Monday, April 16, 2007

Meme -

Meme - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "he term 'meme' (IPA: /miːm/, rhyming with 'theme'; commonly pronounced in the US as /mɛm/, rhyming with 'gem'), coined/popularized in 1976[1] by the biologist Richard Dawkins, refers to a 'unit of cultural information' which can propagate from one mind to another in a manner analogous to genes (i.e., the units of genetic information).

Dawkins gave as examples of memes: tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothes fashions, ways of making pots, or of building arches. A meme, he said, propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution and diffusion — analogous in many ways to the behavior of the gene. Often memes propagate as more-or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred to as memeplexes or meme-complexes.

The idea of memes has proved a successful meme in its own right, gaining a degree of penetration into popular culture which relatively few modern scientific theories achieve.

Proponents of memes suggest that memes evolve via natural selection — in a way very similar to Charles Darwin's ideas concerning biological evolution — on the premise that variation, mutation, competition, and 'inheritance' influence their replicative success. For example, while one idea may become extinct, other ideas will survive, spread, and mutate — for better or for worse — through modification."

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