A look at how history might have changed if aliens gave prehistoric humans the gift of memes
Around 10,000 BC, before the advent of agriculture, early human hunter-gatherers are starting to develop complex tools. Just as society as we know was about to begin, it is widely believed that an extraterrestrial intelligent species visited earth. Why this species visited and what they wanted is unknown. But through ancient cave paintings memeologists theorize that they visited humans in a dank river valley somewhere around modern-day Ethiopia.
The cave paintings depict the alien species giving some form of alien technology to the prehistoric humans. These early humans were unsure what this technology was or what it could do, so it remained dormant for almost 300 years.
The actual functionality of the alien device is unknown, but we now know that it displayed alien memes in one form or another. Within 50 years common paintings had spread to hundreds of caves across Africa. It is believed the first original meme was created around 5,000 BC and there may have even been wars between tribes fought over the alien computer. No remnants of the artifact have been found to this day.
It is thought that ancient Egyptian society worshipped the memes discovered by their ancestors as though they were gods. Many kings commissioned great monuments to be built as tribute and have stood the test of time.
Many ancient memeologists think that Egyptians were more fond of animal based memes as they could be seen in their surroundings.
Pictured above are photos taken during the 1900's on the first expeditions to egypt with cameras.
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Living under feudal rule as peasants meant that it was hard to come by clean sources of water, leading many villagers to instead drink mead or ale. This meant that most of the village population drank and thus enjoyed relatable, often humourous memes. These memes were often about drinking.
This was also the first instance of captioned memes, as most memes before this time were often graphical. This was also the first time in history that memes were being distributed to the common folk. Memeologists believe that the combination of alcohol and memes may have helped villagers cope with the stressful, barbaric life of living the middle ages.
Around the 1800s memes were made into a commodity to be traded on the stock market. This period is known by memologists as the great 'meme boon' as memes helped create economic prosperity.
Meme prices fluctuated based on their demand, which spawned many schemes to falsely inflate the popularity of certain memes for scammers to make a profit. This was also the first time in history meme makers had to certify their memes as genuine to retain their monetary value. The 1800s saw the rise of counterfeit memes and their attempted trading. Sometimes the bootlegging process turned deadly as the understanding of dangerous chemicals was not known at the time.
Unfortunately at this time no one would see the great meme prohibition of the early 1900s coming.
Memes played a crucial role in the Allies' propaganda machine in the fight against the Axis forces. In particular the campaign against the 'Grammar Nazis'. As writing letters was the main form of communication at the time, many people prided themselves on checking for spelling and grammatical errors.
Of course, not everyone likes to be told they're wrong. Which is what caused the Allied propaganda to work so well, fueling many to join the army. Many memologists contribute this great use of memes as one of the defining factors in the Allied victory.
To the left is an example of one of the many influential films shown throughout cinemas in the 1940s.
Thanks to the advent of the internet, memes can be freely distributed and enjoyed by everyone around the world. The digital software and the internet brought about what memologists call "The democratization of memes", allowing anyone to create and share their own memes.
Before this time memes could only be created by the rich, but allowing anyone to create them has seen a fresh burst of diverse memes from all kinds of people.
The wide-spread love of memes has led to entire websites dedicated to them, cultivating community and culture around memes. The modern age has also seen the rise of meta and ironic memes from dedicated meme fanatics trying to differentiate themselves.