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Holly Arnold

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Are memes important for our survival? How can we draw on memetic theory to inspire ideas of sustainability that go viral?

Memes are elements of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means. Dan Dennet's TED talk addresses memes that are powerful because they inspire passionate, extremist behavior based on idealistic notions of freedom, justice, truth, communism, capitalism, and religion. While not always bad, memes can be destructive and result in conflict and death. Yet, memes have great potential benefit to humanity by eliciting behaviors that promote equality, peace, and sustainability. Sustainability in particular has been suggested to be the most important factor in determining the fate of humanity, as discussed by Paul Gildings. How can we harness the power of memes to inspire notions of patriotism, freedom, and justice that elicit a passionate response for the cause of sustainability, rather than a passionate response that leads to conflict?

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  • Mar 8 2012: I have seen a lot of Internet memes and I really think that those memes are not very important for our survival because they do not hold the kind of reverence that other memes do, such as political or religious memes. But these Internet memes do hold a place in the Internet community, and I feel that they do inspire laughter which is very important in modern day soceity.

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