In the past couple of years, the term gene, its definition, and its impact has become so popular not only in the scientific community but also in the mainstream culture.
Genes are widley known to be the basic building blocks of the bodies of any living creatures. It is the hidden code in our bodies that dictates our looks, our treats and behaviour. A gene is the unit of heredity in living organisms. Most of us are aware of the concept of evolution and natural selection introduced by Charles Darwin as we have been taught this theory in school.
While genes dictates things related to our physical body, a new term (not much new) came to exist by Richard Dawkins to describe the inheritance of human information. It is the “MEME“
The term “meme”, coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins, refers to a unit of cultural information transferrable from one mind to another. Dawkins said, Examples of memes are tunes, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. A meme propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution analogous in many ways to the gene (the unit of genetic information). Often memes propagate as more or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred to as memeplexes or meme-complexes.
We do inherit our ideas and information in the same mean of inheriting our physical treats.
Memes are as strong as genes, that is why you can see people stick hardly to their memes that they inherited of their parents and culture they have been raised into.
But as genes are subjected to evolution through a natural selection process, so does the memes. A natural selection dictates the evolution of our memes. Some ideas do cease to exist with time, and while fossils managed to save copies of extinct genes, books have managed to keep our lost memes.
In the same vein of competitvness and adaption to environment some ideologies cease to exists while others grow stronger and spread.
While the evolution of mems were going in a slow pace over the past thousands of years, it is now subjected to a faster process of adaptation because of the recent human development especillay using the new advancement in the technology of communication where our memes are mixing like never before creating new hyprid of ideas that are struggling to win over and survive.
Our instinct are not only programmed to protect our genes, but also our memes as well. Maybe that is why we see a lot of people go to the extreme in order to protect what they believe in.