Understanding Memes <Idea>

08/27/2007

(Find out more about memes)


We hesitate to change any culture because of the complexity involved.  Furthermore, since we are immersed in a mixture of own cultures, it is difficult to judge any aspect of a culture fairly.   However, when a cultural concept (like terrorism) becomes very destructive, it may become necessary to try to change it.

If we understand how memes propagate and what needs/wants they serve in the people affected by them, it may become easier to change or destroy the meme.  (Story telling is one specific example of a successful method for propagating and changing people's internal model of the world.)

Lets explore Islamic fundamentalists who believe in terrorism as an example.  The belief that "it is good to kill infidels with bombs" is not "evil".   That is just our culture's label for it.  To the people who believe in it, it is one of the highest goods and combined with suicide bombing, requires the ultimate sacrifice for that good.  If we are going to stop terrorism, we need to figure out how people come to believe that and what makes that belief attractive to them.   Only then can we stomp out the source of terrorism - the meme.   

So understanding memes and cultural systems can help us find ways to change them.  It can help us understand what drives people to act self-destructively and find ways to sell concept/ideas to groups of people who have limited understanding.  It can help us work with people's own models of reality and the world.

 

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