October 19, 2003


Meme, n. : A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

Behaviors and ideas copied from person to person by imitation - memes - may have forced human genes to make us what we are today.

Memetics is a scientific theory unifying biology, psychology, and cognitive science. Memetics has uncovered the existence of viruses of the mind. Viruses of the mind have been with us throughout history, but are constantly evolving and changing. They are infectious pieces of our culture that spread rapidly throughout a population, altering people's thoughts and lives in their wake. They include everything from relatively harmless mind viruses, such as miniskirts and slang phrases, to mind viruses that seriously derail people's lives. When these pieces of culture are ones we like, there is no problem. However, viruses of the mind can program us to think and behave in ways that are destructive to our lives.

This is the most surprising and most profound insight from the science of memetics: your thoughts are not always your own original ideas. You catch thoughts;you get infected with them, both directly from other people and indirectly from viruses of the mind. People don't seem to like the idea that they aren't in control of their thoughts. Further compounding the problem, you don't immediately know whether the programming you get from a given mind virus is harmful or beneficial.

Once created, a virus of the mind gains a life independent of its creator and evolves quickly to infect as many people as possible simply by communicating.


Now to talk about the recent memes in the blogosphere. I came across one, which is an effort to describe oneself by the letters from A-Z. I was thinking about writing about myself in one post. So I easily caught this virus. The end result is posted below:

A - Act Your Age: 18 (Wish I could turn back the time)
B - Busy-ness! : Blogging and bragging that you're doing something important
C - Chore You Hate: Traffic Jams.
D - Daily Routine: Read sports column in the newspaper.
E - Essential Make-Up Item: Anti-perspirant
F - Fave pastime: Driving (Busy traffic consumes lots of my pastime)
G - Gold or Silver: I hate metals.
H - Homeland: Dhaka, Bangladesh.
I - Instruments You Play: I always fancied playing guitar but never tried learning that.
J - Jinx: At the moment I have none.
K - Kids: None. Intend to have one (or more?) someday but will feel guilty to increase the world population
L - Living Arrangements: At home with wife, Mummy, Daddy & Sister (No pets).
M - Marvels: Being able to make myself eloquent and open. I was very much introvert & shy in childhood.
N - Number of Women I have slept with: One. Since I have a wife..
O - Obsession: Electronic Gazettes.
P - Phobia: Can't recall.
Q - Quote You Like: So many... Keep an eye on my blog for them
R - Religious Affiliation: None.
S - Siblings: 1 sister. 1 brother (deceased)
T - Time You Wake Up: On weekdays, I wake up at 7:30 and actually get up closer to 7:45.
U - Unique Habit: Mimicking child talk (only with my wife)
V - Vegetable You Refuse to Eat: None.
W - Worst Habit: Watching TV
X - X-Rays You've Had: Teeth, chest
Y - Yummy Food You Make: Rice & Omelets (no more choices available).
Z - Zodiac Sign: Taurus.

Inspired by Srah & monochromatic girl .


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