Thursday, December 27, 2012

Epimemetics, a memetic concept

Just as traditional genetics is being substantially transformed in epigenetic research, also the "meme" should do a rewrite of its principles having epigenetics as inspiration. Call it "epimemetics" for now, until we find validity in this term.

Since the first descriptions of memes and its evolution (Dawkins, 1976), few have been the variations to the theory, in part because of the uneven acceptance this theory has had by ethologists and sociologists. In fact, this theory being accepted by the scientific community is a step that should pass over many egos before hold. But, Why?

Precisely, is the intrinsics to the theory itself what makes it so difficult to digest - if something characterizes humans (scientists included) is our lack of humility as intellect is concerned. The baseline problem is to accept two fundamental points:

1) A meme is always considered an evolution of previous memes by a process of recombination.

2) We are a product of our memes in their phenotypic expression, not an individual who freely choose their destiny.

These two concepts together result in almost a direct insult to our intellect no longer, but beyond our ability to perceive the world. 

Since the phenotypic expression of a meme is part of the personality (eg referring to how a new ideology or a change of religion can modify the behavior of an individual to its deepest roots), we are leaving our innermost self to heave the set of memes that have nested in our brain.

So suppose that we have accepted these points and are willing to accept that our world view is the phenotype of memes that are now expressed in our consciousness ... Now what?

1 comment:

  1. There was another blog that has some pretty interesting insights into memetics here:

    To be honest, this is a field that I've been utterly fascinated with for years, and my understanding of epigenetics is rather limited, so if you would, help me to understand that better so that I can help apply it to the memetic context.

    Finally, I had been thinking a lot lately about why there has been so little new material in the way of memetics becoming a real and serious scientific field: ethics. Long-gone are the days when you'd find a scientist who was willing, publicly, to alter the memes in a particular mind to see the outcome. "Brainwashing" and thought control are very looked down upon as acceptable tools in experimental science nowadays. Thus, it's hard to perform practical experiments memetics might require.