Today all are bounded by information technology and meme culture.Furniture contains plasma displays and iPods and skills contain texting and Googling! But the capability to understand the role of information? Truly taxed. Ideas create ideas and help new ideas to evolve. It interrelates with each other. And with other psychological forces in the same brain. Also in adjacent brains and thanks to internet, foreign brains and its’s meme culture. And it also interacts with external surroundings to create a total burst advance in evolution.
Memes, one of the significant means of communicating ideas today. What precisely is a meme? Some people think memes to be simply images with additional text. Artist Barbara Kruger, often cited as a pre-internet forerunner of this exercise. But another kind of meme presents an interesting window into the ways, societies are created and held together.
Evolution of meme
What is meme?
Even though millennials first created Internet memes, the word ‘meme’ originated in 1976! By evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, merging the Greek word ‘mimeme’, translated to “imitated thing” and gene. By his definition, memes mean cultural designs which spread and repeat itself across society. Adding the Internet and a sense of humour and we get the Internet meme. This, a container of communication, a signifier of the comedic ideology and a medium for channelling the integral angsts of youth.
Today memes drip with Internet trademarked black comedy. Enhanced with a colloquial speech to Internet moulded youth. Making it attractive and annoying to older generations. Nowadays memes comments like “oof” or “yikes” for the irreversible Earth’s environmental damage. Or even to express the impulse to “yeet into the void”, to get away from the harsh realities of times, the blasé reactions can be hilarious. But it also comprise a blunt and powerful honesty.
The rise of information concept helped and assisted a new view of life. The genetic code, no more a sheer metaphor, got decoded. Scientists spoke greatly of the biosphere, an unit composed of all the earth’s life forms, along with information, duplicating and evolving. And having observed the methods and jargon of communications science, went on to make their own contributions. To understand information itself.
Meme, an unit of cultural information outspread by imitation. The term meme, introduced in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his work ‘The Selfish Gene’.
Dawkins perceived memes as a cultural parallel to biological genes. And considered it, in a similar manner to selfish genes, as in control of its own replica and serving its own ends. Understood in these terms, memes transfer information, replicated and transferred from one person to another. And have the capacity to evolve, mutate at random and undergo natural selection, with or without influences on human fitness.
However, the concept of the meme still remains mostly theoretical. It is also controversial, given the concept of selfishness and application of the idea to the evolution of cultures. Which shaped the foundation for the field of memetics.
Inside a culture, memes take a variation of forms, such as an idea, skill, behaviour, phrase or a specific fashion. The replication and transfer of a meme happens when a person copies a unit of cultural information containing a meme from another person. The process is to primarily carried out by verbal, visual or electronic communication. Also extending from books, conversation to television, e-mail or Internet. Those that are most popular in being copied and transferred become the predominant within a culture.
Memes cultural effect
The examination of relations between cultural evolution, transmission and imitation has led to exciting theories about memes. For example, countless ideas emerged about the nature of memes. Such as whether its beneficial, neutral or harmful. Memes, interpreted as inherently harmful. Since, according to few scholars, memes are vermin or viruses of the mind. Once adapted into the human mind, the main purpose becomes its own replication, with little or no control by humans over them. However, some benign or beneficial but can become dangerous. As, after seeded in the human mind, it lends itself to be misused or abused.
For example, though memes related with religious or political ideas. They benefit the people who convey them. Those same ones, when forced on people whose religious or political ideas differ, may cause harm. Such as the loss of religions, traditions, social or political stability. Memes related with religious or political ideas can also be abused. As in the case of religious cults or extremist groups, which could result in the death of individuals.
On the other hand, positive memes, could contain those that promote human health and survival. Such as memes associated with hygiene & environmental issues.
Things to learn from meme culture
In May 2016, novelist Celeste Ng bantered with friends on Twitter. And stated an anxiety dream in which her book, ‘Everything I Never Told You’, published as’ Some Things I Never Told You’. Finally, landed on Fitzgerald’s ‘The Beautiful and the Damned’. She tweeted ‘The Reasonably Pretty and the Slightly Sinful’. Along with the newly struck hashtag #ScaleBackABook. Later, thousands of people took up this challenge, exhibiting their skill and imagination in altering book titles and a communal meme got created.
This acts as a great example for communal memes. First, we see community functioning in two ways. A group of friends among whom the idea of meme comes into focus. And the community of Twitter users in common who allows the meme to flourish. Memes, often associated with the internet. As the internet creates huge interactive communities. But the same kind we see in #ScaleBackABook, occurs in families and friends too, without going online.
Secondly, the way in which cases of the meme, the altered book titles, a type of performance. One respects the efforts of others and rarely steps into the loop to show one’s stuff. The behavior created by the meme is like a ritualized game.
Thirdly, the fundamental role of situation in the way-fixed guidelines for contestants. With #ScaleBackABook, cause the community is of Twitter users. Those who understand how hashtags work, features found in most communal memes. Without the dependency on hashtags, instances of meme cannot be confined to Twitter. But can appear anywhere. It need not even be digital.
Apart from knowledge of image macros in common, one would have to be aware of other instances of the meme. To know that the writing should come in 2 chunks, the 1st “Hey Girl”. And the second making point of feminist theory, in a way which sounds like a seduction. One might also learn from the familiarity that one could use any picture of Gosling looking fetching.
Initially, feminist Ryan Gosling memes, the creations of a single person, Danielle Henderson. Similar to the pre-hashtag scaled-back book titles tweeted, it became the foundation for a communal meme. It shows how single images with text added might become the origin for communal memes.
In early 21st century, Internet memes, which emerge within the culture of the Internet, gained popularity. Brought renewed interest to the meme theory. Internet memes transfer from person to person by imitation. It usually takes the form of pictures, videos or other media.
The deliberate alteration by people, however, violates Dawkins’s original notion. And so, despite the fundamental connection to other types of memes, Internet memes, considered as a different representation of the meme concept.
Memes turn out, far from trivial or unimportant. Gives us an entry point, into thinking about communities, harmony, practice, performance and meaning. It teaches us about the ways norms were created and sustained. And how it functions to shape communal behaviour.
Memes-not ‘just for fun’, it contains deep meanings, both good & bad. Always take the positive side!