Linguistic analysis is our best approach in designing a methodology of memetics. Words provide us with a record. Though meanings of words change over time and have different emotional values for different people, if we account for these variations, words prove to be a good foundation for quantitative (not just qualitative) analysis.
Here is a brief sketch of how a methodology for analyzing memeplexes might work:
We need to look at how a memeplex interacts with individuals, its environment and itself. To understand how a memeplex functions, I propose three levels of analysis. The Personal & Social, Ecological and Ideal levels of analysis.
Personal & Social: Understanding how a memeplex interacts with how a person thinks and how they encounter and respond to their environment is accomplished through qualitative interviews and observational notes. This level of analysis is important for the field of psychology / mental health. Of equal value is understanding how a memeplex regulates behaviors and thoughts, how it engineers a social structure.
Ecological: This level examines how memeplexes compete for resources and spread through populations.
Ideal: Linguistic analysis of holy texts, official publications, or massive collections of correspondence can provide a baseline of what the ideal expressions (social, political, psychological, economic, etc.) of a particular memeplex are and how it has evolved.
[Side Note: General quantitative analysis can be accomplished through Linguistic Analytics (mathematics). An example of this can be found at ted.com in the talk Mapping Ideas Worth Spreading.]
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