guides physical similarities as
diverse as a river pattern and blood capillaries and the veins of a
leaf. There is often a correspondence across many fields that could
denote a meme governing the patterns that we usually dismiss as too
diverse to be related.
Memes and genes may be linked in ways we have yet to even fathom.
On April 12th 2002, I was struck by a
news report about an Englishman stabbed to death in Orleans, France.
He had gone there for the funeral of his daughter, killed by a hit
and run driver. This unfortunate coincidence of two killed
separately would make me suspect a intertwining of their family with
France and with death. I have not researched it, but would fully
expect that their ancestors would have also experienced this tragic
I would have expected that prior family
members had been killed in France during the world wars or the
Napoleonic and 100 years war. I would bet money that somewhere in
the past, there is a mortal French connection.
Throughout history, we have stories of cursed objects or very
unlucky things that somehow are imbued with tragedy.
mentioned the 2001 Selby train crash. Only in the Scottish Herald,
as far as I know, was that some of that train’s carriages had also
been involved in a prior fatal train crash in London. Memes and
places and things and genes are all up for consideration.
Memes are probably the reason for unusual physical effects that we
sometimes see. In nature we see all kinds of odd mimicry. We can
easily appreciate the defensive potential of a moth that has cat’s
eyes on its wings, but are harder put to explain the advantage of
some other similarities. Those nuts that resemble a woman’s thighs
are only native to a few islands and are remarkable.
More profuse are the shells, clams and
flowers that can resemble sex organs. Quite how memes can cause a
physical form, is similar to the idea of them being a template. So
it is that some couples can grow to resemble each other, or there is
a marked similarity between owners and their pets.
As well as living things, we can also see the meme operate as a
template on inanimate matter. Did the man in the moon arise as a
terra-formed response to our anthropomorphic tendencies? Thousands
of years may have been necessary, but then what of the face on Mars?
Perhaps the clouds reflect the preoccupations of the people below?
On a round-Europe train trip, I saw the outstretched wing of an
angel in clouds above Spain. A Catholic type angel at that. Over
Bavaria, I noted foaming beer steins, yet in Portugal, the clouds
all looked like the tunny fish so important to the local economy.
The mashed potato style of clouds became the puffy faces of trolls
over Norway and as the train moved to the arctic circle, the sky
seemed closer with striated wisps of wizard beards as if drawn by
Blake. Of course, the lucid quality of a trip spent sleeping on
trains helped observations such as these.
But let me mention a curious cloud-play
I saw on Manhattan Island.
I’d been out and about late and had no particular place to go. Being
a warm night, I decided to sleep on some clean cardboard in an
alley. The predawn trash trucks woke me, and I looked up into an owl
made by clouds. Round holes for eyes each contained a single
twinkling star, and the high buildings framed the owl in a
It was an interesting image but I hadn’t
dwelt upon it for many years until one day I read something about
the original Indians of Manhattan by chance. It said that an owl was
the spirit that ruled the island.
Coincidence undoubtedly, yet as I said earlier, all coincidence is
just a correspondence in the memetic fabric. Perhaps the owl now
manifests itself through numerous people that wear round glasses
without really understanding their preference?
Another phenomena that has an echo which I’ve noticed would seem to
be a statistical pattern. In a way that I haven’t yet defined, I
believe a memetic template or pattern is at work. I’m thinking about
a crowd at a football match and some evenly distributed actions of
this crowd such as lighting cigarettes. Back when I was a child and
at a football match, more people seemed to smoke in those days. At
an evening game you would see a constant distribution of flickers in
the mass of the crowd as individuals lit cigarettes.
Even then, I would ponder at how a
flicker here would be followed by a flicker over there. There was
never an uneven pattern in one area of the crowd mass, and the
flames from lighters in use would be evenly distributed despite
assumedly a random component. A statistician would probably accept
this marvel as simple statistical truth and I can understand it
somewhat. But imagine my surprise a generation later when people
didn’t smoke as much but I saw an echo of this pattern at a game.
Within the mass of spectators were
flashes from cameras. A flash in one area would be followed by a
flash down there and then at another place. While I realize this
even distribution has a statistical explanation, I can’t help
thinking that this random cohesion is part of a memetic template
that governs the behavior of crowds.
An example of a memetic template is that what we call “culture.” A
“tailgate party” would be a type of memetic culture and from Maine
to San Diego or wherever Americans have gathered for a tailgate
party, there will be parallels or echoes of similarity there. When
Britain stamped out an empire in wildly different locations, there
was always that memetic template ensuring a correspondence that
echoed in snooker clubs, churches and train stations wherever they
These templates are just a device to
make the action of memes more understandable to us, yet there are
repeated patterns that recur often enough to suspect that
“Britishness” or “American” or indeed any cultural attribute is
Cultural attributes have many links and connotations, though even
without an enunciated list, we are able to describe something as
French style or as typically Japanese. So for now, let’s just look
at something with minimal links.
Simple recurring pairings may give
I mentioned how certain name pairings can seem not just fashionable
but linked often enough to suspect a meme is helping along the bond.
A Jack and Diane, a Carl and Sarah can be linked not just as
couples, but as siblings or work combinations or as a parent and
There seems to be a zeitgeist, a sort of
memetic glue that ensures these combinations happen in one form if
not the other. This glue isn’t permanent but does seem to exist for
a certain period of cultural time. This cultural playing field could
be useful for mapping memes though it is unlikely to be as clear as
florescent lines upon a dark background.
Memes can act as molecules
either attaching themselves to preferred objects, people and
phenomena and perhaps they are the cement that brings things
A fisherman that senses his catch of fish or there being a girl for
every boy are things that can be helped to come together by memes.
This would then be why certain pairings tend to recur.
When Armand Hammer acquired the company called
Arm and Hammer, was
this bringing together enhanced by memes or simple linguistic
coincidence? He undoubtedly wanted to acquire it because it
resembled his name so much. Since this was a one-off, I can’t press
this as an example of memetic pairing, though I think it can
indicate other more mundane sound-alike groupings.
Headline writers use this sound-alike device all the time, as do
poets and rap artists that rhyme a person to a sound-alike activity.
The interesting question for me is whether destiny can have a
gravitational pull, and along the direction of a sound-alike word?
Sound-alike destiny apart, there are other pairings that seem
coincidentally or unusually attracted to each other. For instance, an incident at the 1968
Democratic Convention in Chicago. It was written about by Ted
Literary Outlaw (pg 446).
Jean Genet was pursued by police
at a street riot and ran into an apartment building to escape.
knocked upon a door at random exclaiming,
“C’est Monsieur Genet.”
turned out to be the apartment of a graduate student writing a
thesis on him and his writing.
Such incidents are frequently dismissed as coincidence.
Yet coincidences happen often enough
that we can examine them for insight.
We all are subject to trivial coincidences that don’t portend or
really indicate anything.
It is the nature of mathematics to show us
a form, a pattern in something we thought to be formless. For
instance I had a friend that I’d see irregularly with no especial
agenda or set activity, just meet up or visit every now and again.
Looking back in an old diary, I was
amazed to find that we had got together on the 27th of every month
yet not for any conscious reason. This kind of pattern doesn’t
really mean anything yet there are coincidental patterns that may
indicate memes. Folk wisdom has it that events can come in threes,
and folk wisdom in general may well indicate phenomena that can be
investigated for memetic patterns.
Coincidences almost by definition happen in an unconscious way. As I
have claimed earlier, memes operate better when they aren’t focused
upon. When we are unaware of their influence, we are repeatedly
surprised by memetic action.
Synchronicity, fortunate happenstance, serendipity and coincidence
are all part of memetic correspondence. It is memetics that links
related events and the force that reconciles separated parts as when
a submariner finds his old hairbrush on a suburban beach thousands
of miles away from where his submarine had been torpedoed and he
barely escaped with his life.
It is this memetic force that makes
the hairs on the back of a customs officer’s neck stand on end when
in the presence of a smuggler irrespective of any real clues.
When a wife loses a wedding ring and it
turns up in a fish dinner is another example of which there are many
documented cases. These are coincidences that are repeatedly
dismissed as one-offs yet recur regularly enough to make an astute
person suspect a real force at work.
I well understand the marvels of statistics and how in a roomful of
people, it is likely that two will share a birthday. These are not
the type of coincidences that I class as indicative of memetic
The kind that of coincidences that I am interested in are the ones
that seem so unlikely that you wouldn’t even make them up. Stuff
like the 1911 slaying of Sir Edmund of Greenberry Hill. Unaware of
the man’s identity, the killers proved to be three men called Green,
Berry and Hill.
The correspondences between the presidency and assassinations of
Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy have long been commented upon. Stuff
like the killer going from a theatre to a library and vice-versa to
correspondences between dates to secretarial names to both
presidents having been in Monroe the week before are funny and
fascinating. Uncanny you might say, but the plethora of linkage to
me shows that a memetic groove of sorts had been worn.
The mechanistic models I’ve seen trying to portray memes in action
usually look like an oversimplified flow-chart. Personally I find
models of action to be missing the point. A bit like theologians
debating how many angels will fit on a pinhead. They are reaching
for a visibility that will elude.
I do use models though strictly for illustrative purposes. They are
like those gaming machines that are labeled “For Entertainment
Purposes Only.” Whether one has more truth to it than another isn’t
that important because I find the subjective component gets in the
way without proving anything.
My preferred model for an established meme is that of a plate
resting upon a table.
The plate is only ever in physical contact
with a few molecules, and if one should drop away, then another one
is always to hand. This is helpful to illustrate how a meme, can be
supported by only a few members of society. Furthermore it shows how
it doesn’t rely on any specific group or geographically close
supporters for it to stay supported.
My model for phenomena like the stigmata is different but also
classed as memetically governed.
Here the meme is akin to a cloud that
grows. Instead of gathering moisture, it is gathering of mental
energy derived from the devout dwelling upon the wounds of Christ.
This cloud of energy grows until an optimum size is reached which
provokes a discharge like lightning that goes to ground upon some
hapless unwitting bystander. This model can explain luck or destiny
in that it is the dreams of the many that fuel the success of the
Remember that I am not claiming these models as absolute.
I am just using a way to make memetics
more amenable to the curious.
We often think that art imitates and portrays life.
It is an
artifice, an artifact of the real thing. Yet there are numerous
examples of life imitating art that show this relationship is more
complicated than we commonly suppose.
Documented examples of art predating actuality are best shown by
using novels, as the characters and events in film and television
are more nebulous and open to interpretation. The Titanic hitting an
iceberg is fairly established as common knowledge but how many are
aware of Morgan Robertson’s 1898 novel called Futility? It predates
the sinking of the Titanic by fourteen years and is about a great
ship named the Titan hitting an iceberg.
Thought to be unsinkable, it also
carried 3000 people and displaced a similar tonnage. The novel
wasn’t widely known and only became noticed in retrospect, so it
can’t be claimed to have fostered a self-fulfilling prophecy. Irony
I’ve found is a reliable indicator of memetic phenomena. Alas, irony
is ever usually apparent only in retrospect.
Though by making ourselves aware of
potential irony and being alert for it, we could potentially
circumvent some tragic ironies.
I’m exploring theory so I don’t just want this to become a catalogue
of incredible coincidences but noted thinkers such as Jung have
tried to get a handle on such phenomena. Others like Charles Fort
spent a lifetime cataloguing such oddities.
Another example could be Edgar Allen Poe’s novel,
The Narrative of
Arthur Gordon Pym, in which three shipwrecked sailors killed a cabin
boy with the intention of eating him. In the novel, the sailors were
rescued after the murder but before the cannibalism. Fifty years
later this scenario was fulfilled with the three shipwrecked sailors
killing the cabin boy with the difference being that they did indeed
eat him before being rescued. However in both the novel and in real
life, the cabin boy’s name of Richard Parker were exactly the same.
When a film or TV show or even a novel has a certain character that
achieves a populist niche and then similar traits show up in
someone, we make a link.
So we might say someone was a Freddy style
killer or an Indiana Jones type of adventurer. There has long been a
censorship lobby that claim violent acts are mimicked but proof is
ever elusive, yet we acknowledge the need for role models. Without
taking sides on this debate, it does seem that the creation of a
fictional reality can have a factional correspondence.
The beauty of memetics of course is that
it allows for the correspondence to not have a direct link. So it is
that a peculiar type of killer with a distinctive trademark is not
even aware of a fictional precursor. Victims of such crimes often
look in vain for a link that proves a criminal was inspired by a
fictional representation or portrait.
Life imitating art doesn’t just happen on a dramatic violent level.
It can happen that a prescient author foretells a wonderful
invention or social development. It can be coincidental in a neutral
sense such as when a crossword compiler started using all the
code-words for the D-day landings such as “Pluto” or “mulberry” in
his puzzles. Despite being vigorously investigated for giving away
information in a covert way, it was apparently a coincidence.
Films as a rule have happenstance meetings but tend to stay away
from anything too overtly coincidental as it seems too ‘pat’ a plot
twist. It is belittling to the viewer to have simple coincidences as
pushing the plot along as they seem overly convenient, and they also
negate the drama of human action and will.
The film Magnolia started
with a dramatization of some incredible coincidences as a way to
set-up the haphazard events of our lives but unfortunately couldn’t
deliver a coherent storyline.
The travel series “Diceman” has a man choosing destinations and
activities by a roll of the dice. I’m interested because of any
seemingly random event and travel in general, but the lack of any
urgency or real purpose in the travel detracts somewhat from the
drama of entertainment.
Does a fictional foretelling of something somehow create the future?
Well yes but not in every case obviously though it probably sets up
the potential to be actualized. A good example here could be the
movie ‘Jaws’. I forget which small town was used as the location for
the movie but shortly after filming the town recorded it’s first
ever shark attack.
Is this an example of a meme growing to
the point of becoming a reality? I prefer to think it is all
correspondence but I couldn’t say either way. Surely understanding
is more important than having an accurate model?
Events happen in life. Those with literary antecedents can seem to
have been miraculously fulfilled, and indeed the action of memes is
a kind of miracle. Even proverbial or semi-miraculous events from
the Bible have been documented in modern times. The biblical story
of Jonah about him being carried in the belly of a whale can seem
somewhat fanciful but it does have a modern day counterpart.
In 1891, a man called James Bartley
fell overboard from a ship called “A Star of the East” just off the
Now I’m not sure if this was a whaling ship, but James
ended up being swallowed by a whale. The next day this whale was
caught by a whaler and upon being cut open, James was found inside.
He was apparently a gibbering idiot for several days after this
Whether the foreshadowing of the future is an example of people who
are supernaturally attuned is only part of the equation. These
echoes are often remarkably trivial and only in retrospect do they
then appear prescient or ironic. Memes give at least a toolkit that
can provide fuller explanation. Another example of such a fictional
work with a future echo would be the 1951 film The Tall Target which
featured a New York detective trying to prevent an assassination of
The detective’s name was John Kennedy.
It wasn’t an acclaimed or famous movie,
but is illustrative of how echoes of the future sound in areas we
overlook and consider insignificant.
Twins are the best example to look at the interplay of memes and
Especially interesting are the identical twins that have been
separated at birth.
Thomas Bouchard from the
University of Minnesota started a study in 1979 that has looked at
60 pairs of such twins. He found similarities estimated at 80%
between such pairs though he discounted some personal quirks as
being too individual and couldn’t extrapolate them into the wider
The very first set of twins he did tests with (psychological profile
tests) were James Springer and Edward Levis. They had
been separately adopted at one month of age and had not been
reunited until they were 39. There were some staggering coincidences
such as they had both married and divorced a woman by the name of
Linda and had each remarried to a woman called Betty.
slightly different account here from the Reader’s Digest:
The stories of identical twins’ nearly identical lives are often
astonishing, but perhaps none more so than those of identical twins
born in Ohio. The twin boys were separated at birth, being adopted
by different families. Unknown to each other, both families named
the boys James. And here the coincidences just begin.
grew up not even knowing of the other, yet both sought
law-enforcement training, both had abilities in mechanical drawing
and carpentry, and each had married women named Linda. They both had
sons whom one named James Alan and the other named James Allan.
The twin brothers also divorced their
wives and married other women - both named Betty. And they both
owned dogs which they named Toy. Forty years after their childhood
separation, the two men were reunited to share their amazingly
(Reader’s Digest, January, 1980)
A pair of twins that exemplified different cultural upbringing had
been born in Trinidad and were separated at age six months.
to a catholic family in Germany and as this was during the war,
joined the Hitler youth. This was Oscar Stohr. His brother (Jack)
was raised in a Jewish family in the Caribbean and had also spent
some time in Israel. They weren’t reunited until their 50’s and both
had similar gaits, similar speech patterns and ways of thinking.
Both liked spicy food and both had the same quirks such as flushing
the toilet before using it.
Here’s one more twin coincidence.
John and Arthur Mowforth were twins who lived about 80
miles apart in Great Britain.
On the evening of May 22, 1975, both
fell severely ill from chest pains. The families of both men were
completely unaware of the other’s illness. Both men were rushed to
separate hospitals at approximately the same time. And both died of
heart attacks shortly after arrival. (Chronogenetics: The
Inheritance of Biological Time, Luigi Gedda and Gianni Brenci)
The above example is from the paranormal.about.com website.
The news services such as Reuters have
regular stories about incredible coincidences concerning twins such
as the one below. Now obviously twins are not carbon copies of each
other and there are attributes that differ. But so many of them do
have lives that run on parallel tracks, that if one twin does
something there’s a sense of inevitability that the other twin will
do something similar just like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Finnish twin brothers, aged 71, were killed in identical bicycle
accidents along the same road two hours apart, police said.
simply a historic coincidence. Although the road is a busy one,
accidents don’t occur every day,” police officer Marja-Leena Huhtala
“It made my hair stand on end when I heard the two
were brothers, and identical twins at that. It came to mind that
perhaps someone from upstairs had a say in this,” she said.
The reason identical twins can often break their arm or get married
on the same days despite no physical contact is memetics. My theory
and contention is that because they share the same meme, they are
susceptible to the same memetic template.
Now it is possible that they develop
divergent lives through experience and conscious effort and thereby
a meme that differs from their twin, but when they unconsciously are
hooked up to it as a cloned animal would be, then their lives run on
Would be devolvers of memes that don’t really understand how they
work are laying themselves open to be used by an amoral force.
thinking of occultists that use ceremonies and other inducements as
a way to devolve power and affect the universe. Like the energy
attributed to a poltergeist, these memetic energies aren’t readily
controllable and attempts to do so can result in the demise of the
The inherent contradictions of a meme
will disrupt any attempted containment.
Having had some experience of meetings of occultists for my own
curious quest for knowledge, I was struck by the disproportionate
share of cripples and generally unhealthy appearances at such
gatherings. I can only assume that those that chant or wave wands to
attract a river of universal energy are merely inviting in a
dissipation of their own.
Now I do think you can focus this river of
universal energy and you can use memes to power your activities but
this inculcation is subtle and diffuse.
A practical aspect of advanced memetics is divination.
ripples that percolate through our universe are readable to the
adept. Astrology operates not by the commonly supposed causal
connection but is supposed to indicate a correspondence. Memetics
can operate a corresponding system that involves looking for
potential ironies. Linguistic irony and fictional foreshadowing are
all tools for a memetic prophet. Random and trivial events are all
grist for the mill with which to grind out a prognosis and read the
signs. The more random and the more startling the coincidence are
all evidentiary phenomena with which to build a pattern.
Most people that dabble in magic don’t really understand how the
universe works and so make bad magicians. Like praying, magic is
best not done for some personal immediate gain or to yearn for a
result too consciously. Some adepts have incorporated this absent of
lust for result approach.
Ritual and ceremony usually drains the performer(s) and empowers
some unwitting other as often as not and explains why shamanistic
societies aren’t very successful. These shamans don’t attract the
larger benefits because they barely have an inkling of the sideways
glance, the soft focus. In the same way that children can grow to
embody a parent’s wishes, a result is often delayed to the point at
which it has been forgotten about.
In this way, we are all minor memetic
magicians. Our memetic desires are often fulfilled and embodied by
our children, such as my own son having fast cars at an age when I
would have wanted them myself.
Our lusts can also morph out from the meme to the physical. It seems
to me that women are getting progressively more beautiful down the
decades, but that’s amenable to lots of other explanations. However
I was quite surprised to notice that a friend’s daughter grew to
resemble his long-time mistress. There was no biological connection
and I don’t think they had ever met, but the similarity was as if
they were mother and daughter. Something similar must go on when
owners and pets start to resemble each other.
As a personal observation, it seems to me that women down the
generations have become increasingly beautiful. Now obviously, some
of that is easier lifestyle, better cosmetics, controlled childbirth
and such factors that have contributed to women looking better.
Quite possibly though, memes could have had an effect, too.
As our cultural icons have become
refined through films and television, so our actual bodies are
terra-formed by mental power, by the will. This will creates a meme
that then can empower changes.
Physical resemblances can be engineered. Actors are especially
practiced at it. Actors tap into memes that help them become the
character. They are practiced at devolving memes and would normally
agree that there is a mystic dimension to it.
Mystics that use
ceremony or intoxication or fasting are aiming for a disassociative
mental state that allows ease of devolvement.
By losing themselves
in this way, they feel more attuned to the universe. Most of us do
this daily by losing our sense of self by devotion to family or
involvement with work or join a crowd like at a riot or football
match. We enjoy being part of something bigger than ourselves.
Our own selves have memetic divisions. For instance we all have a
drunken or stoned self with a separate rationality or mentality that
will react differently to our sober self.
This isn’t the same as a multi
personality disorder as our superego chooses which mentality to
bring forward. The self that we have when intoxicated can be
sustained to become the more common meme of our self. As evidence
for this mental model, I suggest our ability to remember something
from when we were last in that state but forgotten when we are not.
Our sense of self isn’t just a matter of physical intoxication. We
can lose our normal mentality by subsuming ourselves in a mob or
supporters of a sporting event. Indeed we often seek to alter our
mentality by attaching ourselves to something greater than our
individual egos. The joy of watching a movie is often described as
an escape. What we escape of course, is our normal mundane
attachment to our regular memetic self.
When we give up looking for something and then find it, it appears
as if a magical fulfillment has happened. That it has been worked up
memetically. Let me give you an example. I was looking for a book in
the library (Mr Nice) and all three copies had been stolen or never
returned. So I gave up looking for it to borrow. Two weeks later, at
a neighbor’s house, that book is on his floor. In fact it was the
only book in the room, so I did get to borrow a copy.
the pre-causal reality.
At the time, my neighbor got it, he
can’t have been psychically aware that I was going to search it out
to read it. Even though my desire was followed by my finding it.
Just as chance favors a prepared mind, so things of interest seem
to gravitate to you and your orbit. Now skeptics claim all these
unlikely things are ever in our orbit and that we just don’t
normally notice them or that these chance encounters are all part of
a statistical grid.
However anyone that has this experience
of finding the very thing they want to find knows that it is often
so unlikely, that they suspect some undefined force at work. This
force is of course, memetics. For my book example to be
mechanistically understood, you would have to assume a centralized
determinism where my wanting and his having were part of the same
The pulse of the universe which ripples
through like a breeze rustling leaves from trees.
This is where my developed thoughts are more controversial.
tenets I hold, or the conclusions that I’ve reached aren’t as
obvious and so not part of any other memetician’s theories that I’ve
come across. Maybe a gestation period of thinking about it is
required or the sudden flash of inspiration whereby you “get it.”
It is the trivial that has needed explanation. The offhand linking
of linguistics and coincidences that rarely merit a comment are the
very stuff of my research.
These small references are at the
periphery of everyday life and rarely worth lengthy analyses or
comment, yet are the very stuff that fills the interstices of human
By incorporating a
little bit of its opposite into itself, a meme inoculates
itself. So it can allow evil to come out of good or
vice-versa. Ironically, a desired effect can be achieved by
doing the exact opposite.
In political terms this could be a
system attuned to selfish greed giving rise to a society
that has achieved the greatest good for all, whereas a
society built on principles of doing things for the people
can degenerate into one of dog eat dog.
In terms often applied to the Holy Grail, you could say that
only those that don’t seek it will find it. All this seems
initially contradictory, but is the key to understanding the
survivability of memes. Without incorporating or inoculating
itself to a bit of its opposite, a meme would grow but then
burst as a bubble.
This incorporation is what allows the pendulum to swing. It
agrees with the yin-yang philosophy of how things work. More
mechanically than a conceptual worldview, it can school us
to expect the periodic eruption of evil from good and
vice-versa. No matter how perfect a society or community we
can construct, we can ever expect destructive forces ripping
it apart. Or from within, as in a murder in a perfect town
But then also, we can expect a blooming flower of
goodness from the most reviled wasteland. The most horrible
things can give birth to beauty or something that binds us
closer than ever. It is the nature of memes that shows we
should expect the unexpected, to consider the unthinkable
and understand that change is ever present within a
seemingly stable present.
Unlike the yin-yang symbol, the how and why of how opposites
can contain the other is more like the inequitable kernel
and the nut. When good and evil coalesce, rather than being
equal halves, each has a bit of its antithesis at its core.
Take the concepts of heterosexuality and homosexuality. One
is inoculating the other so that there will always be a
proportional balance of both. As homosexuality is hardly
amenable to genetic propagation, it is a counter that exists
to balance the more usual heterosexuality. As such, it will
always be part of human life.
This inoculation of the greater by a little bit of its
opposite is what allows contradictory notions to coexist.
Both are strengthened by the presence of something you might
initially expect to be weakened. Only memetics can explain
why a lion will coexist with a lamb, why there is always
hope in despair, why a wall of mountains will contain a
pass, why dock leaves are close to nettles and why antidotes
are to be found near poisons. The desert will have an oasis.
The answer to something is often close at hand.
A meme achieves greater resilience for itself by this
incorporation of a little bit of its opposite. Take smallpox
as an example where we inoculate our bodies by exposing
ourselves to it. By doing so, we can then resist future
encounters with it. Our bodies do this without any conscious
effort on our part. Similarly, a meme can inoculate itself
by having a bit of contact with its antithesis or that which
would negate it. Something that is “good” is stronger for
having had contact with something that is evil for instance.
By having knowledge and experience with something that could
destroy itself, the body of a meme is better able to resist
contact with it next time.
It has been said
that “coming events cast their shadows before them.” This
shadow of the future that lies in the past can be understood
and interpreted with the help of memetics. I’ve been
successful with mundane and pithy examples, and I’m
convinced that by being alert to wordplay and the potential
for irony, that we can predict events on a national and
Our destinies can be seen as ironical twists of fate, but
usually best in retrospect. I’ve noticed scores of times how
the unconscious connotations of words can guide the reality.
Life imitating art, if you like. And there have been so many
bizarre coincidences involving wordplay, that memetics is
the only theory that could explain it.
An example that I’ve had, is meeting someone that has an
unusual name of foreign origin. Let’s say for example, they
were a baker. Now being interested in words, at some later
point, I come across their surname someplace else and then
discover that it is Greek or somesuch for “bread.”
I saw them, I’d remark on the coincidence of their surname
being linked to their employment. I can’t quite recall the
specifics right now, but I do recall the subjects were
surprised by the linguistic linkage and said they had no
idea that their name had any relation to their career.
A recent example of how wordplay can predict a future event
would be the Harry Potter hype about the recent movie. If
you had played around with the words, “Harry Potter” as a
headline, you may easily have come up with a similarity such
as “Harry Pothead”! An astute person could have predicted
that a drug scandal involving the actor or Prince Harry was
about to break. Now this may seem to be a ludicrous
coincidence but actually is all part of the correspondence
in memetics that allows us to predict the future.
Just as with astrology, it’s not a moon in Leo that causes
something to happen, but an indicator of the correspondence
of human affairs and destiny. All coincidence is a type of
This correspondence is what has allowed diviners to look for
signs in all kinds of phenomena. Whether the fall of arrows
or examination of entrails or the pick of cards, everything
could be said to be indicative of future trends. A skilled
interpreter would see beyond the usual to some anomaly as a
harbinger of something already formed but yet to be part of
The tenor or direction of birdsong were considered omens by
our more pastoral ancestors. This would be scoffed at today,
and quite possibly, the birds themselves have lost the
harmony with us and are no longer ‘in tune’ with the
universe. Certainly modern man pays no heed to such
portents. Yet the hunger to divine what is to be is still
with us though relegated to the rare experiment with occult
forces. Very few people have managed to attune themselves to
what was a prime concern of tribal, pre-TV peoples.
The traditional shamans or seers are just individuals whom
have hotwired their brains into such a state of readiness.
The meme of themselves has been forged along a certain path.
Just like speed freaks whose habitual use of methamphetamine
have hotwired their mind and personality along a path that
continues even when the drug isn’t currently being used. On
this model, it is the interpreter that is crucial. Amateurs
just looking for signs won’t have the required feel for the
Divination methods lie sprinkling water on a bull and
others have no longer been refined so will ever appear
downright silly. Modern man is correct to regard them as
mere superstition because the meme that once granted some
potency has been eroded away. But something that we all have
as a memetic magnet are the words we use.
is usually thought of as something like “Abracadabara”, but
all words have a certain power.
Words are a potent unconscious linker of memes. You can
change your name and thereby change your luck. Or consider
the divinely stipulated name changes in the bible…of Saul to
Paul or Abram to Abraham or that of Jacob to Israel. Maybe
it’s that words can attract or devolve certain memes better
Irony is a key ingredient that can affect our future
achievements. Consider someone like Canute who demonstrated
to his courtiers that it was impossible for a king to turn
back the tide. Ironically this demonstration has come to
mean the opposite of that which he intended. He will forever
be known as the king that tried to turn back the tide and
got his feet wet. There’s an irony that is always twisting
our messages, frustrating our desires and making ‘the best
made plans of mice and men’ unmade.
Memetics will never
eradicate hubris or stop us being blind to our own
limitations or failings, or even allow us to dam these
forces. What it will do is show that irony and coincidence
are warp and weft of the same fabric. It is to be hoped that
this understanding can indeed lead to a more useful model of
action and consequence.
By being alert to potential irony, we can predict potential
scenarios and the most astute will fasten on the likely one.
It’s worth reiterating that it’s not x that causes y but by
looking for correspondences, when we see x we can then
predict that y will follow. Let me try and elaborate with a
Princess Diana and her car crash death are quite well known.
Now a few months before this, a children’s television show
called ‘Early Edition’ aired. Part of the plot involved the
cast reading of a girl’s car accident from a psychic
newspaper. This is in spring 1997 and the main character
(called Hobson) reads about the future in his special
newspaper. He reads about the girl dying because an
ambulance doesn’t get there in time and turns the page to
show a picture and reference to Lady Di.
Now it isn’t the case that the show plot made her car crash
happen, or even that it predicted it. But it is indicative
of the forces at work that were approaching a denouement. By
being alert to such correspondences, one may be alerted to
impending danger or tragedy in your own life. I would have
said that foreshortening her name from Diana to Di was an
unfortunate encouragement of such a demise especially with
so many people now yelling out “Di” at her.
In my test, of thinking about something periodically, and
then this has a memetic attraction for other references or
phenomena, this is bending the future. By actively engaging
a meme, we are moving from simple correspondence to using
the will, albeit in a passive non-aware sense.
destinies may not be altered but within the framework of our
options, we are able to affect changes. It’s a bit like not
being able to change our circumstance yet choosing whether
to be happy or sad about it. Anyway we can choose to attract
or repel references and phenomena to some extent.
Now skeptics would say that just by focussing on something
makes us more aware of the many references already out
there. A bit like when you buy a car of a certain model and
then you notice them all over the place. However it is my
contention, that this is a simplistic model that belies the
very real creative power of our brains to construct
circumstance. If I think about say a Japanese soldier and
then come across several references to imperial Nipponese
military, then something very real has transformed the
nature of my experience.
Because it simply isn’t true that I
was previously bombarded by references to Japanese soldiery.
Similarly for other esoteric subjects that we then discover
links to. We have juggled our future experience.
Now whether this test works for you or not, of course it
doesn’t prove anything. My discussions with skeptics imply
that I have to prove something. But I am showing not
proving. To prove without doubt is simply going to be
impossible just as not even the pope is going to be able to
prove God. What I’m trying to do is show how memetic
explanations can allow understanding of phenomena that
Memetic arcs are better models for divination than linear
models of time’s arrow. By examining the seemingly
insignificant, memetics can be a type of transataumancy
which is divination by events seen or heard accidentally.
But there is a bit more to it than just that. By
understanding memetic pairings and the kernel and nut
pattern of inoculated memes, so it is that you can
appreciate how it is that surprises such as the greatest war
can erupt from the biggest peace.
Some surprises or events that happen are statistically
random. Now skeptics that kowtow to statistics being able to
explain all anomalies tend to overreach themselves here.
Yes, many odd things are to be statistically expected, but
to extrapolate from this that all bizarre coincidences are
statistically normal is making unwarranted conclusions.
Fortunately for them, most people aren’t logicians and are
unable to argue the case that extrapolating the general rule
from the particular in every case has no validity.
If you think about the meta-theory of statistics, you will
have to consider that there is a force that ensures
statistical patterns are upheld. If you have a stretch of
road that consistently has several fatalities per year, and
then you examine the individual accidents and find some that
aren’t attributable to the road as such, (someone reaching
under the seat and losing control or a pedestrian crossing
unusually), then you have to wonder if an invisible force is
operating to keep up the numbers as it were.
This force that
acts as a governor on random phenomena is of memetic origin.
By understanding this memetic mechanism, I believe we can
indeed come to grips with future events.
A skeptic would
find this difficult to accept but then a skeptic finds much
that they can’t see and touch difficult.
I’ve noticed that the
establishment of memes seem intertwined with the demise of
certain people. The development of new ways of thinking
seems to have a type of blood sacrifice associated with its
Whether the meme is of christianity, air travel
or a new nation, blood seems to be inevitably spilled on the
road to establishment.
A new political party would be a typical example here. As a
new voice arises, there is some repression from established
interests and demonstrators or political leaders are often
killed. This is unfortunate but it is invariably a stepping
stone on the path to establishing the new belief system.
Blood cements the idea into a meme.
A new meme is ever fragile but as accidental, ritual or
combative deaths rise, the meme seems to strengthen. The
first rat to run through a maze cautiously senses the danger
more than the thousandth to do so. Same for us with air or
All new activity is dangerous and breaking the mould. It is
only when established that we can treat it as routine.
It’s probable that our ancestors instinctively felt this
memetic truth, which prompted animal and human sacrifice.
This never ensured the desired results and was always a
religion that was usurped. Nevertheless, some memes do seem
to become much more cemented into our psyche by body count
(think martyrs) and some memes seem to generate a steady
toll. An example could be said to be a river, one that had a
personality attributed to it.
Once upon a time, a water sprite
may have been blamed for a steady harvest of drownings, but
now we could view it as a meme. Memes like those for nations
or political viewpoints almost require a certain amount of
conflict to persevere.
This ever present attrition in human vitality can be best
seen in a large business or national conglomeration. Here,
people work and grow old in their jobs. Some die before
retirement and there’s a steady toll, an attrition.
There’s also an attrition from memes attached to certain
objects, what could be called talismans. These objects seem
to attract carnage in a way that defies simple coincidence.
When the bad luck is attached to a person, they are known as
a “Jonah” or some such. We know through fiction and legend
that certain things can be exceptionally unlucky and cause
the demise of say the firstborn or the owners of such
objects, or as with a Jonah, cause a ship to be stricken.
Take the train carriages involved in the Hatfield crash also
being involved in the Selby crash. Not the engine, but
several of the carriages apparently.
To most people, this is
an incredible coincidence, especially as it was a car not
the train that was the cause of the accident. Now memetically what happened was that the first accident
created a meme binding the inanimate rolling stock with a
crash. The fatalities sealed the meme as a blood sacrifice
that also made it more potent. This is the ancient
connection of blood sacrifices creating power.
This new powerful meme then sucks in phenomena. It starts to
attract accidents, and this force caused the car driver to
lose control in the proximity of the fateful train.
Every meme has a life span of its own, so the fact that
people are now aware of the accursed train (Scottish Herald
readers were aware…I didn’t see it mentioned in the British
press), means that it has lost it’s power and probably won’t
be involved in any more fateful accidents. This is because
memes work best when no-one realizes they are acting.
Another memetic aspect to the notion of sacrifice is that
all can be imbued by a little bit of the one. This is the
basic tenet of tribal cannibalism, which I’m not trying to
justify in any way, just explaining the instinctually felt
memetic law behind it. Not all culture resorted to eating as
a way to imbue themselves. Many thought they could imbue
themselves by combustion of the God object as a way
to pass its strength and characteristics onto many.
Indeed, the sacrifice of
Jesus on the cross is the very same type of thing.
I thought I could explain
everything via memetics and believed that the meme pools of
good and evil were vast memes that could also explain God
and the Devil. Surely I had cracked the cosmic puzzle and
found the universal key.
In my desert cabin where I developed the more advanced parts
of my memetic theory, I was surprised by a vision or divine
manifestation thereby demonstrating an independently
vigorously real existence. This was a devolvement of a sort
I hadn’t anticipated and my jaw was paralyzed for three
There was a telepathic
communication of approval, of some incongruous foreknowledge
and in response to a specific question from me, I was
referred to a piece of scripture not part of the current
bible. From this experience, I became convinced that this
memetics is God’s governing system in place so that he isn’t
required to constantly tinker with our lives.
Everything that will transpire
and all of destiny is a memetically governed phenomenon.
Just as a universe can be said to be contained in a grain of
sand, so all of human affairs are known to him by the least.
Memetics can explain the mundane and the staggering
coincidence. It is why God can predict with supreme
confidence what is going to happen. With memetics, there is
no need for individual tinkering and those that feel
especially blessed or divinely guided are reaping the
benefits of a memetic governing system. It is a conceit to
imagine God is dogging their footsteps.
There is an overwhelming need to
feel special and loved by God but he connects with us with
invisible memetic laws that are stronger than iron. Far from
making God redundant, this shows his sagacity for the
dynamics of his creation. A far from blind watchmaker
encoded our rules, our reach and our destiny into our being.
Prayer could be viewed as a type of memetic mechanism. It
rarely operates as a simple wish fulfillment, and there seems
to be a kind of fail-safe system whereby praying for bad
things to happen seem to backfire. Praying for others also
seems more effective than simply for ourselves, and prayers
could well create a meme that can affect an actuality.
Praying to a false god would seem to bolster the memetic
construct that is that god. Unfortunately for the believers,
when the prayers stop, the construct must wane. Despite
propping the construct with constant prayer, this god will
only ever be a shadow to the real one.
Miracles can be explained by memetic power. If enough people
pray and want something, some physical manifestations are
possible. Like the dwelling on Christ’s wounds than can
trigger the stigmata, it isn’t everyone that is going to be
affected. Miracle cures like the ones credited to Lourdes,
it is always a few cures that seem miraculous and many
people go away unchanged. The stigmata seems to only affect
one in several million so miracle cures may well be a
similar lottery. It is the dreams of the many that fuel the
success of the few.
Jesus may well have been able to direct this memetic and
holy power. But as it was written that he didn’t perform
miracles in Nazareth for the people’s lack of faith and was
reluctant to do miracles on immediate request on other
occasions, just perhaps it wasn’t always as simple as
turning on a tap.
Perhaps a certain reservoir of
memetic power had to be filled before it could be directed.
This isn’t implying that God was weak, just that an
operating system established by God had certain governing
Memetics can explain the ironies in our lives. It can
explain why the good can die young or why evil people can
prosper. These aren’t rigorous rules, but are examples of
the exception proving a rule. The opposite of what we might
expect or hope for, is the inoculation that preserves the
There are many minority or deviant behaviors that provide
counter examples to the norm. Seemingly paradoxically, it is
these examples that strengthen the rest. One could for
instance suggest that homosexuality is the example that
inoculates heterosexuality and the existence of one, gives
robustness to the other’s survival. The lesser end of a
plank can help balance the whole.
Good and evil are similarly portrayed as opposite ends of a
sliding scale or plank, with gradations of good and depths
of evil. On the memetic model, these are often coexistent
and the greatest good is sometimes surrounded by the worst
evil or can be the source of such. Similarly a sink of
iniquity can throw up an example of goodness. Happy families
driven asunder or murders bringing communities together
would be examples of good turning bad, or bad giving rise to
All such situations can be rendered as part of a moral grid
where intention, action and consequence are weighted. The
necessary evil of visiting the dentist would normally have
good intentions and consequences but a bad action, and you
can ascribe everything from the most mundane to the most
heroic to a moral table.
This may help our understanding
of moral situations and thereby allow us to juggle the
bigger concept of interconnectedness.
Earlier I suggested that as a population increases, so the
diversity of memes increase. You can see this on a small
scale with a large family. Those with a lot of children seem
to diversify as with any large group. So it is that you will
get a crook and a cop, a sinner and a saint all sharing the
same genes. It is as if our lots are apportioned for us.
Number seven, you get to be an actor or a homosexual, number
twelve, you will be crucified and so on.
A larger family doesn’t bring
mental similarity, it seems to bring all possible
permutations. Neither does a family guarantee love or
loyalty. It can resolve itself into a pecking order that any
unrelated group of animals attain.
As we have gone forth and multiplied, we have also maximized
the memes that can exist. Perhaps we are to multiply
ourselves to devolve enough memes until we reach the one
that allows apotheosis.
I had tried to build a memetic
philosophy that explained everything, even God, but was
forced to consider that God created memetics.
said (Mathew 13:12), “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and
he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall
be taken even that he hath.”
People usually interpret this in a “The rich get richer and the poor
get poorer” context, but it is about understanding. Memetics is
entwined with human nature to ensure that those who do seek will
Whether you believe in God or not, if you believe that memetics can
indeed be a universal theory for explicating things, then you have
to consider gigantic memes for good and for evil. When you make a
moral choice or undertake an action for bad or for good, these memes
do empower your choice and accelerate you further along the path you
I can’t prove any of these claims, but I can explain things that
mystify others. I do think you can make predictions based on my
As if these claims of a possible guide to divination aren’t
startling enough, there are other possibilities on the table. If you
believe as I do that memetics is a governing system put in place by
the world’s creator, then you must also consider that there are uses
to it that are unlikely to be readily apparent.
One of these uses is a quick way for
God to separate the wheat from the chaff as it were.
This system of memetics, regardless of its origins and outer limits,
can be used to explicate all kinds of esoteric phenomena like
It can also make sense of some of today’s baffling
For instance, the spectacular terrorist success in
destroying the world trade towers can be explained by operating on
an auspicious date (for them) of 9/11. The meme of calling 911
emergency created an empowerment to their goals. I’m sure they
hadn’t picked the date for any numeric quality, but just because a
Tuesday flight would have less passengers to subdue than a Monday or
Their bold plan was correspondingly enabled by memetic
forces, which they weren’t conscious of. Another date may have had
more stumbling progress towards their goals. The unconscious energy
in the meme of
9-11 empowered them, but now that everyone is
conscious of the date, it won’t work again.
Yet the mental energy, the meme generated by that event will empower
another date and as long as there is no conscious focus upon it, a
terrorist or some such could easily find his unselfconscious action
empowered. I would predict something could happen in September 2011,
as it has a 9-11 link which isn’t immediately obvious to most
Memetics does suggest that there are auspicious and inauspicious
dates or days for various activities.
Now, what of the satanic faces captured on photos of the smoke from
the world trade centre disaster? A full blown memetic theory would
say that the memes of evil as represented by satanic
anthropomorphism devolved upon the animated object of smoke. Here’s
a website that has several different
pictures of Satan in the smoke.
It’s a similar process that can allow us to see faces in mountain
ranges or in shapes on Mars. Something similar is at work making
icons weep or statues bleed.
This ability we have to psychologically project personalities upon
inanimate things can indeed cause real phenomena.
Throughout history, man has believed high mountains are the abode of
the gods. Singular volcanoes and mountains have been ascertained as
angry, benevolent or sometimes vengeful and sometimes benign. Man
can easily project his own fears and emotions upon the land, but
whilst we today view such things as mere superstition, there can be
a bit more to it than we willingly admit.
The landscape is replete with anthropomorphic shapes. In fact my
memetic explanation of the Easter island statues would be that the
people who built them were reconstructing their old homelands. They
were doing this by representing their local gods, normally seen as
profiles in the landscape, by recreating them upright as statues.
sharp pointy nose may well indicate a volcanic peak and slightly
different profiles may well be the same area but having been viewed
from a differing compass point.
Cloning seems to have run into some problems such as producing
animals that age prematurely and/or are more prone to disease such
as Dolly the sheep’s arthritis. I would explain this memetically as
the biological organism ‘tapping into’ an already existing meme for
itself. Normally an animal generates a meme of itself with a fresh
arc of existence that grows as does its own life. A clone doesn’t
need to do this so joins with a readymade meme, where the groove has
already been trammeled.
So it joins the meme already into an arc of
existence and travels faster along it for not having to blaze a new
For corroborating evidence of memes and genes, you only have to look
at the incredible coincidences that twins undergo. Regularly in the
few cases where identical twins have been separated at birth and
without contact with each other, they have typically identical life
experiences. They often marry spouses with the same name and career
or they both break a wrist or have a car crash on the same day and
Quite happily for these separated twins is that a chance
meeting will allow them to find each other. Well it seems like
chance, but is another example of memetics.
Although I predicted clones would have problems in advance of the
fact, without a platform to broadcast my beliefs, I am stymied as to
how to get my views out there. For several years, I considered a
website and am currently contacting academics, to let them know my
developing philosophy. Any help with research ideas or publicity
would be welcomed.
An early paper of mine is
on the internet and I can usually be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
Probably the best demonstration of memetics would be to predict
something startling, and then have it unfold. However, memetics may
be fantastic at alerting us to trends or possible ironies, but it
can hardly guarantee them. It may be it’s very essence that
something seized upon as a possibility is automatically ensured that
it will not become the case. Specific events may ever slip from our
Trends are much more amenable to a memetic rationality.
considering what could be a factor in making one culture’s memes
more acceptable to another, as in the case of immigration where the
memes of one culture have to exist alongside another, I suspected
that females would facilitate integration. More aggressive males
could rapidly escalate conflict between cultural memes, although
both approaches have merit.
I guessed that immigrant families would
have more female than male children in the host country. A cursory
telephone poll of maternity nurses seemed to confirm this
hypothesis. This isn’t especially an axe that I wish to grind, but
it is suggestive of how memes can be researched and used in the
One of the most difficult concepts in my work for others to accept
is that of memetic word play. It seems trivial to look for realistic
truths in games that are akin to the ‘sounds like’ games of infant
school. However, the interstices of truth are borne out by a theory
that can encompass the ordinary, the seemingly unimportant as well
as the grand.
It is the little things glimpsed out of the corner of
our eye that can prove ultimately the most significant. It can be
the discarded evidence that proves the reality.
Tracking memes is
akin to the skill of the bush tracker. The broken twig or small
depression, are all small clues to the wider reality of whom, what,
how, when and the why.
I started this work with the name of R. Dawkins who popularized the
idea of memes. The meme of memes has snowballed since then, though
the theorists have not really developed the outer reaches of it.
This work is designed to bust open the strait jacket that
unimaginative technicians would confine this meme into.
Memetics is a new kind of explanatory science.
is an advance from one description to a better description that
encompasses more or anomalous phenomena. Whilst memetics is better
able to explain some things we once thought unexplainable, it still
adheres to this traditional model. Where it differs radically is
that memetics says that x doesn’t follow y in every case, just in
Science accepts a high probability that x will follow y,
when we talk of gravitational or electrical laws, and these forces
show uniformly high conformity. This action producing a reaction is
a correspondence that we always see, yet laws of human affairs have
been stymied by a lack of similar repeatability.
Every time a gas
expands, it will conform to a mathematical formula, yet every time a
meme expands through a society, any formula describing it would be
unlikely to have a mathematical simplicity.
It may indeed have a
mathematical representation, but whatever it would be, it would have
a form that says x equals y but sometimes z.
I used a couple of potential representative models in the section on
coincidence, but advanced memetics involves more than the model of a
cloud growing and then raining upon the unwitting. It involves
understanding how a meme inoculates itself for a long life by
encompassing a contradiction or it’s opposite. This is the exception
that proves the rule and makes the meme stronger. Short-lived fads
and fashions are the best examples of simple memes, because the
complex ones of family or good or evil have no consensus of
Our selves can be defined as simple reactions or lists
of likes and dislikes, but connected with the universe, we innately
feel ourselves to be more than that.
The best thing to convey memetics would be a catchy meme. Instead of
verbose rationality, an anthemic song with a turaloorai-ay chorus
would be better than lengthy words. My volumes of memetic thinking
and the hours needed to read them restrict the learning or study to
a literate elite. So it goes.
Memes devolve as rain when a fashion spreads or as lightning in a
singular way. Three or four people may have the same dramatic
insight or revelation or invention that one then carries to
Great artists or mystics lay themselves open to the
meme’s devolvement by practiced operation of consciousness twisting.
It may seem unnecessary to anthropomorphize a meme in this way but I
find it useful to do so. It acts as if it has a life of it’s own
irrespective of the actuality. No matter how precious or wonderful
an argument one can muster, there will always be others ready to
flush it away. This is the nature of rationality and I’m using it as
a tool not insisting that one tool is more truthful than another.
The above points show that memetics is a unique and universal theory
of explanation. Surely more research can develop this potential and
make all phenomena, even that once considered esoteric and occult
into an understandable paradigm.
Memetics holds the promise of the philosopher’s stone. By explaining
all things, it can be the key to the secrets of the universe.
the philosopher, the theologian, the parapsychologist, it could be
the dawn of a golden age.