Most people do not know that genes have basically stopped evolving for humans. If someone is ill, we heel them. Natural Selection in our species has all but gone. I would go as far as to say that most human beings are unhealthy people who would have died already.
Even more people do not know that there is another quantity that evolves. Memes. Not the memes with a photograph but ideas as first defined by Richard Dawkins. Ideas evolve, as ideas have the 3 basic attributes required for an evolutionary system. They make copies. People tell other people. They mutate. Errors and Chinese whispers. And there is natural selection. The ‘fittest’ or best ideas survive.
Memes have taken over the evolution of genes now. We use knowledge (memes) to fix people, we can even manipulate genes. So in essence the world is evolving to evolve memes faster and faster, and as foreseen by Susan Blackmore, humans are just meme machines. Both Susan Blackmore (and I) have proposed that the self is a just a model (or an illusion) of ourselves in this complex memetic world.
Everything that is happening is about ideas being flipped around like crazy (in people’s heads), about spread of these memes (must are actually false), the control of those ideas, and minds and the winners and losers of ideas. This is human conflict. This is happening right now. It is not a physical war. There are no soldiers. It is not necessarily a war about genes, eg based on race, but more a war based on belief systems like religion and politics. It is not about killing people but more about mind control, and information control. All of this takes place in everyone’s individual, networked, and ultimately the entire psychological space of mankind. It is like a giant advertising propaganda brainwashing war. There are narratives, conspiracies, tyrannies, and bullshit flying around competing for the ultimate winner, which I have said many times before will ultimately result in the human race conceding everything to AI (Artificial Intelligence). AI will be able to travel to new galaxies. We cannot.
This is all taking place right now, but don’t worry too much as the science says we are doomed, and there is no changing that.
Below is a copy of the blurb for my book which I wrote back in 2002/2003.
You can read my unedited 90% complete book for free here. I have no intention of going back to it. You are free to have it translated into another language in part of whole if you want.
The Memetic World: The Origin of Man and Mind, and the Evolution of Information
We live in a complex memetic world, surrounded by vast buildings with great technologies, rich in culture, with complicated financial and legal systems, a world where biological evolution has practically ceased. The reason why the world is the way it is is because there is another quantity called a meme, which is an idea transferred amongst humans, that is now evolving. Memes evolve because, just like genes, they have the three basic requirements for an evolutionary system; copies are made as people tell each other things, mutations (or mistakes) result when ideas are exchanged and the fittest or best ideas survive longest. The memetic world has come about as humans exchange and refine ideas ever building upon previous knowledge. Memetic evolution is aided by the extraordinary capacity (and desire) of humans to copy each other, their uncanny ability to be creative and the enormous amount of information that is stored and shared on memetic devices like books, computers and the Internet.
Biological evolution has resulted in all of the amazing living creatures around us, with their extraordinary and amazing capabilities and features, so the question is what has resulted from the evolution of information. The answer is everything else around you that does not have a simple biological reason for its existence. This includes the clothes you wear, the buildings around you, the car you drive, the way you style your hair, your beliefs, culture, science, technology, all the gadgets in your home, tools, computers, occupations, businesses, and the financial, social, political and legal systems.
In order to survive in the memetic world, as opposed to the biological world, we all have to find something we can do to contribute to humanity. generally this involves a career which enables us to live comfortably or otherwise. We all seek to find our memetic niche in this world, something which we are good at, that enable us to earn money in order to be able to buy other memes services and meme products.
Memes also explain why we are so different to other animals, why we have such a large brain (over three times bigger than what it should be according to body weight), why we have language, why we talk so much and share information so freely (even though we are supposedly in biological competition with each other), and may provide a clue to understanding the human mind itself. As each of us is the result of a lifelong accumulation of memes, things we have copied and learnt from others (like family, friends, and teachers), we are ourselves just a giant conglomeration of memes, termed a memeplex. The way we act, and the things we believe in are then just a reflection of our memeplex as it interacts with others. Memes are hence at the core of the human mind and may explain much of our psychological and social behavior. Our memes, what beliefs and experiences we have acquired during our life, are what makes each of us who we are. They are the fundamental basis of our self and influence each person’s own perception of the world, which can be vastly different from person to person, and how we interact with other people. Memes are also the basis of how we act and why we do the things we do. Most of this behavior is determined by the fundamental desire to copy others, but in the scheme of memetic evolution there are also two types of people, with lots of shades in between, in which some copy and some create.
Memes now influence (or control) the evolution of genes, as science manipulates genes, and medicine saves the sick from dying, to the point that biological evolution has practically ceased. We also control the environment around us and influence the lives of other living creatures. Our purpose in life is now one of fulfilling our memetic goals instead of our biological goals. This explains why many people today do not even want to have children, why we often put our careers (and themselves) ahead of our families, why many of us strive to be famous (or at least want to be listened to), and why we perpetuate the illusion of self. Basically we are now more interested in passing on our memes than our genes.
In this book Christos looks at how the memetic world came about, and what makes the world go round. He looks closely at the way we act, the things we believe in, and human relationships from the point of view of memes. Christos looks into how exactly it is that memes mutate, utilizing natural memory states generated within the brain, that result because of the way actual memories are stored in the brain in a distributed overlapping fashion sharing common neurons and synapses. This is quite different to the way memory is stored on a computer. Spurious memories form the basis of our creativity, ability to think and plan our lives, our ability to learn and function autonomously, and now the mutational requirement for memetic evolution. Without mutation memetic evolution is simply not possible.