humans are just machines for propagating memes

Awesome. It’s not just me that have these crazy thoughts then..

At TED 2008, Susan Blackmore makes similar comments. My thinking has been that evolution and gene propagation itself is a meme, and humans, like other earth based living beings are vehicles for that propagation. She takes it a more information centric approach: “human beings are being overrun by memes that want to use us for their own advancement ” -from the wired interview.

The thinking here is that memes are nuggets of cohesive information that propagate themselves, using, in this case, human minds and human communication..

Viva the-great-complex-pyramid-of-heirarchical-organisms.


the god particle

I recently watched a new documentary about the neutrino particle on NOVA titled the ghost particle. Apparently the neutrino has been misbehaving. Or so it seems to us. It doesn’t fit the standard model perfectly, it has mass and it has alibis. Scientists have now stopped trying to figure out how or why it doesn’t fit the standard model and starting to poke it to show more of its colors. There will come a time, after enough poking around and seeing the neutrino do it’s dance, when we will have a different model showing how the neutrino fits in. And it won’t be just because of the neutrino. The standard model doesn’t account for gravitational interaction either.

The argument is, we as humans are always trying to see where the buck stops, who’s in control, what’s the explanation for all this, and so it goes. Therefore, we come up with a theory for how things fit in. Various religions have their own theories. Science has it’s quest for the ultimate Grand Unified Theory. Philosophers have straddled both science and religion and who knows what else to come up their own grand philosophies. There’s even a favorite of mine, the chaos theory with ties into fractal geometry and duality.

Yes sir, we’d like to believe that there’s an end of the line. We sorta think there was a beginning of the line although we may argue amongst each other about what or where exactly that was.

I’m not a scientist, I haven’t been trained as one. I’m not much of a theologist either. I, like many of you out there, am a bit confused. Therefore, to swim through the confusion and keep my head above water, I have also come up with my own way of figuring things out. I am perfecting my own philosophy. And like everybody else with their theories, I am ready to argue for my theories any time. In fact, I’ll probably jump to an occasion to spout my theories to anyone who’s willing to listen, and for that matter, to those who aren’t.

Sadly, the jumping-to-occasion phenomenon, applies to all. To scientists and theologians alike. Imagine a hundred people with hundreds variations of some dozen core theories. Multiply that by 70 million. That’s how many we are. That’s how many variations we get and that’s how many possible arguments we have. Quite a few of us, most of us in fact, will let go of our theories or stop arguing about it in the face of a stronger and more opinionated few. Most of us even follow their lead. Some theories become so strong in their hold among the people, that they become memes that survive through generations of people and civilizations and arguments and wars and destruction. The major religions are memes. Even science is a meme. The idea that there is a provable, repeatable explanation of how we come to be and the belief in that idea.

My question, a strand of my own philosophy, is this: will we ever stop? will we continue formulating and propagating memes to an unseeable generation in the future. Or is there so much unpredictability that the quantification of that “so much” is itself unpredictable. Are things changing and reformulating so much that there is no one god particle? The god particle at any instant is liable to transform into something else entirely.

Situations and circumstances may change but the underlying diversity, unpredictability and un-oneness of things is the only meme that’s stable. Our human society will be chaotic. A seething mass of unpredictable societal behaviour. There will never be one religion, one way of government, one morality, one grand unified theory, one god, one god particle or one ring to rule them all.

That gives me a little bit of comfort. It allows me to believe that anything is possible and that everything is a hack. The whole freaking universe is one big hack. Hack away, believe in your hacks and smile. Have a little fun. That’s what we’ve been doing after all.

update: the large hadron collider is coming online soon in geneva.

update: the god particle has been found.

six degrees of separation

The movie Six degrees of separation explores among aother things, the concept of, surprise, six degrees of separation. Incidentally, it is also Will Smith’s foray into movies.

The concept is surprisingly simple to explain. Basically, any one living person on earth can be linked to any other random person by successively linking six different people in between them. Sort of like the seven degrees to Kevin Bacon game. It doesn’t hit home until you think of the powerful side-effects that you can derive from it. A tribe elder in the amazon can be linked to an Inuit fisherman in Alaska for example. Or you can link yourself to Dalai Lama or the Pope. It’s mindboggling, eh! In reality, though, the trick is finding the right six people, I guess.

This reminds me of something that one of my friends told me out of hand. If you’ve slept with more than six people in your life, then you’ve slept with everyone else on earth. You’re a slut. Don’t get offended, it applies to me too. Ugly, but something to think about. And thank my friend for the anecdote. She’ll find it amusing 🙂

bubble stickers

This guy went around collecting pictures of stuff that people had written on bubble stickers that he stuck to posters in and around New York City. Some of the posts are hilarious.

If there was a way to track when people write stuff on what posters, it might even be used to keep track of live memes.. as in what are a lot of people thinking at any particular instant.