Memes (and quotes): A year of them

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Sometimes the process of change rolls molasses-slow, and one needs an infusion of inspiration to keep the soul tuned in. So in the grand old tradition of setting resolutions for the coming year, this storyteller is going to try things from another angle: posting one hand-picked, graphically re-interpreted inspirational quote or meme every day week (or whenever I can) for the coming year, found either in my daily readings or wanderings. There’s something to be said about writing down these sparks that ignite the flame, consciously digesting them and manifesting them somehow into reality.

It was written:

Culture is a meme war. “Memes” are informational units that virally replicate mind, just as genes replicate body.

Ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins, who first coined the term in 1976, illuminates the nature of modern communication with the assertion that “memes should be regarded as living structures, not just metaphorically but technically. When you plant a fertile meme in my mind you literally parasitize my brain, turning it into a vehicle for the meme’s propagation,” which continues to live as long as it is remembered and replicated.

I suppose I should point out that I mean meme in the pre-Internet sense:

In 2013 Dawkins characterized an Internet meme as being a meme deliberately altered by human creativity—distinguished from biological genes and Dawkins’ pre-Internet concept of a meme which involved mutation by random change and spreading through accurate replication as in Darwinian selection. Dawkins explained that Internet memes are thus a “hijacking of the original idea”, the very idea of a meme having mutated and evolved in this new direction. Further, Internet memes carry an additional property that ordinary memes do not—Internet memes leave a footprint in the media through which they propagate (for example, social networks) that renders them traceable and analyzable. Internet memes are a subset that Susan Blackmore called temes—memes which live in technological artifacts instead of the human mind.

So with the idea of spreading some visual bits of inspiration and optimism, here goes Day #1.

I chose this quote as the basis for this meme-bit because it echoes something I once told a dear friend, whom I’ve always considered to have a deep spiritual nature. But the mundane, slow grind of our daily lives can make us forget who we really are on the inside, can make us feel that our lives are only what’s external and what’s in front of us. That’s what my friend was going through at the time, bogged down by the responsibilities of a new job that didn’t feel fulfilling. But these accessory things of career, status and acclaim are only a tiny part of what actually is there, of what is possible. I told her: “I want to tell you, to keep your eyes and spirit on nothing earthbound.” She understood; her face brightened and her eyes sparkled so. We all need these reminders sometimes.

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