Humans are extraordinary creatures, with the unique ability to imitate, and so to copy from one another ideas, habits, skills, behaviours, inventions, songs, and stories. These are all memes, a term first coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Memes, like genes, are replicators, competing to find space in our minds and cultures, and this enthralling book investigates the consequences. Confronting the deepest questions, from why humans have such big brains and language, to altruism, sex, and the Internet, Susan Blackmore makes a compelling case for the theory that even our inner conscious self and our sense of free will are illusions created by the memes for the sake of their own replication.
'Any theory deserves to be given its best shot, and that is what Susan Blackmore has given the theory of the meme... I am delighted to recommend her book.'
RICHARD DAWKINS in his introduction
'It brings a sort of rigour to thinking about cultural change that has hitherto been lacking.'
MATT RIDLEY, TLS
'vivid, informative, and sometimes downright charming. This is one of the rare popular science books that presents a new theory in lay terms white also postulating original ideas worthy of scholarly debate.'
'remains the best introduction to memetics yet published.'