“For this body replicator itself, Dawkins proposed a name. He called it the meme, and it became his most memorable invention, far more influential than his selfish genes or his later proselytizing against religiosity. ‘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,’ he wrote. They compete with one another for limited resources: brain time or brandwidth. They compete most of all for attention.
These are memes, living a life of their own, independent of any physical reality. ‘This may not be what George Washington looked like then,’ a tour guide was overheard saying of the Gilbert Stuart painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ‘but this is what he looks like now.’ Exactly.”
pages 312, 313 – “The Information, a history, a theory, a flood” by James Gleick