In 1976, Richard Dawkins introduced the idea of memes to the world. Deriving from the Greek mimeme, for an imitated thing, it initially stood for a unit for bearing cultural symbols and ideas transmitted through mimetism of speech, texts, rituals or gestures. Before taking over the Internet, memes were used by thinkers to explain various social phenomena. In today’s world, Internet memes are simple images with relatable captions or catchy themes, viral videos and contagious music that spread like viruses affecting us all. Indeed, memes take up much more of our time than we imagine. Although that is not a bad thing.
As early as 28 BC, people used simple images and symbols – later knows as hieroglyphs – to communicate and express themselves. With the development of alphabets and different languages, it seems rather pointless to use hieroglyphs on daily bases. Although an important fact is that almost 50 percent of our brain is involved in visual processing, since 70 percent of all the sensory receptors are in our eyes. As humans we are very visual creatures, our ability to quickly interpret visual information is far greater than of written words. Nowadays, memes have replaced hieroglyphs, thus becoming generally accepted images showing certain emotions or feelings in an engaging way.
Living in a world obsessed with cat videos, captioned movie screenshots, or poorly executed drawings at first seems rather bizarre, but this is the best way to illustrate the modern human condition. It’s not only the personal experience with memes, that is the process of one seeing a relatable or funny meme, but also the communication by using memes that facilitates our socialization and amends our mental health. On the other hand, browsing for memes online can almost eliminate stress as they take the mind away from the problems of reality, and after the entertainment session, one is much more relaxed to deal with their issues. That’s why memes can be considered the free psychologists.
An average psychological therapy or consultation can cost from $50 up to $250 per hour, whereas browsing online will cost you nothing more than the internet bill you were going to pay anyway. Even though professional help can’t be replaced by the Internet sensation, memes are capable of keeping us from feeling depressed or anxious. It is almost impossible to eliminate memes from our lives, and quite frankly pointless to do so. Then why not cherish this medium?! The more we go online, the stronger memes will be. They not only help us deal with everyday problems but also transform nobodies to overnight sensations in the blink of an eye. Memes make great psychologists, always at work even during your offline hours, always up for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.