Memetic Engineering or Memetic Playground

Karthik Swaminathan (
Fri, 03 Apr 1998 12:34:41 -0500

Date: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 12:34:41 -0500
From: Karthik Swaminathan <>
Subject: Memetic Engineering or Memetic Playground

Ton Maas wrote:

> The reason I brought all this up, is precisely to
> question the possibilty
> and feasibility of memetic handles or levers for
> social or cultural change.
> I'm sure that the Provos had no idea of where they
> were going - they were
> mainly having fun - whereas the student leaders of
> 68 were _very_
> determined about the outcome of their actions.
> Now, in _retrospect_ it may
> all make perfect sense (although here too were are
> subject to extrapolation
> and interpretation), but how can anyone
> purposively _design_ or invent such
> a minimalistic yet effective catalyst for change.

I would think that if we were to make an analysis of
what could be considered
memetic engineering than it would actually be
something of a bottom-up or even (sorry to the buzz
word), object-oriented approach. It seems that the
origins of many memes are decentralised or are given
the appearance of decentralisation creating a
"memetic playground." Those that have the most
agreement among the participants win out.

I think the media creates this in our society as
does the advertising industry. Unfortunately, they
are with us now for sure so it is in my hope that
these 'memetic engineering' structures either lose
their centralised power (every person, a tv station)
or act more resposibly.


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