Virus of the Mind

  • by Richard Brodie
  • Narrated by Richard Brodie
  • 4 hrs and 37 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Virus of the Mind is the first popular work devoted to the science of memetics, a controversial new field that transcends psychology, biology, anthropology, and cognitive science. Memetics is the science of memes, the invisible but very real DNA of human society. Here, the author carefully builds on the work of scientists Richard Dawkins, Douglas Hofstadter, Daniel Dennett, and others who have become fascinated with memes and their potential impact on our lives.
Mind viruses have already infected governments, educational systems, and inner cities, leading to some of the most pervasive and troublesome problems of society today: youth gangs, the welfare cycle, the deterioration of the public schools, and ever growing government bureaucracy. Richard Brodie weaves together science, ethics, and current events as he raises these and other very disturbing issues relating to memes.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The "Memes Explain Everything" Meme.

Authors work hard and I am inclined to be on their side, until they start in, quite gratuitously, with their libertarian interpretations of the U.S. Constitution, a meme out of context here, and hardly the only one. So yes, this is a biased review. First, if you have never (or barely) heard of memes you may find the book enlightening. Especially if you are in marketing and want the latest "theory of everything." The author does a good job of recapping evolution, viral replication, and cultural replication. Nicely summarized. After that, well... anything goes. It used to be that "theories of everything" were promulgated by people like Kant or Marx who had actually read everything. Today they are launched with little footing in history, philosophy, or sociology. Almost no attention is given here to the problematic ontology or definition of memes. How big or small a strand of information makes a meme? What causal mechanisms can be attributed to memes? With no definition "meme" can be applied to anything. And is. Including a rehash of such "psychology for salesmen" topics as operant conditioning and subliminal advertising. (By such a broad definition we might hypothesize that the nice feeling of splashing into water is the "meme" by which swimming pools use humans to reproduce themselves.) Take out the word "meme" and stick in "reflex" and little changes. But I sense myself getting cranky. It has long been my fear that under modern capitalism advances in cognitive science, genetics, and sociobiology will all develop as branches of market research in the hands of the Hayek Youth Movement, and this book seems to confirm that dread. Even so, if you want a brief, light overview of what is, in fact, something of a paradigm shift, this is reasonably well written and well read. I was not the right "host."
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- Nelson Alexander

thought provoking

While I have to admit that it sounds a little like a sermon, the concept is easy to grasp and not dry at all. This is an good lesson in critical thinking for people who dont want to fall for dumb ideas.
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- Patrick Joos

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-09-2009
  • Publisher: Hay House