Drawing Board

March 14, 2011 |  by

OK. Back from my monk-hole.

It’s time to lay a better foundation. This meme stuff can get awfully airy. So (ahem) without further ado, the key points:

  • Our thoughts are real. Picasso said: Everything you can imagine is real. Now neuroscience is proving it. As soon as I think a thought (or experience an emotion), it exists. How do we know? Neurologists doing fMRI scans pick it up. Mirror neurons in one person’s brain can sense your emotions and your thoughts in their brain.
  • Thoughts are “catchy” Our thoughts and feelings activate others. People who resonate with our thinking and feeling get into sync with us. What are they syncing with? The thought, the feeling.
  • Group-thoughts are memes. When a group is in-sync, we call it a meme.

Memes have two basic components:

  • Form: A meme can be angry, peaceful, rigid, playful, selfish, generous, simple or complex. Memes can have as many qualities as people.
  • Power: Think of Tahrir Square. How much energy went into the “freedom-meme” there? Enough to change a country. It’s a step-up from discussing freedom in Philosophy 101. The amount of energy – the charge – is the core power of a meme.

OK. But so what? What is the point?

Since everything we think and feel is sticky, it matters. Here’s how:

  • Individually: Whatever we think imprints a pathway in our brains. The more we think it, the stronger the imprint. Strong imprints can lead to compulsive behaviors, rigid pattens. Not good.
  • Socially: When we’re part of a group, we either reinforce the meme or work to change it. In other words, we’re either passively syncing with the meme, or we’re using our creative power to improve it. Either the meme owns us, or we own it. Which would you rather?

OK. But what can we do? Next up..

Image Attribution




  1. Hey Jay! I was listening to this radiolab podcast today and though of this blog. Have you heard it? It’s called Emergence: http://www.radiolab.org/2007/aug/14/

    Wondering how/if it fits into this idea of memes…

  2. Perception is Reality!!!

Leave a Reply