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Re to Brigitte - memes

Mar 28, 2002 12:01 PM
by Gerald Schueler

<<<What do you think about this idea of “Memes” nowadays, that started with the 1976 Richard Dawkins book on evolution (taking in account that the SD also mentions evolution a lot) called “The Selfish Gene”, and has been further defined in that “memes” are fundamental units of culture, passed
on by imitation, and a question that comes up is whether taking a meme’s eye view of cultural evolution leads to any useful scientific work ?
One argument against making “imitation” the centerpiece of mimetic mechanisms, and an alternative ides has been proposed of a distinction
between surface-level memes and deep-level memes by asserting that deep-level memes are not acquired by imitation but rather by a complex process of construction and integration.>>>

I tend to agree with it as a conditional truth, but it is only one side of a dualism, being a polar opposite to cooperation, which is also discussed nowdays as a possible evolutionary causal factor. Both selfishness and cooperation are certainly in our skandhas in mixed amounts. Maya is all about the belief in a self. Once this belief takes hold, we grasp onto it, and we want it to continue and to be happy and to have pleasurable experiences while avoiding unpleasant experiences. Thus the fundamental concept of a self drives the whole evolutionary train (and NOT some Logos as many Theosophists like to think). Memes would seem to into into this scheme, but we cannot forget its polar opposite which is cooperation, and evolution occurs as these two factors interact as a result of the belief in a self.

Jerry S.


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