17. Meme collectors and meme creators
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Memes (as I explained earlier and as defined
by Richard Dawkins) are small segments of human culture like thoughts,
ideas, creations, etc. created by man. "Culture" is here defined as in its
absolute broadest sense, being anything which is man constructed, man thought,
man influenced, man discovered, etc.
So for example a natural tree in an (by man) undisturbed landscape, by itself is
of course not part of human culture. But the fact that we call it and know as a
"tree", or "boom" or "arbre" is part of human culture. The three names of
course represent three different sub cultures, one English, one Dutch and one
French. The fact that we know how to determine the tree's age, is also part of
human culture and so is our understanding of the tree's "breathing" process
(osmosis) which converts CO2 into carbon (C) and oxygen
(O2), etc. etc.
Human culture is therefore like a multi-dimensional, multi-layered jigsaw puzzle
of interlocking and overlapping memes. Some memes live only for a short
period of time, others can go on for centuries, even millennia.
As individual human beings we deal with memes in three different ways.
- some memes we learn or absorb and use
- some memes we make (create) ourselves
- and some memes we pass on to others
Depending on one's nature, education, type of job, inclination, etc. each
individual deals with memes in a combination of the above three ways. The
mixture of these three ways may be different from one person to the next. There
are two types of individuals however which I consider to be at extreme and
opposite ends of the whole spectrum. I will call them here meme seekers
Meme seekers are people who are almost obsessive about collecting memes.
They absorb them whenever possible every day through the Internet, papers,
books, study, etc. They are usually also good at remembering them and as such
are also great meme keepers and meme distributors passing their
acquired knowledge on to others.
My son in law Doug is a good example
of a very successful meme seeker.
Memers on the other hand are almost the total opposite of meme seekers.
Memers collect existing memes often with some reluctance and only when they
consider it absolutely essential. Their memes memory is also usually not so
good and they tend to forget them rather quickly, unless they write the meme
Memers are however obsessive meme creators. Day in day out their
mind never ever stops in this regard. Even in the middle of listening to
someone else, they absorb a single fact from the speaker and off their mind goes
creating a new meme (idea) from it.
I myself am a typical memer and so is my daughter Babette.
Looking at my daughter and her partner it is clear that a memer - meme seeker
combination can work well. After all these two types complement each other beautifully. They both share a passion for memes, but view them from rather different perspectives.
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Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner