Memetic Engineering

"Memetic engineering is a term developed by three individuals; Leveious Rolando, John Sokol, and Gibran Burchett while they researched and observed the behavior of humans after being purposely exposed (Knowingly and Unknowingly) to certain memetic themes. The theory is based on Richard Dawkins theory of memes." Via Wikipedia
"[The] idea of memetic engineering consists not only in choosing which memes to be influenced by but also in counterpropaganda and countersloganeering designed to purge from the meme pool those ideas deemed deleterious to society at large. The essential component in memetic engineering is faith in human reason to discern the most advantageous memes. Dawkins himself expressed a secular humanist optimism when he wrote, "We, alone on Earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators" (p. 201). (Of course, from another perspective, this could be seen as just another Darwinian struggle, with the meme for "secular humanism" trying to crush its competitor for mindshare, the meme for "theocracy.")" Via Jrank
"The memetic engineer will likely want direct unaltered transmission of the meme from host to host, as that gives a uniform basis for prediction of actions and reactions. A well crafted meme encourages replication and transmission (the 'preaching' factor) to others; it should also allow a 'group identification' communication to give hosts a feeling of 'belonging' to something larger than themselves. Intent is likely that the meme alters or becomes the host's operational paradigm (a 'conversion'); this provides the longest lasting effect of the meme, rather than being just a 'fad.' It would be useful if it helped impart a resistance to further reprogramming (the strength of 'faith'), and shouldn't require continual reinforcement (which, to prevent overload, would require signal variation, which may then cause schisms). A meme should be resistant to schisms and interpretation by encouraging 'dogma,' acceptance of the communicated experience rather than a direct one, and enforce a desire for external, 'wiser' guidance." Via 7 Pillars
"What if it were possible to construct a new science of the meme - memetic engineering - analogous to the discipline of genetic engineering? Such a science would allow us to manipulate complex patterns of replicating memes and achieve consistent and predictable manifestations in the form of a precisely altered cultural phenotype. Who would then be in charge of the course of cultural evolution, our selves or our selfish memes? This may sound like science fiction, but a possible precursor to memetic engineering has already been studied at the Santa Fe Institute. [...] The broad aim of this research is to begin the development of a more unified social science, one that embeds evolutionary processes in a computational environment that simulates demographics, the transmission of culture, conflict, economics, disease, the emergence of groups, and co-adaptation with the environment, all from the bottom up." Via Wired
"Memetic Engineering developed from diverse influences, including cutting edge physics of consciousness and memetics research, chaos theory, semiotics, culture jamming, military information warfare, and the viral texts of iconoclasts William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and Genesis P-Orridge. It draws upon Third Culture sciences and conceptual worldviews for Social Engineering, Values Systems Alignment, and Culture Jamming purposes. An important example of macro-historical memetic engineering analysis explaining how domination, patriarchy, war and violence are culturally programmed is Riane Eisler's The Chalice and the Blade (San Francisco: Harper SanFrancisco, 1988), which outlines her very important Dominator and Partnership Culture thesis. The savvy memetic engineer is able to isolate, study, and subtly manipulate the underlying values systems, symbolic balance and primal atavisms that unconsciously influence the individual psyche and collective identity. A highly educated but susceptible intelligentsia, worldwide travel, and information vectors like the Internet, cable television, and tabloid media, means that hysterical epidemics and disinformation campaigns may become more common. This warfare will be conducted using aesthetics, symbols, and doctrines as camouflage that will ultimately influence our cultural meme pool. These contemporary Life Conditions (Historic Times; Geographic Place; Existential Problems; and Societal Circumstances) are explored in books like Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark (New York: Ballantine Books, 1996), John Brockman's The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution (New York: Touchstone Books, 1996), and Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudo-science, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time (New York: W.H. Freeman & Co, 1996). Fictional descriptions of memetic engineering include Isaac Asimov's seminal Foundation Trilogy (New York: Bantam Books, 1991), George Gurdjieff's difficult but ultimately very rewarding artificial mythology Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson (New York: Penguin USA, 1999); Neil Stephenson's awesome novels Snow Crash (New York: Bantam Spectra, 1993) and The Diamond Age (New York: Bantam Spectra, 1996); and Robert W. Chambers' unearthly The King in Yellow (Buccaneer Books, 1996) tome, which influenced seminal horror author H.P. Lovecraft." Via Disinfo
"Inhibiting Imitative Terrorism Through Memetic Engineering - Some acts of terrorism are the consequence of an individual or group's imitation of an act of terrorism, which has previously been publicised through the media. Media reports of terrorism appear to be rising, feeding a potentially increasing number of imitative behaviours. Such reports may provide individuals who are frustrated, angry, suicidal and/or suffering from personality disorders with the means and the motivation to copy what is perceived to be a method of gaining attention or what is perceived to be an acceptable method of venting anger and frustration. Through memetic engineering, the interpretations that are placed upon acts of violence can be manipulated to appear undesirable to even the most unbalanced minds, which it is argued, should inhibit the spread of imitative terrorism." Via SSRN
"Richard Dawkins invented the term 'memetic engineering' to describe the modification of human beliefs in his book The Selfish Gene. He was comparing the information exchange of DNA in the natural world with the information exchange that occurs in our society. Scientists, journalists, ministers, and now bloggers - really anyone who proselytizes ideas - could be described as a memetic engineer. This is all very neutral. Ideas evolve over time. But by calling this 'memetic engineering' Dawkins was purposefully evoking 'genetic engineering.' He was using a biological metaphor. A generation earlier U.S. Surpreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes used an economic metaphor when he described a 'marketplace of ideas.'" Via The Speculist
"Were it not for the memetic engineering of the superbrights and hyperturings over the mass of society, the galaxy would schism into warring factions, chaos, intolerance, bigotry, and superstition. Applied Memetics is what holds interstellar civilization together over vast distances. It is also (along with the Distributed Information Net) one of the most important inventions of the information age. [...] The rise of superbrights and hyperturings saw the domestication of the meme, and the memetic engineering replacing cheap propaganda or advertising or political or military power as the ultimate instrument of persuasion and subversion. Thus the superbrights and transapients - either on their own or working through the medium of or as an instrument for religions, noetics, polities, and megacorporations - manipulate the consciousness of sentient beings under them, and are in turn manipulated by higher transingularity AIs above them, in a noospheric ecology of great complexity." Via Orion's Arm
"This is a new kind of genetic engineering, based on memes rather than genes. Let us call it "memetic engineering." It was not long ago that DNA-level genetic engineering was out of the reach of the human race, and would have been rejected by most people as impossible. That has now changed. There are great potential benefits, as well as great potential dangers, in that change. The same will soon turn out to be true for memetic engineering. Let us focus on reaping the potential benefits as soon as is practical to do so." Via Gary Robinson's Rants
"This paper examines the concept of memetic engineering as a means of facilitating organisational diagnosis and development. It draws lessons for managers and organisational development specialists from current and topical examples of powerful organisational memes. Using a process of memetic mapping through the three elements of meme fidelity, host susceptibility, and level of resonance, managers may develop a heuristic for diagnosis of memes and their impact upon organisational culture and execution of the mission. Potentially, using this dual memetic engineering framework, managers may be able to calculate both the fitness and effect of the meme against existing and desired organisational culture and mission. It is argued that memetic engineering is a practical process for protecting the organisation from toxic memes and as a means of heightening awareness of potential threats in the cultural environment or the mindscape of the organisation." Via ingentaconnect

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