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The Meme Machine (Revised)

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A meme is any idea, behavior, or skill that can be transferred from one person to another by imitation. In this book, Blackmore discusses the theory of "memetic selection"--survival of the fittest among competitive ideas down through the generations--to strive for a new understanding of the evolution of our minds...

A meme is any idea, behavior, or skill that can be transferred from one person to another by imitation. In this book, Blackmore discusses the theory of "memetic selection"--survival of the fittest among competitive ideas down through the generations--to strive for a new understanding of the evolution of our minds and cultures.
Review Quotes:
"Well-written and personable, this provocative book makes a cognent...case for the concept of memes and for the importance of their effects on human culture."--Publishers Weekly

Review Quotes:

"Well-written and personable, this provocative book makes a cognent...case for the concept of memes and for the importance of their effects on human culture."--Publishers Weekly

Review Quotes:
"Well-written and personable, this provocative book makes a cognent...case for the concept of memes and for the importance of their effects on human culture."--Publishers Weekly

Review Quotes:

"Well-written and personable, this provocative book makes a cognent...case for the concept of memes and for the importance of their effects on human culture."--Publishers Weekly

Table of Contents:

Foreword by Richard Dawkins
Preface
Strange creatures
Universal Darwinism
The evolution of culture
Taking the meme's eye view
Three problems with memes
The big brain
The origins of language
Meme-gene co-evolution
The limits of sociobiology
An orgasm saved my life
Sex in the modern world
A memetic theory of altruism
The altruism trick
Memes of the New Age
Religions as memeplexes
Into the Internet
The ultimate memeplex
Out of the meme race
References
Index

Biographical Note:

Susan Blackmore is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology, University of the West of England. The author of Dying to Live: Science and the Near Death Experience, she resides in Bristol, UK.

Marc Notes:
Originally published: 1999.; Includes bibliographical references (p. [247]-258) and index.
What is a meme? First coined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, a meme is any idea, behavior, or skill that can be transferred from one person to another by imitation: stories, fashions, inventions, recipes, songs, ways of plowing a field or throwing a baseball or making a sculpture. The meme is also one of the most important--and controversial--concepts to emerge since The Origin of the Species appeared nearly 150 years ago.
In The Meme Machine Susan Blackmore boldly asserts: "Just as the design of our bodies can be understood only in terms of natural selection, so the design of our minds can be understood only in terms of memetic selection." Indeed, Blackmore shows that once our distant ancestors acquired the crucial ability to imitate, a second kind of natural selection began, a survival of the fittest amongst competing ideas and behaviors. Ideas and behaviors that proved most adaptive--making tools, for example, or using language--survived and flourished, replicating themselves in as many minds as possible. These memes then passed themselves on from generation to generation by helping to ensure that the genes of those who acquired them also survived and reproduced. Applying this theory to many aspects of human life, Blackmore offers brilliant explanations for why we live in cities, why we talk so much, why we can't stop thinking, why we behave altruistically, how we choose our mates, and much more.
With controversial implications for our religious beliefs, our free will, our very sense of "self," The Meme Machine offers a provocative theory everyone will soon be talking about.

Review Citations:
New York Times 07/16/2000 pg. 32 (EAN 9780192862129, Paperback)
Library Journal 04/01/1999 pg. 124 (EAN 9780198503651, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
Publishers Weekly 03/29/1999 pg. 81 (EAN 9780198503651, Hardcover)
Kirkus Reviews 04/01/1999 pg. 502 (EAN 9780198503651, Hardcover)
New York Times 04/25/1999 pg. 12 (EAN 9780198503651, Hardcover)
New York Times 06/06/1999 pg. 40 (EAN 9780198503651, Hardcover)
New York Times 12/05/1999 pg. 93 (EAN 9780198503651, Hardcover)
Wilson Public Library Catalog 01/01/1999 pg. 23 (EAN 9780198503651, Hardcover)
Contributor Bio: Blackmore, Susan J
Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, freelance writer, and lecturer. Previously Reader in Psychology at the University of the West of England, Bristol, she left in 2000 to write an undergraduate textbook on consciousness. The author of numerous scientific articles and book contributions, she writes
for several magazines and newspapers and is a frequent contributor on radio and television, both in the UK and abroad. She has presented several television programs including a Channel 4 documentary on the intelligence of apes. She has been training in Zen for twenty years. Her books include an
autobiography, In Search of the Light (1996), The Meme Machine (1999), Consciousness: An Introduction (2003), and Conversations about Consciousness (forthcoming in 2005).

Contributor Bio: Dawkins, Richard
Richard Dawkins, voted Prospect magazine's #1 World Thinker, is the author of the blockbuster bestseller The God Delusion. He was first catapulted to fame with The Selfish Gene, which he followed with The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor's Tale, A Devil's Chaplain, The Greatest Show on Earth, and The Magic of Reality (with Dave McKean). Dawkins is a fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He was the inaugural holder of the Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Royal Society of Literature Award, the Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society, the Kistler Prize, the Shakespeare Prize, the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing About Science, the Galaxy British Book Awards Author of the Year Award, and the International Cosmos Prize of Japan.

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