the meme that made me take memes seriously
There is no question that ideas and artifacts evolve, in the sense that they will start varying from one another, and some will be selected in preference to others, and then transmitted to a new generation. Most people assume that this cultural “evolution” is simply an extension of human evolution. After all, they argue, ideas and objects could not survive without us, and therefore they could not have an independent evolutionary history. But that is like saying that humans are part of the evolution of plants, since we could not survive without them. It is true that memes need our minds to exist and evolve, but then so do we require air, water, and photosynthesis, among other things, for our survival. Therefore it does not seem that memes are any more dependent on their environment than we are.
Never thought memes more than a cool metaphor before. Now I’m scared.