Chapter One: What Is A Meme?

Arthur T. Murray uj797 at
Thu Aug 13 08:12:18 EST 1998 Chapter One:
What Is A Meme?

Logic dictates that we should have a definition of meme, mais ce
n'existe pas. Immediately the question arises, what does not ex-
ist, the meme or its definition? See, Professor Sartre, memes are
already an existential quandary, a post-beatnik Zen koan for the
Generation Zero of the new millennium.

   And yet, in their non-existence lies the tremendous power of
memes, their fatal attraction for Cyborg Curious and for Human
Noumenon, because the mind of man or machine will try but fail to
slip a Merriam-Webster hook around memes or to
grok them in the Oxford English Dictionary.
But if it ain't in the O.E.D. ergo Q.E.D.

   In thought, word and deed a meme is a form of psychological
anti-matter, so uncontainable in any container that, if your mind
should ever come in direct contact with memes: poof! Swiss cheese
in your skull.

   Memes exist in the shade of a Forbidden Planet or on the Dark
Side of the Moon.  They flit like neutrinos through the brain of
every man and android. No one but you who enter here can control
memes because it is in their nature to be the elusive glimpse of
a non-idea, a slippery figment which our imagination tries to
fix and factualize - with no result but an unrequited slavish
devotion to memes.  For it is in chasing memes that we fall vic-
tim to nonesuch, and it is in remembering the oubliette that we
save memes from oblivion.  To paraphrase Publius Vergilius Maro
of "Arms and the Man" (no, not Hemingway) fame:  Memes exist be-
cause they seem to exist.

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