At some point in your daily online existence, while either participating in or bearing witness to some argument or controversy, you will, without fail, discover that you have stumbled into a real life brain meme. In a world of reactions, counter-reactions, and counter-counter-reactions—each one served up so as to position its originator as the smartest, deepest, most enlightened person on the internet—the brain meme is the perfect illustration of intellectual one-upmanship taken to its illogical extreme.

If you’re not familiar with the particulars of this meme, here’s an example of one targeting the latest fashion microtrend, which shows how otherwise smart people manage to outthink themselves to absurd conclusions.

Simple, effective, funny, and accurate. The brain meme is undefeated.



I bring this up today—the brain meme is months old, but definitely has staying power—because I spotted the brain meme in action, in its pre-memified natural habitat on my Twitter timeline. You can find it in the replies to just about anything, but this one was perfect:

Small brain:

Glowing brain:

Exploding brain:

Cosmic brain:

The brain meme is the modern discourse, so make sure your takes fall somewhere in a middle panel.