A meme is a unit of culture (an idea, a pattern of behavior, a belief) transported by the mind of the “host”. Such piece of information can reproduce itself by “jumping” from mind to mind. It is analogous to gene being a basic unit of heredity. The main idea behind memetics is to present cultural information transfer through evolutionary models.
Often times either here on the blog or elsewhere when you talk about communicating ideas or beliefs there will be this mix of approaches. From very optimistic – that truth always prevail, that honesty get the most audience; to very pessimistic, even cynical views – that in order to be successful you have to “sell” your idea, wrap it up in fancy suit, fake it a little, manipulate, make it at least “digestible” or to be frank, dumb it down. Well… If you look at the concept of memetics the answer to this dilemma between optimistic and cynical view is rather obvious – idea of the fittest, most successful host prevails and reproduce.
If you can deduce already, theory of memetics don’t bother with truthfulness of memes nor with honesty of the “hosts” in primary round of what it takes for meme to reproduce itself. To be frank, in practice it often is frustrating how my clients and I have problems with “selling” good, positive and sound ideas through direct, truthful way while maintaining respect for people’s intelligence. It sometimes is annoying yet eye opening how pragmatism and what I earlier called cynicism (or rather how clients tend view the pragmatism in communication and therefore call it cynicism) seem to be the same thing when “reproducing a fine meme”.
If you ask me – that’s why we have so much honest people gone bitter and little paranoid – because they crashed into the wall of this cognitive dissonance between what is positive and honest, and what is simply successful in selling those ideas.
That’s why the straightforward, brilliant and kind people with great ideas need to learn techniques, methods and models of successful communication to allow those great memes reproduce and find next amazing opinion leaders.
If you agree or disagree feel encouraged to leave a comment
– Przemek Kucia