I’ve run across several references to memes in the last couple of days. To me, a meme (“meem”) is a concept or idea that takes on a kind of reality (or even an actual reality). Urban legends are memes. Kaycee Nicole Swenson was a meme last year. That Tourist Guy won meme of the year the other day. I guess a meme can be real as well, but reality is pretty irrelevant when it comes to memes.

The first reference I ran across regarding memes was a scifi novel I read last year by John Barnes (Kaleidoscope Century). That kind of meme was a nanoprogram that infected your mind and put its own personality in your head.

Dave Winer doesn’t like memes. I think a lot of people don’t like the idea that memes are fictional and deceptive, and seductive. I just think that we’ve applied a new term to the fact that ideas can be more powerful than reality. What’s so threatening about that? It’s not a new concept on the face of the earth. I think some people are disturbed by the discovery of how we all create our own realities–true reality is a null concept.

Even the idea of a meme is a meme itself. Check out this site–is this the new Celestine Prophecy fad in the making? I’m curious to see how big an industry this might become.

I guess the media and the Internet and all the other things that bring our collective consciousness together make memes more powerful. Maybe that’s why people feel threatened by memes. I guess you really have to work hard at life today to make it real and valid and substantial for yourself.