The Miral Scale is a way of measuring how many people in a given time in the human species share a collective concept or idea. As the world becomes more connected and shares experience the global concepts of hive mind and connected become more relevant. The social graph as expressed by Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook is a concept of a floating social network, but hasn't been quantified or grounded.
The human experience is becoming a ever greater more about shared and linked experience. Concepts that reside in human consciousness have been referred to as Memes, a themetic expansion of the concept of the gene from biology, put forth by Richard Dawkins in his book, The Selfish Gene. Memes spread via culture and shared experience.
The Miral Scale = Memes * Humane species hive mind
When a virus spreads through a host species it is called viral. The concept of the miral scale is that memes spread through the human species and are said to be Miral. The Miral scale measures the number people who have a specific concept in their mind at a certain time.
meme concepts are granular and can be infinitely large, small or complex. They can be visual, audio, conceptual, tonal etc. The only important component is that a meme is present and can be expressed or experienced and therefore spread. Importantly a person may or may not have the consciousness of carrying the meme.
Memes can be described in simple or complex fashion. Red cube, cube and green cube are 3 different memes which may register with the viewer as unique. In the same way the exposure to Lima beans may be associated with a physical response associated with the visual que of a Lima bean. Thus the Lima Bean can be good, bad, recognized or un-recognized. This is an example of a compound meme.
Memetic concepts can link or radiate from a central concept in a infinite variety.
The Miral Scale
The Miral scale ranges from 0-10 and is logarithmic ranging from 0 to the number of conscious members of the species. Thus Miral scale ranking circa 2010 would look something like the following table:
The Miral scale changes as a function of the size of the species. For example it is estimated that there were 1 billion people alive in 1800. Thus the high end of the scale 10.0 would have equated to 1 billion people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population
A meme's impact on the Miral scale changes overtime
New concepts and ideas arrive, fads explode, old cultures and ways of thinking die with those cultures and people who carried them or are forgotten from living memory. Artifacts may bring them back.
Facebook supposedly has 500m members. If one assumes each is a unique person and that for every member of Facebook there is another person who is aware that Facebook is a website. Then there are an estimated 1 billion Facebook is a website meme carriers, putting Facebook at 9.17 on the Miral Scale. It is estimated 116 million people have registered for Friendster, assuming a 2:1 awareness to registration ratio gives it a Miral scale of 8.69. Assuming 200 Million MySpace registrations and a 2:1 awareness factor yields a Miral Scale rank of 8.77. Younger fast growing services such as Foursquare are estimated to have just north of 1 million users. Assuming a 2:1 awareness to user ration would give it a Miral scale rank of 6.47.
Ratio of user:meme awareness
A brand is an example of commercial culture hacking to increase the brand's Miral Scale
It is easy to imagine that the biggest brands have some of the largest Miral scale rankings, Coke for example is almost a human universal in terms of its logo. Anthropologists and sociologists can point to a few human universals such as the relationship of mother, father etc. that may be titled differently but would be considered 9.99 on the Miral Scale as meme or concept held as human universals.
Memes, bits & pixels
Different technologies, cultural expressions, idioms, beliefs and traditions all rise and fall over time. Meme's can exist within or beyond a language construct, they can be experiential. For example various groups hearing a famous piece of music such as Beethoven's 9 symphony may have recall it and be able to distinguish it from other "classical" music, but may not be able to label it. Meme's transcend linguistic labels but are typically expressed using language. Written meme's or experiences can be exclusively shared within the domain of linguistic expression. Reading about a scene in the Harry Potter series can be considered distinct or related to the visual expression, depending on how one wishes to define the meme.
Memes work in a similar fashion to the concept of the Bit or pixel in computing. The bit or pixel is a finite and exact thing, which appears to have little value outside of a multitude of bits and pixels. Bits and pixels in context allow for a multitude of constructs and expressions. These absolute ideas such as bits, pixels and memes posses significant importance.
Memes are not static or absolute, but vary over time. The Miral scales ebbs and flows and may disappear altogether only to reappear via the experience or discovery of old cultural artifacts, new expressions or the synthesis of new ideas.
History is by definition the slowly fading memetic stream. History rediscovered rebirths old memes increasing the Miral scale.
The human mind being finite has a potential memetic carrying capacity which is probably a function of both the memory and the ability to synthesize and store memories dynamically in new contexts.
One could argue that there is probably a normative memetic carrying capacity similar to an IQ, a memeQ if you will that varies with developmental and physical potentials achieved.
Home Sapiens Sapiens HiveMind MemeQ
The concept of the Hive mind is referred to when sci-fi writers or others like to discuss a collective consciousness. Connectedness is assumed to have a lot to do with intelligence, but most cognitive scientists agree we are far away from a truly generalized theory of intelligence. The miral scale only indicates points of memetic awareness and nothing else.
That being said, If one assume the normative level of the memeQ to be set at 100 per individual, then the Species has a memeQ storage capacity of 100*6.8 billion or a hive mind capacity of 680 billion memeQ's in 2010. It can of course be argued the definition specious metric of memeQ is tautological, nonetheless it is a starting point for a debate.
There is no way to measure the memeQ of an individual at this point and no particular way to extract or relate it to other general theories of intelligence, memory, creativity or cognition in general.
Intelligence like many human attributes is a genetic potential. That potential is realized within its range relative to the nutrition, education, support and even stimulus of the environment around in which the individual develops.
Lack of micro-nutrients such as iodine for example can lead to the loss of 10-15 IQ points. Growing up in a household with a smaller vocabulary has been shown to produce children who have smaller vocabularies. Why vocabulary size and intelligence aren't known to be correlated with memetic potential, it may be indicative of the fact that human miral capacity is potential itself which has a developmental range for each individual.
Why should anyone care about a Miral Scale or memetic potentials.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, if the Empires of the future are the empires of the mind, then understanding memetic spread and capacity within groups will be important. Marketing, education, culture, and even what some may consider the march of human progress is most likely about developing and honing the memetic potential of individuals and groups. Ignorance, unrealized capacity and lost opportunity at the individual level is more and more about lost opportunity for the group. The next great discovery in medicine, energy, law or culture is inevitably assumed to be greater when shared by everyone, understanding how memes spread, are managed and evolve will be one of the keys to the Empires of the present and the future.
Excel tool for expressing a Miral scale estimate.
Free Excel tool for calculating a meme score. Here is a free excel tool for converting a Miral rank to the number of people estimated to carry the meme.