from Marketing Memetics, by Michael Taylor
Through a genetic lens, we should be willing to die to save 2 brothers, 4 half siblings or 8 cousins. Statistically, that would leave more surviving copies of a gene for self-sacrifice than would be lost with the death of the individual. Animals sacrifice themselves in line with these principles, but only in the face of an immediate threat. Humans put themselves in harm's way on behalf of people we’re not even closely related to.
We fight for our tribe, country, or religion: entities that exist only in our minds. Historically war served a useful ecological function: thin the population whenever it exceeds the available natural resources. Xenophobic propaganda circulates until inevitable escalation triggers a state of war. Tribes infected with ‘war memes’ either killed off other more peaceful viewpoints, or their women and children were captured by the victors, bringing their pro-war culture with them.
Psychological traits suited to limiting hunter-gatherer populations, aren’t fit for purpose in a world with atomic bombs. So the U.S. military is researching ways to stop ‘war memes’ from activating in the first place. As Finkelstein envisioned: "Countering terrorists and insurgents before and after they become terrorists and insurgents: influencing beliefs in a scientific way”.
ISIS wins new recruits globally by sharing memes on social media. Russia has invested heavily in ‘troll farms’ to spread disinformation ahead of military action. China has used its ‘great firewall’ to neutralise memetic insurgencies within their own borders. As Giesea urged in the NATO Strategic Journal, “It's time to embrace memetic warfare”.
Academic journal "Defence Strategic Communications" Vol1
Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War
Is America Prepared for Meme Warfare?
Presentation Military Memetics Tutorial 13 Dec 11.pdf
Why the US Government Spent Millions Trying to Weaponize Memes