Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category
“Meme” is a useful concept because we have always seen how our culture and cultural artifacts have changed over time—evolved—we had now word for the general phenomenon of cultural evolution. We could talk about the evolution of the violin or of neckties or of writing pens, but no name to lump all those instances under. Now we can talk about each as being memes—replicatable ideas—that evolve over time.
In fact, quite a few important technological developments and advances took place in the Middle Ages. I thought of that in connection with the cerebellum’s evolution, which, like the technology advance of the Middle Ages, still is often overlooked.
Evolution can produce some amazing outliers on various attributes—-and this guy has several.
Interesting. In my meme-oriented view, the internet would be an emergent phenomenon of memes, drawing in more and speeding up their evolution. And, of course, the most successful of those memes would (by definition) capture the attention of the greatest number of people. That’s quite a fertile environment for meme evolution—and of course it’s attractive by (more or less) necessity/definition: the most successful memes are the most attractive, so the Internet, which allows more or less free evolution, would quickly (in human terms) evolve to a high level of addictiveness.
Or maybe not. But it’s clear that the entire Internet is a creation built of memes. That’s what the whole thing is—nothing but memes (in the Richard Dawkins sense). And it’s clear that the Internet (i.e., the memes that comprise it) is evolving rapidly—just look at the Internet’s underlying technology as one group of its memes and see the rapid advance there—and that’s mainly, I would think, because the environment is uncontrolled. That is, it’s not a medium where the big content makers totally predominate: we are all on-line, and networks have developed that quickly draw the attention of the Internet denizens to things of greater interest (thus the origins of its addictive nature). Those networks are all the various link-exchange sites of whatever level—even news stories now include many hyperlinks. So this network of connections surfaces things more quickly, thus allowing more rapid memetic evolution.
It all sort of hangs together, doesn’t it? What we’re seeing and a part of (and a part of us if I’m right that one’s identity is constructed from memes) is a meme Cambrian Explosion.