British evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, in his book “The Selfish Gene,'” (1976), first coined the term “meme.” We understand a meme to be a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices. Among the examples Dawkins included of this effect in his text were catch phrases, melodies, and the technology of building arches. Susan Blackmore, in her book “The Meme Machine,” talks about the prevalence of memes in religion. Memes are often now popularly associated with or compared to genes, and, indeed, like genes, memes “self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressure.” (Dawkins, via Wikipedia) Dawkins saw that memes moving from person to person by means of imitation may be the key replicator in cultural evolution, not genes at all. (Wikipedia) The term was taken from the ancient Greek mimema ( something imitated) and mimos ( mime). en.
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