Mimetics: EXPLAINED!

Jack Shearing (2/14/2017)

Following the 2016 Presidential election a very old field of study has received new attention: Mimetics. Mimesis the Greek word from which we derive the terms meme and imitation. Mimetics is then the study of imitation and memes. Aristotle wrote about mimesis in his classic work titled Poetics on the subject of Dramatic Theory where he said this about mimesis, “The instinct of imitation is implanted in man from childhood, one difference between him and other animals being that he is the most imitative of living creatures, and through imitation learns his earliest lessons”. In other words, Humans are natural imitators. It is ingrained into our beings and out of all of god’s creations we are the best at it. The meme then being an integral concept for modern citizens to understand. In some cases, memes can be dangerous, so learning about memes can help you defend yourself and your family against them or even use them to defend ourselves against our enemies.

Meme: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture <Memes (discrete units of knowledge, gossip, jokes and so on) are to culture what genes are to life. Just as biological evolution is driven by the survival of the fittest genes in the gene pool, cultural evolution may be driven by the most successful memes. — Richard Dawkins>

The atheist has a point here. (And as an aside I’d like to point out that unlike the American left, although I disagree with someone on a certain topic such as Mr. Dawkins, I won’t exclude them from the discussion when they have a fair point.) Memes want to survive; they compete against each other for brain chemistry in living beings. A joke for instance your buddy tells you while out hunting is a meme. When you tell that joke to your wife you are helping that meme reproduce. If it’s a good meme, then your wife will tell it to someone else and someone else ad infinitum. The joke might even change or mutate as it passes from person to person becoming funnier and funnier, increasing its chance to reproduce.

Memes have grown with civilization, from Plato to Los Angeles, memes, imitation and mimetics have wholly infused into civilization as we know it, as we have ever known it. One meme that we share with the Greeks is Democracy while rights for Women is our own special modern mutation on the idea. Certain memes such as Nazism and Communism have toppled empires and burned nations to dust. While others like Liberty, Freedom and Democracy empowered us to prosper in the face of hardship.

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