elective affinity & polar memetics

Memetics tends to focus on ideas that are contageous, catchy; that we are exposed to and then tend to adopt. However not all memes are catchy- some are repulsive. There is at least some metric similar to “charge” to will attract or repel an idea. In some cases, it might depend on the characteristics of the people that adopt this type of meme – rather than about the meme itself.

Cutting to the chase: People may elect to adopt memes as a way of identifying themselves in a group. These memes are positive binders within a certain group, but also be repulsive to those outside the group. Imagine the hippy memeplex of tie-dye and long hair. This is adopted by some as something of an elective affinity. Outside of this group while tie-dye may normally be an attractive fashion is it shunned because of the association with the set of ideas held by people who identify themselves with such a fashion.

Another example is that of vegetarianism. On the face of it, it is quite a reasonable practice in moderation. My hopethesis is that people may resist claiming they are a vegetarian for fear that people might label them as a hippie. You may think of your own examples, but the point is that the elective affinity of one group for a particular set of memes may “charge” that meme positively or negatively based on an individuals perspective of that group.


About livingthememe

engineer and armchair philosopher
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