A viral idea, analogous to a gene.
A memetic complex; a set of memes present in an individual, analogous to a genome.
The "Wild Hominid Organization" began as a small part of a massive social experiment conducted by Nathan Martinez from 2012 to 2017 to categorize memeplexes and investigate memetic infection and immunity. The project included the following components:
- Development of a standard method for categorizing memeplexes on a two-axis scale measuring the relative levels of memetic inhibition and reinforcement of reproductive and aggressive drives.
- Development of multi-agent programs to simulate the interplay between language, genes, social behavior and subsistence strategies.
- Mapping the real-world memeplexes of thousands of individuals around the world utilizing original online surveys and apps.
- Creation of a memeplex, its online deployment with the aid of conversational social media bots and automated search algorithms, and observation of personal reactions, rate of spread and final reach (over 400,000 human and bot subjects).
Within the experiment, the fictional "Wild Hominid Organization" served as the container for the artificial memeplex -- an anti-meme or analog of inoculation. It parodied the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations and gauged the reaction of subjects to the promotion of behaviors common to chimpanzees and early humans. The "organization" aspect served as a point of irony, as mass organization is impossible without repression of the very behaviors that the "organization" promoted.
One primary finding was that while it is fairly easy to initially spread a memeplex, it is much more difficult for a memeplex to survive long-term. As was expected, the majority of mature human individuals resisted all attempts at penetration by a foreign memeplex, but in many cases served as carriers by inadvertently incorporating small pieces of the anti-meme into their own social posts. Non-project bots seemed to be far more susceptible, often replicating the memes of the project verbatim. As bot and AI technology matures, we expect to see this tendency reversed.
In our final analysis, for a new memeplex, or anti-meme to take hold, it must either be virtually identical in memetic expression (though not necessarily in ideology) to an existing memeplex, or it must be strongly associated with extreme emotions -- ecstasy, charisma, awe, despair, fear, hate, hopelessness or transcendence. As with biological evolution, the memetic world seems to be a punctuated equilibrium, where truly new memeplexes can arise only in times of mass stress and societal disruption. We also discovered that all attempts to create and spread an anti-civilization memeplex are futile, as memeplexes inevitably mutate and evolve towards Civilization.
This very site is a memeplex, but memeplexes only become detrimental when:
- The memes are false
- People believe without question.
Without belief, errors cannot propagate.
Due to this finding, we contend that the development of genetic immunity to belief is one of the only ways to prevent memetic mutation. To accomplish this goal, we now focus on producing media with an intent to inspire, provoke critical thinking and bring together people of like-minds.
Unfortunately, we have not yet thought of a way to prevent unskeptical people from accessing this site. On the other hand, we feel that it is paramount to form a like-minded community. Some people may take these ideas and twist them into something unrecognizable to us, but at this point in time, we are likely in the memetic Singularity. All ideas that can exist, probably do exist at this moment somewhere in the cybernetic world. Civilization will live on in the minds of the masses with or without these ideas.