In terms of replication, two basic pathways come immediately to mind:
- Make babies and pass on your memes to them
- Make converts and pass on your memes to them
This latter pathway may be further subdivided into persuasive proselytizing or military conquest, but these categories may well blur together, as when the missionary priests accompanied the colonial conquerors into South America and India. Note that neither of these pathways requires that the ideas passed on be true, merely that their carriers are highly effective at passing them on.
There are also two basic defense mechanisms for collections of ideas:
- Discourage apostasy by threat of force or sanction
- Encourage fidelity by promises of rewards
Again, notice that neither threats nor promises require that the ideas to which one must remain faithful be true, merely that the ideas be widely accepted.
So, if I wanted to create a highly effective memeplex, I would be certain to inject these four basic features into my box of ideas, along with whatever other ideas happen to be in the box. In my next post, we will look for these four fundamental features of effective memeplexes inside of several seemingly dissimilar idea boxes: Marxism, Methodism, Mormonism & Muhammadanism.