Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

In Kill Decision, Odin fails to recognize an important force

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On page 126 of Daniel Suarez’s Kill Decision (excellent sf techno-thriller set in near future):

There were Westerners who looked with concern at the suffering of burgeoning Third World populations, but Odin knew that Mother Nature wasn’t the nurturing type. In fact, she might view the stable populations of the West as a failure—a rebellion against primordial order. Nature wanted only one thing: for creatures to produce viable offspring. After that, you were genetically dead. Nature had no more use for you. Your extended lifespan, your biography, your Hummel figurine collection, were all just taking up space. By some cosmic joke, nearly the entire scope of human experience was at odds with the biological world.

The problem here is that Odin (and Suarez) have too limited a perspective on Mother Nature, which not only provides the laws and settings for the emergence of lifeforms and their subsequent evolution, but has also produced another emergence from that: memes, the units on which human culture is based and whose interactions drive memetic/cultural evolution. Memes evolve at a rate millions of times faster than do lifeforms, and nowadays the dominant force in human life is not biological evolution but memetic evolution. Indeed, the novel itself is about the evolution of memes and how humans created an environment that supports and nourishes memes and facilitates their evolution.

He should read The Meme Machine, by Susan Blackmore. And he’s not the only one.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 September 2016 at 6:49 pm

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