Choosing Memes


“When people get immersed in a culture with strong new memes, it tends to be a sink-or-swim proposition. Either you change your mind, succumbing to peer pressure and adopting the new memes as your own, or you struggle with the extremely uncomfortable feeling of being surrounded by people who think you’re crazy or inadequate. The fact that you probably think the same about them is little consolation.”
–Richard Brodie, Virus of the mind


According to Wikipedia, “The meme, analogous to a gene, was conceived as a “unit of culture” (an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour, etc.) which is “hosted” in the minds of one or more individuals, and which can reproduce itself, thereby jumping from mind to mind.” In other words its a catchphrase, a slogan, words with images attach that we spread like lol catz on these inter webs. I love Richard Brodie’s book on memeology, Virus of the Mind tho the implications of this quote has my mind reeling this evening.
There have been several political situations in recent memory that I have felt were at an impasse because at their basis they were competing narratives. Two competing historical stories that were at war with each other. Unfortunately I was mistaken. What was really happening was a battle of the memes that the narratives bred.
Competing narratives can be resolved with critical thought and acceptance that neither side carries the whole truth. However once slogans and catchphrases become part of the armament that two sides carry into battle, there can be no real winner because memes tend to turn off any possibility of critical thought whatsoever. You can recognize the process easily enough. Instead of trying to understand multiple sides of a dispute, people start shouting statistics at each other or slogans or half-truths that everybody knows. As soon as people do this, then they are spreading memes not trying to solve problems. Occasionally one set of memes will overpower or gain more support than the other and that may resolve things but usually a war of memes leads to mutual destruction either quickly or slower. The main problem with memes is that they are forever reproducing themselves and tend to loop where critical thinking tends to be open ended (Thesis, antithesis, synthesis which leads to a new thesis etc..)
We have the ability to decide what memes we expose ourselves to or at least which ones we chose to replicate. Some memes are positive, life and thought affirming. Tho almost always when we start quoting statistics and spreading slogans they replace our thought processes.
Blessings, G


Click on images to see full-sized:


Insubstantial TranSubstanceInsubstantial Transubstantiation by G A Rosenberg


Romance Novel Cover For a Surreal AgeRomance Cover For a Surreal Age by G A Rosenberg


Quote of the Day – November 27 2012

“There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”
― Ray Bradbury


Ideas according to man are notoriously difficult to kill.  Yet people try to kill ideas all the time. Either they try to excise all uses of the ideas and thought or they distort the meaning so that noone will recognize it such as freedom.
Yet ideas like books can also be preserved by those who love them and those who believe in them. Noone can stop an idea that’s been shared. Noone can squash a dream that’s in the hearts and heads of many.

So hear’s what I propose we do. Consider it an exercise for our growth, an invocation and an exorcism at the same time. As soon as you have an idea worth sharing, do so. Write a book, tell a story, sing a song, paint a picture, photoshop an image… carve it out of mash potatoes but communicate it. Send it out into the world and it will live. You know its happened when you have the idea com back to you.  Even if the form is different you sent a new meme into the world and in your own way have changed human history. Just by expressing your idea and doing it well. Kind of humbling it is.

Blessings, G


Click on images to see full-size


Small Tear in the Framework by G A Rosenberg


Reflection by G A Rosenberg

Quote of the Day – February 26 2012

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
― Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda

Now there’s a quote that gives me chills. Edward L. Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud and in many ways could be considered a godfather of modern culture. He was definitely the father of public relations. As a young man he worked for the Committee on Public Relations which helped sell American involvement in WWI to Europeans. He came back home to the United States with the idea that the propaganda model he learned could have peace time applications and so became the first public relations representative.
Among other things that he was responsible for was:

  • Making it publicly respectable for women to smoke in public (by selling the concept as ‘torches of freedom’

  • product placement in movies

  • the first celebrity endorsement of politicians

  • focusing not on selling people what they need but on what they desire and speaking to those unconscious desires thus helping to create consumer culture

These are just some of the reasons why I describe him as a ‘godfather’ of modern culture. Those interested can find out a lot more about Edward Bernays, and other influential members of his family by watching Adam Curtis’s fascinating four part BBC documentary, The Century of the Self. You can download and watch this documentary at
While I dislike most of what he stood for (almost all of it) and many of the applications of it, I have to point out on reflection, that without the idea of being able of merchandising culture, most modern ways of communication and entertainment wouldn’t exist including things like Face Book>

My question would be how do we use these techniques to empower people, to help promote taking responsibility for our own decisions and actions and evolution and promote the ideas of love and compassion rather than greed? For a very long time, we’ve had some pretty destructive memes floating around out there. Can we find healthy ones that promote self-actualization and start propagating them? What do you think they would be?
Blessings, G

Click on images to see full-size

Mind Field by G A Rosenberg

Sky Dragon by G A Rosenberg

Memes-Spread the word

Meme can be defined  units of consciousness or ideas that get reproduced  by repetition in similar ways to how genes get biologically reproduced. An advertising slogan can be considered a meme. So can a hook to a top 40 song. So can expressions that we hear commonly

“My bad”


“Weapons of mutual destruction”

“Don’t worry, be happy”

Any racial, ethical gender or other slur that gets repeated without direct knowledge would be a meme.

“The world will end in 2012”

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and gosh darn it people like me..”

All memes.

One of the most interesting qualities of memes to me would be the way they stick inside your head and echo till you find yourself repeating them. It could be a song that you hum…, or self talk…it could be a joke from a sitcom that you saw the night before but memes like to reproduce

Hmmm….so ideas that echo in our head that we think about and if our thoughts affect our reality….then the memes that enter our heads daily affect our reality!!!!

Sure makes a good argument for being  careful about what information we let enter into our heads and what memes we spread…

When people ask how we are doing do we say “Same shit , different day” or do we say “Every day a new adventure….”

How does saying each of those affect our reality?

How does the things we say affect the reality of the people around us?

Lots of great questions

Lots of awesome responsibility

Starting today I think i will start putting out….

Sorry couldn’t resist 🙂

I will start putting out a quote of the day, some meme that I’ve come across that I feel like sharing. I do this quite a bit on twitter.

Quote of the Day

“Act so as to encourage the best in others, and by so doing you will develop the best in yourself. ” — Felix Adler

sand angels

Making Angels in the sands of time