Mital Patel Mr
30 October 2018
The Influence of a Meme
Memes, in today’s society, may not be understood in context of spreading ideas from person to person within a culture; but rather memes are manipulated by copying humorous pieces of text and spread by users of the internet. Yet, with this altered interpretation of memes according to children, still has the purpose to influence others by reflecting the mentality of modern society. Memes compose massive amounts of information, relevant and irrelevant to society, schools, and the ultimately affects social relationships developed among people. This information however is not always absorbed and the delivery of the expected is usually lacking. Jean Anyon’s essay, “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work”, explains how schools comprised of students that differ in the social status, fulfill the textbook definition of education, whether it is beneficial or deteriorating to the student.It was observed that as schools rose in social status, apprehensive skills and an encouraging for students. The shift in the methods of education from the working class schools to the executive elite schools shows the differences between two different methods of education, expressed by Paulo Freire’s essay, “The Banking Concept of Education.” Schools on the lower end of the economic spectrum exhibited the characteristics of the ‘banking concept’ of education, where information is merely deposited to the student by the teacher, schools on the more affluent level showed aspects of the ‘problem-posing’ method of education, through encouragement of creativity. According to Freire, the difference between the two methods lie in the lack of students being their own conscience selves in the former method and the encouragement of the students’ cognitive abilities in the latter method. The educational practices observed by Anyon among schools of different social classes reveal how poorer students, under the banking concept, are set up to be under constant subjugation as adults, while wealthier students, under the problem-posing method, are groomed to become less passive adults, although to a certain limit, thus both supporting and undermining the ideal of problem-posing education proposed by Freire.
Blackmore introduces memes, like genes, are replicators in that information is copied with variation and selection. Because only some of the variants survive, memes evolve. Another form of how memes are exponentiating is by imitation, teaching and other methods, as they compete for space in humans’ memories and for the chance to be copied again. Large groups of memes that are copied and passed on together are called co-adapted meme complexes. Memes are able to heavily influence society in a negative way in regards to education, affects social relations based on economic states, and depicts the societal issues due to memes being able to have more success when harmful and oppressive, which is a result of their “selfish” behavior.
Groups of memes that proved themselves to be detrimental to others have a big influence on educational systems in society than do beneficial memes due to having a higher change of replication. The purpose of memes is to replicate over many generations and in the education system harmful memes are able to replicate themselves further in society. Harmful educational memes have more of an influence and functions to a greater extent then do beneficial educational memes. Blackmore highlights the purpose that memes have when she makes an analogy between memes and genes. She states that “… genes act only for themselves, their only interest is their own replication, all they want is to be passed on to the next generation… It will not lead us astray if we remember that genes either are or are not successful at getting passed on into the next generation.” (Blackmore 3). It is vital that memes get inscribed and consumed into a human’s mind in order for it to get passed on into the next generation. The educational meme parts into two clusters of memes, either promoting creativity for an individual or along promote subservient behavior and lack creativity. These separate clusters of memes can be seen in Anyon’s observations of schools of different social classes. The description that Anyon provides of working class schools can fit the stereotypical descriptions of most schools in America. Anyon says, “The children copied the teacher’s sentences from the board. Each day that preceded the day they were to do a science experiment. The teacher told them to copy directions from the book… Then the teacher wrote what they ‘found’ on the board, and the children copied that …” (Anyon 4) As students become adapted to the idea that teachers must lead the classroom entirely and always referring to them for instruction just to copy it, it only proves to inhibit creativity from flouringh the students midna dn instads creates a dependency on the teacher’s ideas. This method of teaching has become a meme that has been replication in schools for generations. An example of labeling is evident in Freire’s explanation of the banking concept of education. Freire discusses the harmful effect that this method of education has on students when explaining “Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositors and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues comminiques and makes deposits which the student patiently receive, memorize and repeat. This is the ‘banking’ concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed the other students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits”(Freire 72). Simply repeating, copying, memorizing, and receiving information in working class schools does not benefit the student. These acts all mirror a bad meme, which effects students as they are not able to develop fully or be innovative in the future. In this case, teachers can be claimed to be the carrier of this bad meme, having this teaching style spread through generations. As a result, students take ahold of the constant receiving and memorizing and also spread this meme throughout their lifetime when they encounter new means of understanding information. The harmful meme is not only a meme that has replicated successfully, but is is also the dominant meme in society, over the beneficial educational meme. Anyon had taken note of the encouragement of input and creativity in wealthier schools, where clusters of beneficial memes work together to ensure students become capable and innovative adults. The reality is that most schools are not very wealthy in the sense that the pattern of only copying and memorizing is abandoned for creativity. Most schools follow the banking concept of education and replicating the harmful educational meme, making it more successful.
Affluent memes have the ability to influence social relationships by dividing different kinds of people based on their economic status, classifying them as harmful memes. The most impactful meme seen in the working class schools are those that divides between the student and the teacher. A specific barbed meme can be seen when Anyon described, “Instead, the teachers said, ‘shut up’, ‘shut your mouth’ ‘open your books ‘throw your gum away’- if you rot your teeth do it on your own time” (Anyon 4) When the teacher reprimands their student with an phrases like shut up and ultimately rebukes the student in their ability, a meme is created in which this behavior by teachers is accepted as a norm. Students belonging to the lower class have teachers who express authority in a way where they degrade the subsidiary. As this behavior propagates throughout classrooms throughout the years, the meme of degradation is seen replicated, having them parallel a vessel for a harmful meme. Imitation is evident in working class schools when observing how a teacher reprimands their students. Blackmore illustrates this concept by explaining “Everything you have learned by imitation from someone else, is a meme…. You have not precisely imitated your friend’s every action and word, but something (the gist of the story) has been copied from her to you and the on to someone else.” (Blackmore 4) Students tend to follow and accept what is proposed to them by their educators, and as a result, the students through the process of imitation create a meme from having to stay completely silent when an authority figure scolds them harshly, creating the meme. A major division is created between an authority figure and the subordinate, where the subordinate does not believe that they should object in any way. This social issue becomes an issue of economic status due to it mainly being present in lower class schools. This divide is not seen in higher class schools that were observed by Anyon. She is able to reveal this by stating “However, the children may be brought into line by reminding them that ‘It is up to you’, You must control yourself you are responsible for your work, your must set your own properties” (Anyon 9) In the higher class school, teachers do not scold students, creating a divide in working class schools. The harmful meme responsible for creating such a divided for those with lower economic status can be seen as more successful overall, due to how society mainly works. The wealthy are seen as the top 1 percent of the population ,which the rest of the population are the middle and lower classes. The harmful meme is carried through to those who do not belong in the wealthy class.
Because memes are deemed as selfish, it allows for them to become oppressors of society creating a world full of harmful ideas that ultimately propagate for years through society. A gene’s sole purpose is to replicate, they are not as selfish as memes. Oppressive memes are all across society in the form in their own ways by headlines of the major news. The nature of oppressive memes is explained by Blackmore when he says, “Memes spread themselves arong indiscriminately without regard to whether they are useful, neutral, or positively harmful to us… but some memes are positively harmful ” (Blackmore 5). News that is misinterpreted by the media is often spread and plays the role of a harmful meme and it also creates a sentiment about the group of people or a country that is targeted by the false information. This meme is spread by the various forms of communication among human beings. It is largely harmful due to the lies in the meme. Oppressive memes work on the large scale when it comes to a prejudiced against humans based on race and sex. In this world meme acts as the oppressor while creating. What makes an oppressor can be seen through Freire when he says, ” indeed, the interest of the oppressors lie am changing the consciousness of the oppressed….” (Freire 74). Problems in a society are the problem, however in a meme’s eye view the prejudiced person is the oppressed. The meme becomes the oppressor that changes the consciousness of the one who is under prejudice However, memes are still accountable for their actions because they can change their minds though eradicating the memes that have taken over them. This process occurs through educating the carriers, which will lead to unjust Memes being washed out. The eradication of the harmful Memes can be done when beneficial Memes are replicated more often than harmful Memes. Until then, harmful Memes will continue to be successful in propagating lives through society leading to their validation.
Memes and how they are interpreted by society is dependent on which ones are replicated, in turn affecting relationships among people as well as being the subject of oppression to society. The educational practices observed by Anyon throughout schools under varying social classes undermine and support Freire’ ideal of problem-posing education by exposing the idea that poor students are predisposed to be under authority. In contrast, wealthy students were brought up to become less subjugated by authority. Anyon observed that in lower class schools the teachers simply depositing information into students upheld the status quo and deviating from such a quo led to being considered wrong. In the schools with students of higher class, the process of inquiry was upheld because students were encouraged to have their input highlighted and expanded upon. Memes are a component to how students retain school information in that some promote creativity and other memes were shaped by students looking at teachers for constant reassurance of what to do next. According to the theory of memetics, our society, culture, and minds are shaped by the natural selection acting on memes, comparing to how organisms are built on the natural selection of genes. Many memes succeed because they are useful and prove to be beneficial, while others use a variety of schemes to get themselves copied. All selfish memes care for is replication, and not if it will affect genes. The Internet can be seen as a vast realm of memes, growing rapidly by the process of memetic evolution and not under human control. While the problem-posing educational method allows for students in wealthy schools to be predisposed to a less passive role compared to students in poor schools who are predisposed to an extremely passive role, complete equality and lack of passiveness cannot be reached due to the constant existence of authority.