Given that memes are analogous to genes, memetic engineering is the deliberate assembly and distribution of thoughts or concepts in such a way as to ensure greater propagation and fitness.

Utilizing memes with very high fitness to propagate new memes. Fear, Humour and Sex have very high fitness because of the human urge to communicate them.


  • Virus Hoaxes utilize succesful fear memes to elicit a reproductive response in the host. In this case, people communicate the message via email.
  • Advertising campaigns often utilize humour or shock to ensure that hosts remember and communicate the message

There is a potentially dark side to this art as well. The memes created do not necessarily have to be benefical to mankind. The ultimate goal could be destructive as well. A prime example of this would be the general public attitude of many of the non-Jews in World War II Germany. That The Holocaust was allowed to happen at all speaks to a profound redirection and inversion of public thought and conscience.

Indeed, Adolf Eichmann himself had at least a passing understanding of Kant's Categorical Imperative (simply put: "act in such a fashion that, if the maxims behind your actions were to become universal law, such a law would be good"). This was shocking to those at his trial; here was a man whom they had considered to embody radical evil, a “sadistic monster” possessing an “insane hatred of the Jews.” Rather than being an unthinking monster, however, Eichmann proved himself capable of intellectual thought. This forced a re-examination in many people’s minds; if he was not some evil creature, then what was he? More importantly, how could a man who could understand such a statement of moral virtue, be capable of the things Eichmann had done?

The answer lie in his understanding of the categorical imperative. In Nazi Germany, the Führer had instituted himself everywhere; he was the ultimate authority in everything. Declaring himself high judge and national protector, he placed himself in the position of the figurehead of national conscience as well. In this kind of atmosphere, the issue of conscience becomes set within a new context: the context of the state. A set of national morals developed, and people such as Eichmann took the will of the nation upon themselves, allowing their consciences to be retrained as servants to the Führer’s will.

This allowed for change in the very meanings of good and evil. The element of temptation was removed from killing the Jews by the regime, and placed instead on not killing them. This switch of moral duality was best demonstrated by Eichmann himself, who, when given orders to stop killing the Jews by his superior, refused, saying that it would be “wrong.” His conscience completely given over to the state and his moral duality completely reversed, is it no wonder, that Eichmann could recite the Categorical Imperative (and even understand it to an extent) without going mad? Eichmann had simply applied the Categorical imperative to his own morals, subconsciously altering the statement to say: “Act in such a fashion so that, if the Führer knew of your actions, he would approve.”

Adolf Eichmann was a supreme example of the effects of Memetic engineering. Of course, he never knew this.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.