Friday, April 07, 2006

What is the Rule of the Mode?

To spread itself through a population, a meme will assume one or more of seven basic patterns, or “modes.” These modes allow the meme to travel vertically through families or horizontally through cultures. These modes are:
  • Fertility: Giving birth to large numbers of children, who can then be raised in contact with the meme.
  • Tradition: Providing guidance and training at formative stages of human life.
  • Advocacy: Actively spreading the meme through communication, presentation, ritual, iconography and documentation.
  • Resistance: Avoiding contact with competing memes.
  • Sabotage: Attacking and destroying other memes.
  • Reason: Appealing to the prospect’s instincts, emotions, perceptions, desires, fears, experiences and opinions
  • Motivation: Convincing prospects that the meme will improve their lives.

This leads to the Rule of the Mode:

'A meme increases its power whenever it adds to the number of modes it employs.'


Copyright 2006 by W.O. Cawley Jr.

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