Meme In Susan Blackmore's Essay 'Strange Creatures'

Good Essays
The notion of "meme," as described in Susan Blackmore's essay "Strange Creatures" is a rather confusing topic. She tends to give us a sense of humiliation, suggesting that we are nothing but imitations or copies of other, indicating that we are not creative enough to innovate ideas our self. However, Alain de Botton's essay "On Habit" can serve as an interpretation to the fact that us humans are creative enough to innovate our own new ideas, and that the word "meme" does not really tell us everything about the world. The main problem lying within the notion of "meme" is that it seems to be too negative. It willfully obscures the idea of human creativity and innovation. However, despite the wide criticism of the theory of memetics, it does seem…show more content…
Which is exactly why she introduces the subject of "meme" to us. Blackmore implies "Instead of thinking of our ideas as our own creations, and as working for us, we have to think of them as autonomous selfish memes, working only to get themselves copied"(Blackmore,37). Suggesting that we should not think of ideas as our own brilliance rather a copy of someone else, she blatantly asserts that we are not creative enough for innovation. In contrast, de Botton's essay "On Habit" gives us a different view regarding the notion of "meme". De Botton asserts "De Maistre pioneered a mode of travel that was to make his name: room-travel"(de Botton, 60). De Botton mentions De Maistre for the fact that he had invented his own mode of traveling, which certainly seems to collide with Blackmore's perception of us humans. Similarly, de Botton also mentions Etienne Montgolfier in his essay who had constructed a balloon that flew above the Royal Palace for 8 minutes. It is, in fact, their creativity and innovation that led them to such lofty heights. The world would not have been progressing had we not been able to generate our own new ideas. The fact that new technology is at a rapid rise gives us an indication that people have new fresh ideas which are leading to more and more exciting new stuff. Furthermore, Blackmore suggests that genes "self-replicate". However, doesn't self-replicate mean to create by ones…show more content…
Blackmore aims to compare memes to genes in the sense that both seem to spread within our body. However, memes are not exactly like genes. Genes self-replicate, meaning they are created by us, whereas memes are spread from one brain to another. Furthermore, genes are replicated biologically, passed from parent to child, but memes are not replicated biologically. Dawkins suggests genes are carried on by hosts, therefore Blackmore regarding us as the "hosts" which memes use to pass on from person to another. As Blackmore implies "Memes spread themselves out indiscriminately without regard to whether they are useful, neutral or positively harmful to us"(Blackmore,37). Suggesting that whether we want them to spread within us or not, they will, as our ability to imitate is very sharp, whether they are useful or not. Just like genes, memes are selfish and will simply spread if they can. For example, when Blackmore talks about the "Happy Birthday" song. If someone even says those words, automatically the tunes seems to come into our mind. Those words indeed could be put into the category of meme, as they just pass on from one person to another, not really sure whether they have a positive or harmful effect on
Get Access