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3. Creativity > 26. Enjoy Good, Clean Memetic Sex

Enjoy Good, Clean Memetic Sex

You can think of conversation as a kind of mental sex that produces ideas rather than physical offspring. To produce good ideas, though, it’s best to follow a few rules of “memetic hygiene.”

Memes are self-reproducing ideas. According to the theory of memetics, they act like genes by using our minds to replicate themselves, just as our genes use our bodies to do so. The idea of memes was independently discovered by British ethologist Richard Dawkins and several other thinkers. Dawkins, who coined the term meme, explains memes this way:

Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperm or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation.1


  

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