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The emergence of nihilism and chaos in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries offers us a case study in how memes work. Memes are bundles of cultural information that display viral properties, sowing the seeds of reality in the individual minds that make up a culture, sub-culture, or counterculture. In the case of nihilism and chaos, the ongoing epistemological and ontological revolution initiated by the likes of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, the collapse of myth as a totalizing source of meaning, and the transition from a Newtonian, deterministic worldview to a quantum-relativistic, chaotic worldview transformed the Western cultural landscape, paving the way for the ¿viral¿ spread of nihilism and chaos to different intellectual and cultural strata. This book provides a framework for understanding how memes work in general and then explores the cultural spread of nihilism and chaos in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Joyce's Ulysses, Beckett's trilogy, and Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow serve as focal points in this study because each work represents a critical juncture in the memetic evolution of nihilism and chaos during the modernist and postmodernist periods.



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