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The Meme Machine

by Richard Dawkins

  • ISBN: 9780192862129
  • ISBN10: 019286212X

The Meme Machine

by Richard Dawkins

  • List Price: $19.95
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 05/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780192862129
  • ISBN10: 019286212X
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Description: What is a meme? First coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 study The Selfish Gene, a meme is any idea, behavior, or skill that can be transferred from one person to another by imitation: stories, fashions, inventions, recipes, songs, and ways of plowing a field, throwing a baseball, or making a sculpture. It is also one of the most important and controversial concepts to emerge since Darwin's Origin of the Species.

Here, Susan Blackmore boldly asserts: "Just as the design of our bodies can be understood only in terms of natural selection, so the design of our minds can be understood only in terms of memetic selection". Indeed, The Meme Machine shows that once our distant ancestors acquired the crucial ability to imitate, a second kind of natural selection began: a survival of the fittest among competing ideas and behaviors. Those that proved most adaptive -- making tools, for example, or using language -- survived and flourished, replicating themselves in as many minds as possible. These memes then passed themselves on from generation to generation by helping to ensure that the genes of those who acquired them also survived and reproduced. Applying this theory to many aspects of human life, Blackmore brilliantly explains why we live in cities, why we talk so much, why we can't stop thinking, why we behave altruistically, how we choose our mates, and much more. With controversial implications for our religious beliefs, our free will, and our very sense of "self", this provocative book will be must reading for any general reader or student interested in psychology, biology, or anthropology.

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