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In The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins coined the term "meme" in his account of a selective explanation for cultural behaviors. A meme is a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation); "memes are the cultural counterpart of genes." This theory serves as an explanation by bypassing biological fitness altogether. It is not necessary for an idea to truly be beneficial to the person who has it, it only need to have appeal, "fitness," of it's own right.

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