Infectious Repetitis

Philosopher Dan Dennett tossed this phrase out during a TED talk on dangerous memes. (I enjoy puns, so I liked the term.)

The term, judging from googling, is used mostly in connection with graphic design and architecture.

Unlike, memes, which are capable of mutation while being transmitted, infectious repetitions are passed on and on and on unmodified. (This phenomenon is akin to the substitution of regurgiquotes for original, critical thinking.)

Infectious repetitis would be all well and good if the original idea or design had great merit, but this is too often not the case. Take, for example – you guessed it! – religion. The content of J-C-I religious dogma is passed on and on, unexamined except at the mutation points. The sole claim to veracity for scriptural dogma comprises its having been believed previously. Ultimately, in the most circular of all claims, dogma is claimed to be true because it was initially "revealed".

The consequences of doubting dogma have historically ranged from dire to not so dire – burning at the stake, execution, excommunication (only a punishment if you believe the myths), exile, social ostracism, verbal insults in print.

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