The Regressive Imagery Dictionary (RID) is a coding scheme for text analysis that is designed to measure ‘primordial’ and conceptual content. Primordial thought is the kind of free-form, associative thinking involved in fantasy and dreams. Like Freud’s id, I guess. Conceptual (or secondary) thought is logical, reality-based and focused on problem solving.
RID contains about 3,000 words grouped into categories that are themselves classified as primary, secondary, and emotional. A piece of text is classified by what percentage of its words fall into each category.
In other words in general terms the text analysis apparently maps out how much left vs. right brain activity was occuring in the author/s minds when they wrote/spoke the content.
The book presents a fairly good intro to the topic of memetics. I agree with Dawkin’s indirect reference that the theory of memetics deserves a shot. I’d say that Blackmore’s theory on memetics deserves a shot too, at least up to chapter 13.
These chapters are a pretty good spring board into the pool and for me they seemed ‘less koolaid’ than Brodie’s “Virus of the Mind”.
When Blackmore gets to Religion, New Age and Philosophy from chapter 14 onwards and to the end of the book then things seem dogmatic, contrary and too nihilistic in spite of the fact that she does well in pointing out the typical hooks that these meme-plexes use to hook into minds, replicate and cause damage to an open and mutually beneficial society/culture.
It’s fine to go with the opinion that human beings may have no soul, spirit or actual ‘self’ to speak of in any concrete terms but these chapters read as if it’s just a closed case. What about giving the theory a chance ? The buddhist philosophy in conclusion also doesn’t help the argument.
The book was penned almost a decade ago so there’s likely more that the author would add or change now regarding her theory. Still worth a read for the useful meta-memes.
‘Being John Malkovich’ is a 1999 film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonez.
The movie stars John Cusack, John Malkovich, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, Charlie Sheen, Orson Bean and Mary K. Place.
warning – mini spoiler below *
The film centers around Craig Schwarz(John Cusack) who finds a portal into John Malkovich’s subconscious. He exploits this to win the affection of Maxine(Catherine Keener) who he is in love with but has no interest in Craig.
There’s far more to the story but what stands out is how all the characters that wanted to enter John’s consciousness(and two that undesirably enter his subconscious) all seemed to represent memeplexes.
Many of the characters that do so speak of being ‘immortal’ by being able to inhabit their host and there is also planning of preparing a new host when the current one dies.
Things like horizontal meme replication are mirrored by the characters(strangers of no relation) that enter John’s mind for most of the film. Vertical meme replication towards the end is obvious between John and his daughter when John share’s with Charlie that they have a new host because they are both getting old.
There’s even more to it which I’ll touch on at some point in a later post.
Meanwhile if your interested in seeing this for yourself drop into the ‘The Meme Machine’ by Susan Blackmore for an intro and then watch the movie.