TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS
Because the Meta-Gizmo web site represents my personal
vision of the evolution of Internet culture, I have been asked many
questions about it, and this article is a quick meta-view of Internet
It is very easy to speculate about advancement
of Internet technology because these can be described with finite quantities,
i.e. speed and bandwidth, but describing the revolution in human culture
and the "new" human mind emerging from the Internet is much more difficult.
My fundamental assertion is that the Internet is
a tool that has been created as a rebellion against the intrinsic alienation
arising out of twentieth century's scientific/industrial mind. The ancient
tribal meta-mind is re-emerging, and will be the architect of the next
phase of the Internet.
Some will disagree and claim that Internet technology
is the catalyst in the re-emergence of the meta-mind. I, again, make
the same argument about the creation of the printing press; this technology
arose out of culture that was rebelling against the monopoly of knowledge.
Please, don't get lost in the forest of Internet technology jive, because
if you do you will miss all the millions of human minds who are rebelling
against post Industrial scientific culture, and the alienation that
Joseph Campbell emailed me from the Happy Hunting
Ground this message:
"You can take humans out of their tribe, but you
can't take the tribe out of humans"
To understand the next stage of the Internet revolution
we must immerse yourself into the rich complexity of tribal culture,
which is always better because it is always meta. To understand this
next stage we must put on our dialectical thinking caps and get into
the how the MYTHOS and LOGOS of every tribal culture interacts, and
this means understanding the multi-dimensional emotional and social
needs of humans.
Clearly a new style, a new vernacular, is being
created, but slick graphics which are easily created by PC, can not
be confused with the vast, and yet unrealized, potential of the Internet
to transform human culture. Graphically slick web sites are not the
art of creating a new BUSINESS CULTURE. This is the major challenge
facing all corporations, and it will become more difficult because of
the intensity of the creative energy that passionate individuals and
"local" tribes are bestowing on their web sites. Can General Motors
compete with a local "hot rod" club in expressing passion for the Chevrolet
INTERNET STAGE II:
THE KING IS DEAD, LONG
LIVE THE NEW KING:
Tribal culture is hierarchical, and that means
at the top of the tribe is a King (as metaphor or in person..and this
could be a Queen..like Martha Stewart)..and the core creative content
is now King: the magnetic cultural resonance, the glue, the energy that
arises out of the dialectic of the tribal MYTHOS and LOGOS.
Every tribe has a mythology, and that is true for
religion as it is for a sports team. The mythos is a coagulation of
all of the tribes archetype stories, from its creation myth, to its
great battles, warriors and art. If there is any doubt in your mind
of how this mythos applies to women just examine the "seasonal fashion"
rituals and battles and billions of dollars spent by this industry to
create "new myths" every season. I know I was a myth creator in this
industry for almost two decades. Think about Harley-Davidson, World
Wrestling Federation and the role of auto racing in the mythos of male
Logos is the facts, the nitty gritty details of
culture, which are the infrastructure of culture, like baseball scores,
"how to tie a fishing fly", "Which camshaft works best with the 283
Chevy motor", "Who will win the league championship", "How to make a
wedding", or "How to Have a One Hour Big "O" the Cosmo Way".
The expression "God (mythos) is in the
Details (logos)" means that once we have found our passion, our
mythos, we are compelled to immerse ourselves in the tiniest details
of our passion. This applies equally to lovers of motorcycles as it
does to gardening, or golf, or knitting.
Those who are students of the human brain will
recognize that the mythos and the logos are analogs of the right and
left hemispheres. The Internet is, again, a rebellion against the alienation
of these two very different modalities of cognition. In the ancient
meta-mind the separateness of modern culture does not exist
is connected in a continuum wholistic experience.
THE MECHANISM IS THE MEME:
DIGITAL VIRAL CULTURE
Here is a simple way to cut to the chase, cheese
and mustard about the process, the mechanism, of how the meta-mind works,
and it is question: How was culture transmitted before population was
literate, which is only in the last 150 years of 50,000 years of civilization?
The answer is by telling stories and myths, which were replicated through
culture from one person to the other. Joseph Campbell quick rise to
popularity was due to the fact that he told us what we already know
have the power to live from generation to generation because the human
mind operates on a viral principal.
In 1976, the geneticist Richard Dawkins, in his
now famous book, The Selfish Gene, speculated on how culture
evolves and replicates itself and he created the notion of the "meme",
which rhymes with gene Because "meme" perfectly describe the mechanism
of how tribal culture viruses through the Internet, it has become
the "catch phrase of Internetologists:
"Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases,
clothes,fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as
genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leading from body to
body via sperm or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool
by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense,
can be called imitation. If a scientist hears, or reads about, a good
idea, he passes it on to his colleagues and students. He mentions it
in his articles and his lectures. If the idea catches on, it can be
said to propagate itself, spreading from brain to brain.
Memes should be regarded as living structures,
not just metaphorically but technically.
When you plant a fertile meme in my mind, you literally parasitize
my brain, turning it into a vehicle for the meme's propagation in just
the way that a virus may parasitize the genetic mechanism of a host
cell. And this isn't just a way of talking
-- the meme for, say, 'belief in life after
death' is actually realized physically, millions of times over, as
a structure in the nervous systems of people all over the world".
Painful as it may be, everyone must put their web
sites to the ultimate test: Has the web site become a meme; become a
living cultural virus that moves through the Internet, jumping from
meta-mind to meta-mind?
When we use the expression "sticky" to denote a
web site that continuously draws surfers back to our sites, we are not
going far enough
because the real question is, again, "Has the
content of our sites become a living virus..and is jumping from meta-brain
But isn't this ancient marketing wisdom? Hasn't
"word of mouth" been the key to success and failure of motion pictures,
fashions, records, books, and all pop culture fads? Hasn't this been
the test of all great advertising and marketing? The meta-mind of the
Internet has accelerated and elevated this memetic process, and those
who know how to play its music shall prevail.
You will note that I have created a section at
the bottom of the this article with more information about memes.
THE MOLECULES OF TRIBES
I remind the reader that we are all carbon based
bipeds whose DNA is 99% ape. As you know apes are the most social primates,
which means when apes are not relating to their fellow apes they get
very nervous, uncomfortable and unstable. Humans are just like apes,
and apes live in tribes, and when I see a web site that has no humans,
I wonder if humans created the site. This is exactly what the meta-mind
rebellion is all about
"faceless" corporate culture; the glib without
authentic human contact. Isn't this way "celebrity spokesmen" get paid
It naturally follows that consumers are humans
who are fundamentally social animals that increasingly need to FEEL
connected to a social group in a authentic and emotional satisfying
way. The great satisfaction of being a member of a tribe, a fan,
is that you are certain that are other humans out there that share your
passion. WE ARE NOT ALONE. The Internet has made it possible
for individuals to satisfy their most basic human need: to get connected
to their like kind; their fellow tribe members; like-minded fans. NOTHING
IS MORE IMPORTANT TO APES AND HUMANS THAN BELONGING.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PLAYING
THE NOTES AND MAKING MUSIC
A web site is a theater of culture. Why do mega-budget
Hollywood Blockbusters filled with the biggest stars often fail at the
box office and micro-budget films with no-bodies become rages? This
question is the challenge facing every company that is creating a web
site. I look at big buck web sites and wonder what went wrong. Where
is the juice, the passion, where is the music? Stupendous graphics,
beautiful photography, the most costly special effects
often than not, there is no music, just a bunch of notes strung together.
This reminds me of the case where a man or women
goes out and buys the most expensive clothes, shoes and accessories
and when it is all together, and they walk into the room, we know that
they have no sense of style, and something is wrong, and they achieve
exactly the opposite effect they desired.
This is a daunting problem because when it comes
to style and taste, there is no numerical quantification
and style is.
You will notice how often I use the word "wholey"
, "wholistic", and "wholosity" on the Meta-Gizmo web site. This is true
because humans are whole; each of us has the complete human experience
in us. Each of us, obviously, has all the rich dimension of a Shakespearean
characters. Every human has the paradoxes, enigmas, of every other human,
which are always expressed in culture. Here's an interesting one: America,
the culture that created the notion of individual political rights,
freedom of expression, was the only "civilized" country to support slavery.
Great nations, humans and web sites have great
which explains why all entertainment and art is based
on "characters". Humans have an insatiable curiosity about their fellow
humans, and the most fascinating humans are those which reflect the
wholosity of our shared humanity. Which brings me back to the meta-mind
which is rebelling against the two dimensional portrayal of our humanity
which dominated culture for the last fifty years. Here is an interesting
question: Why is evil, violence, and the dark side of our humanity so
fascinating and so dominates the entertainment business?
CREATING YOUR META-WORLD
I presented to Macy's management, a revolutionary
idea in the mid 1970s: the idea of putting television sets, that were
playing entertaining video "sales" programs, on the store counters to
make shopping more exciting. Many merchandise managers thought this
was a very bad idea because it would distract shoppers. My point was
that a brand was more than the merchandise, and who better to communicate
that than the head of the brand tribe
and how better to communicate
the richness of this culture then with a video which could employ all
sorts of creative images, music and energy
that no salesmen could
communicate. The first test was in the junior sportswear department,
and the rest is history.
Your web site is your theater, it is your meta-world.
It can express the wholosity of your culture, your brand, your business,
and thereby become a meme, and thereby become your most effective way
of reaching out and making contact with humans beings who are searching
for meaningful connections to satisfy the needs of their now liberated
APPENDIX: WHAT IS A MEME?
Glenn Grant: Meme (pron. meem): A contagious information
pattern that replicates by parasitically
infecting human minds and altering their behavior,
causing them to propagate the pattern. (Term coined by Dawkins, by analogy
with "gene".) Individual slogans, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions,
and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is
not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to
someone else. All transmitted knowledge is
memetic. H. Keith Henson: A meme survives
in the world because people pass it on to other
people, either vertically to the next generation, or horizontally to
our fellows. This process is analogous to
the way willow genes cause willow trees to
spread them, or perhaps closer to the way cold viruses make us sneeze
and spread them. Peter J. Vajk: It is important
to note here that, in contrast to genes, memes
are not encoded in any universal code within our brains or in human
culture. The meme for vanishing point perspective
in two-dimensional art, for example, which
first appeared in the sixteenth century, can be encoded and
transmitted in German, English or Chinese; it can be described in words,
or in algebraic equations, or in line drawings.
Nonetheless, in any of these forms, the meme
can be transmitted, resulting in a certain recognizable element
of realism which appears only in art works executed by artists infected
with this meme. Heith Michael Rezabek: My
favorite example of a crucial meme would be "fire" or
more importantly, "how to make a fire." This is a behavioral meme, mind
you, one which didn't necessarily need a
word attached to it to spring up and spread,
merely a demonstration for another to follow. Once the meme was out
there, it would have spread like wildfire, for obvious reasons... But
when you start to think of memes like that
-- behavioral memes -- then you can begin
to see how language itself, the idea of language, was a meme. Writing
was a meme. And within those areas, more specific memes emerged. Lee
Borkman: Memes, like genes, vary in their fitness to survive in the
environment of human intellect. Some reproduce
like bunnies, but are very short-lived (fashions),
while others are slow to reproduce, but hang around for
eons (religions, perhaps?). Note that the fitness of the meme is not
necessarily related to the fitness that it
confers upon the human being who holds it.
The most obvious example of this is the "Smoking is Cool" meme, which
does very well for itself while killing off its hosts at a great rate.