Please Note: I love poetry, and my modus operandi is to write in a generally colorful, and an emotionally persuasive way. This was written with you in mind. Please be charitable.


I believe that all societies, but especially those that can be modeled by a well-connected network, with edges with fast transmission speeds, are especially sensitive, and dependent on powerful signals. I define a powerful signal in this context as one that quickly propagates through the network.

Unlike genes that transmit information at the slow speed generally determined by average/median lifespan, memes over the internet transmit information at nearly the speed of light.


The LessWrong and greater intellectual community distrusts memes for good reason. They are typically characterized by their emotional power, irony rich nature, and their simplifying effects on good reasoning, and nuance. Unfortunately, I believe that it is these exact characteristics that make them powerful signals.

I’ve struggled for a long time with the ironic and contradictory nature of memes. While most people can agree that memes typically contain some truth, few believe that they often contain all of the truth. I agree.

Nevertheless, I believe that by mostly studying memes for their emotional context and content, we make it far too easy to ignore or undervalue their truth context and content. Ironically, I believe this cognitive move is to make the same error we criticize memes for exhibiting. In a network as dense as our global society, and as dense as the internet, we severely limit our ability to spread wide-reaching messages.


Now, this wouldn’t concern me if a few things didn’t all seem likely to be true.

  1. Gen-Z is the most digitally connected subset of the population
  2. Gen-Z creates the most powerful memes
  3. Gen-Z has massive distrust in our political system
  4. Gen-Z has low voter turnout
  5. Gen-Z has a massive distrust of the economically prosperous
  6. Gen-Z has a smaller but still significant distrust of the well-educated (especially if they’re also wealthy)

We can criticize memes all we like, but they are the most effective tool in our digital world for spreading powerful messages. Consequently, the groups of people that utilize them will win any conflict that depends on informational speed.

I believe that the strongest evidence for many of my claims is Trump’s presidential victory in 2016.






Please Note: I will now codeswitch heavily and speak in my own voice, if that bothers you, I hope you will still take the time to explain to me why I may be correct or incorrect about my hypothesis. Not by the form of my speech, but by its content. 

I was born in Mexico and moved to the US when I was under 10. I was born in the late nineties, and I am wildly different from many of you just by the very nature of my personality. But I feel that regardless of the languages I speak, I deserve to have my thoughts heard, and considered by intelligent people who love, yes LOVE, reason as much as I do. 

This has not felt like a site for people like me. And has significantly dampened my motivation to pursue an academic life.

And I hope you agree that I am capable of crafting arguments using mostly reason and not emotion, and mostly emotion and not reason, and that that makes me 

powerful by my own definition.




First I want to make it clear. I did not vote for Trump for obvious reasons, but I knew many people who did. As a result of that, I got a lot of firsthand experience of their reasoning, thought processes, and their minds.


I’ve always felt a strong disconnect from the majority of the arguments I’ve heard made for why Trump not only won the presidential election, but why he maintained popularity with a significant subset of the United States population for so long.


Note, at this point I’m not going to characterize the arguments on this site, since I haven’t read them. But I hope that you believe I’m genuinely trying to understand the world first, before I try to help it. And that my unique background provides a significant shift in perspective that is worth understanding.


Many of the arguments I heard in the aftermath of Clinton's defeat focused saddeningly on ad hominem attacks of the people that had voted for Trump. And I couldn’t really blame them. What had happened?


Clinton, with all of her warts, was still an intelligent, somewhat moral, woman.


Many of the attacks levied at Trump's followers focused instinctively (emotionally) on ensuring that people knew that Trump was dumb, morally bankrupt, and sexist. And importantly, by the transitive property, that so were they.


Again, these were coming from actually intelligent people, and I believe this caused an outpouring of similar attacks from not so intelligent people. Call them intellectual parrots if you will (where have I heard that before?).


Anyone who has ever been the minority – in every sense of that word – in an argument knows what it feels like to get ganged up on. It actually doesn’t matter who’s right and who’s wrong. The vast majority of people, especially those who have experienced trauma, will feel their self-worth is being questioned.


There are people who are self aware enough, intelligent enough, practiced enough, or healed enough, who can stand their ground calmly and argue their points. Most people are not like this. And unfortunately, I believe many many of the people who voted for Trump have been traumatized since a very early age for many different reasons.

They come from households with horrific parenting full of neglect, abuse, you name it. 

They come from households that have endlessly struggled to put food on the table. 

They come from households with parents that were neglected, and abused.

They come from households with grandparents that struggled with drugs.

They come from households with great grandparents.

They come from households.

They are us.


There’s a reason Gen-Z is more emotionally aware, and socially intelligent than many of the generations that have come before. We have had the fortune to, on average, be born to parents who can learn, even if just by osmosis, from the most experimental psychological research that has ever existed.

People are slowly learning that mistreating a child no matter how young can damage them in uncountable ways. People are slowly learning that you shouldn’t just stuff your emotions when they arise. People are slowly learning that sitting somewhere quiet and becoming aware of your thoughts without judgment can actually help you rather than just waste time. 

Oh, I hear you say, but actually, that’s the environment I grew up in and look at me, I’m fine, I’m educated, I’m wealthy, I chose a life of learning. It wasn’t given to me.


Then you must be at least forgetting how privileged you are to at least have been born smart enough to understand everything I’ve said thus far.

And that’s the crux of my argument, privilege.

Everyone has some privilege: intelligence, strength, compassion, agility, social awareness, great sense of humor, etc.


This site hides under the guise of reason a terrible amount of ineffective judgment. Hell. I know many of my friends who would be instantly turned off by your voting system. And guess what. You need them. You need them bad.

My interest in memes stems mostly from my personal experience growing up with them. They fascinate me. They are the most interesting development of the digital age. All of my interests in some way relate to them. I was drawn to them because I could see how wonderfully powerful they are.


They helped my friends heal. They taught my friends important lessons about life. They provided my friends humorous comfort in very dark times. They taught my friends new perspectives. They taught my friends how to shift perspectives. They taught my friends how to empathize.


They taught me about science. They taught me about reason. They taught me about love. They taught about fear. They taught me wisdom.

Memes are some of my closest friends.

People are slowly learning that memes-are-us (I can use this they went out of business a while ago). We are slowly learning that just because you say you’re only thinking with your brain, you’re actually always acting from your values, which are most accessible to us through our emotions. 


We know that actions are the only things that matter. They’re the only things you can change. My generation's refusal to act should horrify you in a way that few things do.

Well, that was kind of a lot to type out. But to wrap this up I’m going to say a few things that can hurt even if you don’t believe them. I would say that means you believe them.

This site has been a perfect microcosm for me to study the second thing I care the most about, abuse. And I can smell it all over this site. And that actually made me feel at home. In the most positive and negative ways possible. I’m an emotionally sensitive person. I think it’s part of the reason I see things differently. I believe that people who place a primary importance in reason over emotion either heal really slowly, or never heal. I know this at least for myself. My friends are healing, and they never would have listened to you. They were listening elsewhere.


Also, do I even have to call out the irony in my previous meme post?

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"Meme" has multiple meanings, and I'm genuinely unsure which you have in mind.

Originally "meme" meant anything that can spread from one mind to another: beliefs, melodies, quirks of speech, etc.

Now it often means something much more specific, something like "moderately-sized digital image containing short bits of text, probably not perfectly grammatical, optimized for sharing on the internet".

Or it can mean something intermediate, along the lines of "belief or belief-like thing heavily optimized for spreading effectively".

Some of the things you say about "memes" seem like they only makes sense with the recent very specific meaning (e.g., when you say that memes "are the most interesting development of the digital age"). Some seem like they only make sense with a much broader meaning (e.g., when you say "memes are us", or for that matter the claim in the title of this post).

Is there a specific meaning you have in mind throughout, or are you using "meme" to denote radically different things in different places?

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