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Cultural Sphere



Memetics is the study of ideas and concepts viewed as "living" organisms, capable of reproduction and evolution in an "Ideosphere" (similar to the Biosphere) consisting of the collective of human minds. Memes reproduce by spreading to new hosts, who will spread them further (typical examples are jokes, catchphrases or politicial ideas).

At present memetics is somewhat controversial. Partly this is due to misunderstandings about what it means, leading to claims that it excludes human free will, creativity and progress, and that it is bad science. This will likely change in time, as the field matures.


Memetic Theory
Examples of memetics
Individual Memes
Other Sites
See Also

Memetic Theory

Viruses of the Mind by Richard Dawkins.

Journal of Memetics: Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission. A peer-reviewed academic net-journal of memetics.

Memetics: On a conceptual framework for cultural evolution by Hans-Cees Speel. How memetics as a topic can help to integrate ideas from different disciplines

Memetic Science: I - General introduction by Elan Moritz. An attempt to formulate a rigorous foundation for discussion of memes and approaches to quantifying aspects of meme activity.

Units, Events and Dynamics in Memetic Evolution by Aaron Lynch. An attempt to put memetics on a sound scientific basis.

Memetic Lexicon by Glenn Grant.

The Lifecycle of Memes by Henrik Bjarneskans, Bjarne Grønnevik and Anders Sandberg.

Memetics: A Systems Metabiology by Ron Hale-Evans.

Memes Meta-Memes and Politics by Keith Henson.

Hypertext Publishing and the Evolution of Knowledge by K. Eric Drexler.

Examples and Applications of Memetics

The applications of memetics are endless. Marketing, epistemology, psychology, idea history, information management, ideology... all can use memetics, for good and evil.

Of Man, Mind and Machine. Meme-Based Models of Mind and the Possibility for Consciousness in Alternate Media, by Joshua S. Latenier.

Memetic Engineering By James Gardner (Wired 4.05 May 1996). About the social and philosophical implications of a meme-centered worldview.

The Church of Virus. A memetically designed religion.

The New Meme by David Brin. An essay about the memetics of critical thinking, science, optimism and tolerance.

On the Memetic Health of Transhumanism

Wisdom in Transhumanism

About the memes of cryonics by Keith Henson and Arel Lucas.

About Deathist Memes

Meme and Variations: A Computational Model of Cultural Evolution by Liane Gabora, in 1993 Lectures in Complex Systems edited by Lynn Nadel and Daniel Stein, published by Addison Wessley, 1995. Using memetics to evolve better movement strategies.


Brain Tennis Debate about Memetics between Aaron Lynch and Richard Barbrook.

Memesis Symposium. A net symposium before Ars Electronica 96.

Individual Memes

Good Times Virus Hoax FAQ. One of the most successful memes loose on the Net.

Strolling Through the Memetic Mine Field by Leon Felkins (The Ethical Spectavle Oct 1995). Lists and attacks some of the more common memes around us.

The Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame. A tool to evaluate the danger of cults. It is of some memetic interest if the factors are interpreted as properties of the meme.

The Holy Salvation Meme by Greg Erwin, a parody of many religious memes.

The C-Realm - Is it a cartoon? Is it a meme? It is C!

The Fish Wars. First there was the Jesus Fish, then the Darwin Fish appeared...

Meme, Counter-Meme, article by Mike Godwin in Wired October 1994 (Archived in Hotwired). How a meme can be used to combat other memes.

Replicator, a poem by Joel Meulenberg.

Other Sites

Frankly, I have no ability to keep up with this quickly evolving area. These pages deal with it more in depth.

Memes: Introduction node in Principia Cybernetica.

Memetics on the Web. Memetic publications with short descriptions.

Greg's Memetic Page

Memetics page of Drs. Hans-Cees A.M. Speel

Memetik Special of Telepolis (in German).

Meme Central

Links on Evolutionary Theory and Memetics in Principia Cybernetica.

Memetics in yahoo

FAQ from alt.memetics.


Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press 1979. A classic about evolution and selfish replicators.

On Viral Sentences and Self-Replicating Structures by Douglas R. Hofstadter, Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern, 1985, Basic Books.

Thought Contagion How Belief Spreads Through Society: the New Science of Memes by Aaron Lynch.

Review of Memes: the New Replicators by Damien Sullivan.

See also

Information Management Page
Philosophy Page
Other Transhumanist Pages
Other Transhumanist Mailing Lists
Related Pages to Transhumanism

Relevant newsgroup: alt.memetics


Anders Sandberg /