Biosemiotics is the study of signs and their interpretations by living organisms.
The interpretation of a sign is generally synonymous with its “meaning” for the entity that interprets it.
Biosemiotics (from the Greek bios meaning “life” and semeion meaning “sign”) is a growing field of semiotics and biology that studies the production and interpretation of signs and codes in the biological realm. Biosemiotics attempts to integrate the findings of biology and semiotics and proposes a paradigmatic shift in the scientific view of life, demonstrating that semiosis (sign process, including meaning and interpretation) is one of its immanent and intrinsic feature. (Source)
Here is a short video on the subject: A Biosemiotic Perspective.
The importance of meaning (sign interpretation) in human life is so great, many humans will die, or want to, if they lose an overall sense of it.
Just because we crave meaning does not mean we have to have good meaning, valid meaning, right meaning. Almost all cultures almost all of the time are filled with bogus meaning. They thrive on it.
If you find something in a culture, you will find it in individuals. Almost all human psychology almost all the time is rife with bogus meaning.
Some of that comes from culture, some is the interpretation of the individual, all of it is mixed together.
This is why memes are so powerful. They are meaning-signs that for many different reasons are interpreted as being true. A meme can be picture or a few words. An example is “Diversity is Strength.”
That meme is probably not scientifically valid. There are many studies that show it is false.
Whatever the case, “Diversity is Strength” (or one of its derivatives “stronger together”) has become a significant public meaning, whose main interpretation is rarely questioned.
There are scores of memes (cultural signs or signals) circulating within American culture at all times.
Some cultural signs and signals are “organic” in the sense that they have grassroots origins, springing from the “ground” of culture itself.
Others are formed and manipulated by powerful forces who want to influence culture or change it. “Diversity is Strength” is an example of this.
America’s elite subculture has been pushing this meme for many years. The following video contains many examples of this meme being used by public figures as well as a refutation of it: Diversity DESTROYS Social Cohesion in the West.
Most people do not analyze signs, symbols, memes, or semiotics. They do not ask for the source of a cultural sign, its uses, or even if it is true.
Once a cultural sign is established, it will tend to remain unquestioned until some other force (money, media) or meme replaces it.
The best thing for individuals to do is replace crappy, manipulative memes with your own analysis and understanding. Replace them with Right Meaning, in the Buddhist sense.
The Buddha is often described as mainly “an analyst” who gave us many ways to free ourselves from delusion.