Memes explained, Memeplex Islam!
A memeplex, a set of memes, meant to propagate and spread, like a virus/
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Have you ever wondered why so many Muslim men are dedicated to killing Americans? Or why so many are willing to blow themselves up to kill Israelis? Or why they are so committed to blowing up random people in Bali, London, Madrid, etc.?
Orthodox Muslims are doing this all over the world, attacking westerners and their own fellow Muslims alike. Why?
Because of memes. A meme is anything that can be copied from one mind to another. The custom of shaking hands, for example, is a meme. A melody is a meme. A recipe for lemonade is a meme. Even the word "meme" is a meme, which has just made a copy of itself in your mind.
One of the characteristics of memes is they can evolve because some memes are better at making copies of themselves than other memes. They get more copies of themselves into other minds.
So memes compete with each other and evolve. Part of the way they become better at making copies is to join together with other memes in a mutually-supporting group. A combination of memes (known as a "memeplex") is often able to get itself into more minds than single memes.
From a memetics standpoint, a religion is a memeplex — collection of memes. One of the memes might be, for example, "This is a holy book."
And the holy book itself is, of course, a collection of memes.
Let's look at how religious memeplexes evolve and compete. To begin with, let's assume we already have a religion established. It already has a holy book and millions of people already have a copy of the memeplex in their minds.
And then there is a slight variation.
The original memeplex had a "live and let live" attitude, and never tried to encourage its followers to get converts. But then someone comes up with the idea that if you can persuade a non-believer to become a believer, you earn some sort of spiritual merit. You are saving souls, and your chances of getting into heaven are better.
Okay, now you have two variations on the same memeplex: One says "live and let live." The other motivates people to spread the memeplex to others.
After a thousand years, which of the two variations will have more copies in the minds of people? I'm betting on the motivated-to-spread-it version.
Let's assume the motivated memeplex is more successful. Does that mean it makes people happier? Or more successful in life? Or have healthier children? No. Just because a memeplex is successful doesn't mean it benefits any of the people holding the memeplex.
The same is true in genetics. Contrary to common sense, a successful gene doesn't necessarily benefit the organism. It is "successful" in the sense that it has made lots of copies of itself and is found in many organisms. But it may actually be harmful for the organism. For example, if there is a gene for alcoholism, and if drinking causes someone to have more children (or start having children younger) than someone who doesn't drink, over thousands of years, the alcoholism gene would be more successful than the non-alcoholism gene even though it is bad for each individual person carrying the gene.
In the same way, the success of a meme doesn't necessarily mean it's good for the person holding that meme.
If a memeplex says it is wrong to use contraception and wrong to masturbate, that memeplex would get itself copied into more minds than an identical memeplex without these two added memes (assuming offspring would be taught the memeplex too).
So the hapless believer, trying to follow the rules and be a good person by avoiding the evils of contraception and masturbation, would have more children than he might want or could afford, causing him to work overtime to support them — working two jobs if he must. It sends him to an early grave, but puts more copies of that memeplex into the minds of future generations than someone without those two memes.
So the memeplex has used the man for its own purposes, or at least that's one legitimate way to look at it. And it's a way that sheds new light on Islamic terrorism, which is why I've spent so much time explaining this idea.
The three elements that make for a successful meme are fecundity, fidelity, and longevity. In other words, if a meme makes lots of copies of itself, copies itself accurately, and lasts long enough to make copies into other minds, it is a successful meme. All else being equal, the meme that makes more copies, or copies with more fidelity, or lasts longer in the mind, will always out-compete a meme that does any of these less effectively.
Now, with that understanding, here's my point: If you were going to deliberately design a combination of memes with the purpose of making a memeplex that could eventually dominate the world — one that would eventually out-compete every other memeplex — you would be hard-pressed to do better than Islam.
We might admire the brilliance of the Islamic memeplex in an abstract, intellectual sort of way, but it is terrifyingly real. Millions of people try to follow these memes to the letter. And their belief in the memeplex is strongly supported by the side-effects of Shari'a law. By making the government and laws ruled by Islam, the memeplex applies two powerful principles of influence: social proof, and authority.
Everyone practices the religion in an Islamic state (or they are flogged, taxed, or killed) and no one can criticize it, not friend-to-friend, and not through any media. The psychological impact of this is enormous. Three generations later, it would be almost impossible for any Muslim living in that state to think outside of Islam. The authority and social proof would be overwhelming.
If you were trying to come up with a memeplex to take over the world, I don't know if you could do better than Islam.
Of course, just because I admire the genius of the memeplex doesn't mean I'm in favor of it. As a non-Muslim, I am wholeheartedly against it. Remember, the success of a meme has nothing to do with making people happy or healthy. Memetic success only means it propagates well.
The same is true for genes. A successful gene is one that gets the most copies of itself into future generations. The genes making up a deadly virus may kill millions of people and cause untold misery, but from a genetics point of view, the virus is genetically successful.
Genes don't care about people. They don't try to make us happy. They are cold and indifferent to our plight.
Same with memes. A memeplex will use up and spit out human lives in the service of its propagation, indifferent to the pain, misery, or death it causes.
A memeplex, well-drilled into someone's head and reinforced by the powerful authority and social proof of his whole society, can cause him to blow himself up just to kill others for the fulfillment of a fantasy goal of ultimately attaining world peace and the triumph of Allah (and a harem of 72 dark-eyed voluptuous beauties devoted to his every wish).
The Islamic memeplex is formidable. It is a force to be reckoned with and we ignore it at our peril. It has already consumed the minds of one and a half billion people, and it is the youngest of the major religions. And it is growing.
And yet, I don't think the situation is hopeless. Many Muslims now living in Islamic states are trapped and would defect from the memeplex if it were safe to do so.
And even those who like being Muslims can be released from the hold the memeplex has on their minds. Like suddenly "coming to" when you're being hypnotized, I think an understanding of memetics itself can help undermine the hypnotic effect of the religious beliefs.
And the first thing we in the multicultural and tolerant West need to be aware of is the formidable memeplex threatening to overtake us. The memeplex takes advantage of our tolerance and our freedom so as to ultimately eliminate it.
This is an ideological war, so the ideas in the heads of your fellow westerners makes all the difference. And you can help turn the tide. Find ways to introduce these ideas to your fellow westerners. Here are a few ideas to help you.
And we can help Muslims trapped in Islamic countries find their way to snapping out of their trance. Muslims have submitted to Islam, many of them because they felt they had no choice (or their parents or grandparents felt they had no choice). They are being used by the memeplex. Individual Muslims can free themselves from Islam, and many have, thanks to the web sites like FaithFreedom.org, and books like Leaving Islam.
I would suggest we not judge Muslims too harshly. Many of them are in some way rebelling against some of the memes, but out of custom, guilt, or because their Islamic government violently enforces the rules, they practice the rest of the religion.
"Muslims are the first victims of Islam," wrote E. Renan. "Many times I have observed in my travels in the Orient, that fanaticism comes from a small number of dangerous men who maintain the others in the practice of religion by terror. To liberate the Muslim from his religion is the best service that one can render him."
Fortunately, Muslims the world over have rebelled against this rigid and restricting memeplex, and that's the only reason Islam has not already taken over the world: Good people, coerced for generations to be Muslims, have slowed its spread by ignoring (probably with some guilt) the worst parts of the Koran.
It would be nice if we didn't have such a memeplex to deal with. It would be nice if we could all just get along. But sometimes things like this just have to be faced and handled, regardless of what we might rather be doing.
If you are a non-Muslim and you want to get started helping to curb the spread of the Islamic memeplex and the terrorism it produces, the best thing you can do is learn more about Islam and then speak up to your fellow westerners.
You will be shocked at how little most people know about Islam. And they will be shocked to find out. And when enough westerners know about it, Islamic tactics like pretext and deceit will be seen for what they are, and will no longer make us defenseless. When we know more about the founder (the one all Muslims should imitate) and the goals of the memeplex, our collective actions can effectively thwart their plans. Our collective grasp of the real situation will bring more rational changes to our laws and policies (such as our current immigration policies).
The key is what happens in one-on-one conversations throughout the West.
When you hear people saying things like, "We should pull out of Iraq," or "We're just in it for the oil," or "Islam is a religion of peace," that is a time to speak up, calmly and simply. Tell them about the Islamic memeplex. Tell them what they don't know. Help them update their understanding of the situation. Do this wherever you go, and start now. The situation is urgent.
Many of the memes that help Islam spread are in your head and in the heads of your fellow westerners. That's the first place to start to fight against the viral spread of this clever memeplex.
The memes in your head (such as a blind faith in multiculturalism) are not the kind that will convert you into a Muslim, but they help the spread of Islam by taking down your defenses, and even encourages you to spread information that makes the West easier to defeat. You can play an important role in curbing the spread of the Islamic memeplex by speaking up within your own sphere of influence.
How? When you hear a meme, stop it from spreading. For example, "Actually, what they mean by 'Islam is a religion of peace' is that their mission is to make the whole world submit to the law of Allah (Shari'a), and once that is accomplished, there will be peace in the world. Therefore, Islam is a religion of peace. That's not really peace as we know it."
But to do this kind of inoculation, you have to have a pretty good handle on the memeplex itself. That will require some study.
I know you have other things to do, and you can't make this a full-time occupation, but I also know how serious this is, so it will require some sacrifice on your part.
I have created a curriculum of sorts. I tried to figure out what would be the material you could study that would give you the most critical knowledge with the smallest investment of time. Here is my curriculum:
I have also created a version of the above article edited for readers who know nothing about Islam so you can share the information with a broader audience. Check it out: What Makes Islam So Successful?
Also, the Koranic expert at Islam Exposed has provided chapter and verse for many of the memes above. Find them here: Amplification of Key Concepts from The Terrifying Brilliance of Islam.