Sunday, 1 March 2009

Looking at Memes....

This blog is being created for my Media Discources module, as part of a formative assessment that requires students to use a blog or wiki through the module as a way of logging and recording their activities, as a process of reflections and commentary, and as a means of archiving findings, work etc.

I started researching memes last week. I had set aside the time to do some stop motion experimentations, but had a nightmare with the software not working - so, to make sure the day wasn't wasted totally, I turned my thoughts to memes. I visited Google Scholar and Google Books. I then found myself going to Amazon as I thought it would be wise to actually purchase a couple of books and get stuck into some solid reading. Ended up ordering The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C Dennett, the Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore, Guerrilla Creativity by Jay Levinson and as an add on just because it looked interesting (and I like anything by Paul Wells), Re-Imagining Animation - The Changing Face of the Moving Image by Paul Wells and Johnny Hardstaff. Oh, and I also ordered The Creative Licence by Danny Gregory as a treat as it came highly recommended. It gave my card a bashing, but hopefully they'll be worth it!

The books arrived Friday and I struggled with which book to start with, but as I'd had a hard day at work, I took a peak at The Creative Licence first and it was a visual feast of inspiration... but I flicked casually through it and thought I'd better get on with the research. I had trouble deciding which order to read the books but I started reading Darwin's Dangerous idea, with the logic that I should have a better understanding of Darwins theory of evolution in order to then go on to read The Selfish Gene and then Susan Blackmore's Meme Machine.

I have read Chapter One, but this is not a book that can be rushed... as the topic is regarding peoples cherished ideas about the meaning of life; it certainly makes you think. It was interesting to read that David Hume and Denis Diderot had speculated on this theory before Darwin, but didn't quite want to take the step forward to investigate the idea further. It was a difficult road to tread... one which could break the spell of sacred beliefs - so was not to be taken lightly. Dennett
sagaciously states that 'Before Darwin,a "Mind-first" view of the universe reigned unchallenged; an intelligent God was seen as the ultimate source of all Design, the ultimate answer to any chain of "Why?" questions. Even David Hume, who deftly exposed the insoluble problems with this vision, and had glimpses of the Darwinian alternative, could not see how to take it seriously.' (Dennett 1995).

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