Memes are what hold the world together. But where did they begin?
Evolutionary biologist and perennial Twitter troll target Richard Dawkins coined the word “meme,” if not the concept itself, in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. For his purposes, the term refers to any replicable concept or behavior that spreads from person to person, though he has also simplified his definition to include “anything that goes viral.”
What this means is that memes led to human civilization, not vice versa, and date back to the dawn of time. The first thing to go viral was existence itself. Some 13.7 billion years ago, #TheBigBang started trending hard.
In this young state, our universe was agitated, chaotic, and rapidly expanding. Thus, the first memes to emerge from the Big Bang were half-formed, rarely funny, and without exception pertained to either a K-pop boy band or a long-running, critically abused, nerd-based sitcom.