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Re: Theos-World Re to Brigitte - memes

Mar 28, 2002 11:55 PM
by David Blankenship

Perhaps it would help to the understanding of memes to know where Dawkins is
coming from. He is a noted atheist, who believes that the brain and the
gene is all that makes up a human consciousness. "New Scientist" ran a
cover story on the meme and several articles. The brain has been
extensively mapped and the meme is as nebulous as the soul, angels and

The "Economist" ran a summation of the current status of the mind - brain
duality and said it was a draw with neither side the clear winner. Also
that there are diehards on both sides that will go to extraordinary lengths.

It is better to admit to being an optimistic agnostic who chooses to believe
there is a purpose to life than a pessimist. I don't know what Brigitte
believes, but I tend to believe in reincarnation and karma.

David Blankenship

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gerald Schueler" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2002 12:00 PM
Subject: Theos-World Re to Brigitte - memes

> <<<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,
> 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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