Art of influence and misdirection

On the eve of another big decision, I’ve been thinking about influence and misdirection quite a bit.

I was reminded of a book and TV series I saw when I was much younger. It was called How to be Cool. Part of the thinking is influence and the theory of memetics. PBS did a series called The Merchants of Cool, although the one I remember included Douglas Rushkoff.

Memetic Ripples


I recently did a 1min talk (well it turned into 90secs, but I wasn’t counting) on Memetics and a quick snap shot of what it is in theory. I didn’t do the best of jobs in the short while I had but its something I’m really interested in…

In the short… from wikipedia

Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, originating from the popularization of Richard Dawkins‘ 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Proponents describe memetics as an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer.

The meme, analogous to a gene, was conceived as a “unit of culture” (an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour, etc.) which is “hosted” in one or more individual minds, and which can reproduce itself, thereby jumping from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen—when adopting the intentional stance—as an idea-replicator reproducing itself in a new host. As with genetics, particularly under a Dawkinsian interpretation, a meme’s success may be due to its contribution to the effectiveness of its host.

Its a general theory and honestly a really interesting one to think about when thinking about influence, the attention economy, globalisation and our global network. Also really fun to think and understand the  perfect conditions. Who makes for a good host, who holds back the meme spread and why? Is there a link between openess and sharing of memes/ideas/thoughts?

I have Dave, Miles and a few others for putting a name to the thing I was always fascinated with. Sarah studied disease outbreaks for the health protection agency (HPA) and remember the errly similar process of counting numbers as they grow massive very quickly. Network effects slightly excites and marvel me… Maybe a job in advertising awaits?

Anyway, I like systems and things which foster sharing. This is why I like Schemier and as I only recently discovered Google ripples. This I must have missed somewhere on my travels.

Fascinating how certain ideas spread eh?

Maybe you too, might be interested in Memetic theory?

Peering into the science of dreams with inception

Found on twitter via @girlonetrack and ultimately @rowanNS, the science of dreams.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a dream snatcher. He’s an industrial spy, who steals secrets when his victims are at their most defenceless: when they are asleep, and dreaming. But he has an even rarer ability, that of inception. He can plant an idea in someone’s sleeping mind, and watch it grow and take root in reality. "The most resilient parasite is an idea," he says.

Inception is a complex sci-fi thriller that lies somewhere between a James Bond film and The Matrix. Many of the film’s themes are often covered in New Scientist, so we have assembled a spoiler-free guide to the science of the movie, and all you need to know about dreams and the unconscious mind.

I can’t really get enough of inception(currently number 3 in imdb’s top 250 films of all time.) Its such a great film, not only because of the great action sequences but because of the whole premise. I love the idea of entering the dream state of someone else.

The film somewhat reminds me of the Cell but its a lot more clever than the cell. It also has a lot of notions which make sense, such as the memetics stance.

What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.

or even

The seed that we planted in this man’s mind, may come to define him, may come to become him.

Anyway I still find the dream world fascinating and i’m surprised how many people can’t direct there dreams. Things like changing there dreams or continue there dreams the next night can be learned an come in very useful.

I’m considering writing a story or even a script about dreams based on inception.