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The Global Meme Infection

March 11, 2019

The globalisation of travel and communication in short spans of time has connected us all up, for sure, it allows us to take vacations and take pictures of things. It is a great boon for individual freedom. But, of course, such a network, via the internet and media, is liable to infection by viruses. And some of the best viruses for infecting humans are memes. There is a worldwide war to spread influential memes, and it goes so much further than a convenient and simplistic excuse of blaming Russian collusion for the failure of Hilary Clinton and the Democrats at the hands of a wild card outsider.

This would be a convenient truth for the egos of many in Washington. But the real truth is much less simplistic and convenient than this. It is a much more sinister, deeper and multi-layered affair that sees many around the world able to suddenly gain some influence from a meme like a small disturbance on a mountain side causing a great avalanche. You don’t need the power of the Russian government to create influential memes, but certainly governments around the world are key players in this meme battle.

The good news is that there are people now more than ever via you tube, able to reach millions and promote their ideas through long, reasonable discussions and debates. This is the kind of influence we want to have on this world. Free speech and reasonable discussion. Not the influence of emotively manipulative memes that infect peoples brains and cause purely irrational responses. The mainstream media is one of the worst culprits of this latter kind of manipulation, and of course this media is largely funded by a small elite few, connected to governmental influence. That is the bad news.

All in all, we need to exercise great caution in what news we read, and be aware very quickly of news sources that are trying to merely infect us with emotional memes, rather than give us reasonable arguments and opinions and reasonable attempts at being truthful and getting at the reality of things.

A troll blogger in Brazil was able to start the whole Covington Catholic kid hoax, because enough people were happy to emotively jump to conclusions. There are paid groups of people out there, paid solely to support or criticise certain opinions on the internet to make it look like there is a lot of support for something, or a lot of criticism of something to influence opinion. A bit like how they try to influence people with opinion polls. But, in the internet age of social media, it has gone up to a whole other level of global infection.

No one is immune to being infected by some of these memes. I was upset last month about my computer getting infected by a virus. But then a few days ago, I see a click bait story from a standard culprit website, and it infects me with the negative world view implied by it. A whole load of values, of cynicism, materialism, questioning your self worth, all can be implied from a basic click bait article. And if you click on it, if you give it your attention, you are liable to be infected by it. It made me realise how the notion of something going viral on the internet is not just an analogy. Cultural memes really are just like a virus, and we have to tread very carefully to avoid infection followed by negative symptoms in our daily life.

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