Neuroanthropology

For a greater understanding of the encultured brain and body…

Complete this quote: “If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…”

Posted by Paul Mason on November 15, 2009

How would you complete this quote?

  

“If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…”

 

 This week’s quote comes from The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins first published in 1976 (I have the 1989 edition where the above quote appears on page 197). Dawkins is a well versed writer with a convincing literary style. An earlier work that also alluded to selective processes in culture, Le Hasard et la Nécessité: Essai sur la philosophie naturelle de la biologie moderne, by Jacques Monod is also a fascinating read that I would reccomend. This decade of research and literature saw a rising interest and awareness of genetics, biology and culture with a passionate body of researchers seeking to deepen our understanding of the central dogma of biology. As Dawkins wrote in The Selfish Gene, “Just as we have found it convenient to think of genes as active agents, working purposefully for their own survival, perhaps it might be convenient to think of memes in the same way” (p. 196). Now, more than thirty years later, in the face of developments in the biological and cultural sciences, and with the recent interest in epigenetics, let us see if people still agree with the ‘convenient’ ways of thinking about genes and memes.

Reply below and let us know how you would complete the following quote:

“If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…”

Complete this quote from previous weeks:

Diane Ackerman: “Shaped like a little loaf of French Country bread, our brain is…”
Richard L. Gregory: “One of the difficulties in understanding the brain is…”
Francis Crick: “There is no scientific study more vital to man than…”
Dr Seuss: “You have brains in your head, you have…”

24 Responses to “Complete this quote: “If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…””

  1. Janis said

    ” … had better have something to do with beer, sex, or pizza.”

  2. Paul Mason said

    “…says something about the kind of brain that it dominates.”

    (I liked yours better Janis! it was hilarious!!! …hmmm pizza…)

    • Janis said

      In retrospect, I should have said food, sex, or the high cost of living. (Women can’t tell the difference between the first two; men can’t tell the difference between the last two. :-))

  3. delzoup said

    … probably came from 4-chan.

  4. Puneet said

    it better be as cute as nemo

  5. gregdowney said

    is the end of human thought as we know it.

    God, Paul, you did this just to provoke me, didn’t you!? Unfortunately, conference planning has managed to squeeze clever riposte to memeticism from my cortex temporarily, leaving only bitterness and contempt behind.

  6. Barbara Ritchie said

    IF a meme is…., it should first have read Foucault’s “Archaeology…” in order to understand the basis of it’s own power.

  7. kubla said

    “. . . . get a grip on reality.”

  8. MTBradley said

    “ … best have God on its side.”

  9. Richard said

    … it certainly won’t be mine!

  10. Peter said

    -jump up and down and say “Hey! Look at me! Look at me!”

  11. Dr X said

    …it must hold a tea party.

  12. [...] Dawkins: “If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…”           Janis wrote: ” … had better have something to do with beer, sex, or pizza.” [...]

  13. [...] the brain is…” “There is no scientific study more vital to man than…” “If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…” “Shaped like a little loaf of French Country bread, our brain is…” “Our [...]

  14. [...] your feelings after hitting your thumb with a hammer.” Richard Dawkins: “If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…”           Janis wrote: ” … had better have something to do with beer, sex, or pizza.” [...]

  15. Teafaerie said

    …must be both beautiful and dangerous.

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  18. [...] consciousness has not prevented us from…” “Emotional expressions are crucial to…” “If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…” “Shaped like a little like a loaf of French country bread, our brain is…” “One of the [...]

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  21. …must provide a reward in exchange for residence and eventual proliferation.

  22. [...] consciousness has not prevented us from…” “Emotional expressions are crucial to…” “If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…” “Shaped like a little like a loaf of French country bread, our brain is…” “One of the [...]

  23. [...] “If a meme is to dominate the attention of a human brain, it…… had better have something to do with beer, sex, or pizza” (Janis). [...]

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