Meme (n): Any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another in a comparable way to the transmission of genes.
(Internet, slang) Something, usually humorous, which is copied and circulated online with slight adaptations, including quizzes, basic pictures, video templates, etc.
Memes are inherently reductive. This is their allure. To be relatable and sharable is to be simple and general. If ten people can relate, you have a tiny club. A thousand, you have a tiny meme. A few million, you’ve gone viral. A few billion, and you’ve hit the jackpot.
“Does anyone else like to breathe oxygen?” So relatable!
We seem to love being related to. We like to know who we’re like. This is the allure of the typing meme: which Hogwarts house are you? Which Sex and the City character? To make things like this work, you have to reduce each type to one or two dimensions. Charlotte is the prudish one! Samantha is the nympho! Ravenclaws are smart! Slytherins are evil!
The dark side of relatability, though, is that no one is that simple. This is why everyone thinks they’re a Carrie or a Gryffindor; those are the types that have the most facets. Rare is the person who thinks they’re a Charlotte or a Slytherin, because Charlottes and Slytherins have so little flesh. We’re all full people. Being complex is the most relatable thing of all.
If you look at Enneagram content on Instagram, as I have been known to do, you will find that most of it is like this: broad strokes, reductive, relatable. Sixes are the anxious ones! Fours are deep! Nines are sleepy!
When I see Enneagram memes about types I am not, I go, wow, that’s so shallow. There’s no way that a bunch of Eights feel that way. They’re people, after all. This is a cartoon! Who could possibly be defined by their rage that way? Or, mightn’t Twos feel a bit tired of the assumption that they’re only interested in helping others?
But then often, too often, when I see memes about Nines I go OOF! That hits. So maybe I am that simple.