logo4 Evolution is progress—                          
progress is creativity.        

Why fauceirs not memes?

view blog view wiki view wiki view wiki

Meme is an evolutionary unit devised by Richard Dawkins to explain social evolution in a fashion similar to genes[1]. When I first learned about memes, the fauceir concept was already a long way around, at least in my head :-) If I learned about memes before, maybe I would have extended and abstracted the meaning to include all that fauceirs cover today, but as I already established the meaning of fauceirs and coined the term, memes remain a mere subset of fauceirs. Here is why grasping the whole extend of evolution requires fauceirs instead of memes.

Memes restricted to social fauceirs

According to their original definition, memes are cultural units of information that spread like gene by inheritance and amplification. Examples of memes listed in wikipedia include: melodies, catch-phrases, fashion and the technology of building arches[2]. Today followers of the meme theory extended the notion to some more entities, still it remains a clear sociological term[3].

Fauceirs more abstract

Probably fascinated by the notion of genes as units of inheritable information, memes were designed in a similar fashion. They were initially intended to represent units of inheritable social information. But if it were so easy... There is a dualism between information and control in every fauceir.

Even genes, if defined as stretches of DNA, are more than just containers of information. As our accumulating knowledge demonstrates, They are control units too. They control other genes at several levels, by their translated protein, the transcribed DNA, or even some regions of sequence.

The same holds true with social fauceirs. For instance, death penalty is both a measure to control crime by just eliminating a murderer and a piece of information to other potential criminals.

Moreover the dualism varies depending on the observers viewpoint, whether the observing fauceir is master or slave. Ideologies, for instance, evolved to control ideas. They appear as information to their slaves the followers of a certain ideology, while to those who rule it is rather a control tool.

Fauceirs cross borders of science fields

As memes are clear social units they have problems to explain relationships extending from the physical or biological world into society. For instance the observation that social structures may depend from climate[4][5] and geography[6] is not explicable with Meme Theory.

Fauceirs exhibit nested structure

As far as I know contemporary Meme Theory does not accept the notion of nested structures. But, the nested structure is essential for evolution to take place. For instance, take a huge social fauceir such as religion. It is a container of numerous social fauceirs. Some of such religious traditions are engulfed from other religions. In history, such an engulfment usually occurred when a higher evolved religion spreads into a region where a pagan religion dominates. High evolved religions usually adapt some pagan rituals without altering their main proposition. By definition that is why they are higher evolved—they show better adaptability.

With conceiving religion as a huge social container fauceir, it becomes immediately clear that it also contains elements that are not social but physical objects such as churches, relics, and even holy water.


Selfishness is an important fauceir property. But it is present in only a small subset of fauceirs, in those that survived competition through natural selection. Above that there is a tremendous amount of fauceirs that are simply tools that survive only at the mercy of their masters. Especially social fauceirs are effective in creating such tools that are not allowed to be selfish any more or that had never been.

In a bee hive, worker bees are such tools. They rarely act selfishly. Again the borderline between tools and selfish elements is gradual and even fluctuating. When in an biological organism a certain cell or tissue becomes too selfish, it causes disease. We call it cancer. In social fauceirs elements that show an inborn tendency to become malignant are bureaucracy and some sorts of charity.

Evolution – Progress

The main problems that I have with memes is that they are not naturalistic. They lead to an inconsistency that clearly require the visible hand of an creator.

The evolution of memes only works if the selection process is thoroughly supervised. The supervisor of meme selection are we humans. Memes are unable to create complexity by themselves. But if a theory requires a supervisor of evolution, it makes no much difference to creationism. The difference is infinitesimal. While Creationism assumes a creator that intentionally designed and build everything by himself, the Meme Theory admits selection but assumes a creator that sets the stake.

Meme Theory is still anthropocentristic and by that token only some rung below Fauceir Theory on the ladder up the evolution of knowledge.


If it gets rid of some creationist memes and adopts some more precise delimitation, Meme Theory or at least the term meme can become part of Fauceir Theory.

Tags: Adaptation Anthropology Core theory Genetics Ideology Religion Selection Sociology System Theory

Categories: Philosophy Sociology


(c) Mato Nagel, Weißwasser 2004-2013, Disclaimer