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Human Evolution, Memes and the Internet -A New World?

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posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 02:26 PM
As there's no 'How the World Works' forum i guess i'll post this here.

The human population of the earth today evolved in the last 16000 years a very complex set of social customs, often known as 'memes' which can be described as a unit of cultural understanding -If i say to you 'To be or not to Be?' you most likely get the reference to Shakespear and thus i can communicate the complex issues covered in the speech in a much more efficient manner.

The first memes included using fire, doing unsanitary things away from the camp and following certain hunting paths and practices, these then quickly led to social systems and simple cultures before spawning rule of law and religion to enforce and control the meme development. Each meme like each gene had to battle it's way through survival of the fittest, some lasted for thousands of years while others lasted no time at all, however as in genetic evolution the more time that passes the more chaotic and complex the result, that is of course to use chaotic in it's strictest sense -an order so complex it seems random.

So society today has developed into many meme species, many cultures and belief systems the most obvious examples include religion and politics but memes as with genes can't be banded into neat sets. a human and a horse share many genes as a christian and a muslim share many memes. We can however see a certain order and patten within human development, certain memes can be seen to develop from other memes in a long refinement process.

Consider western civilization, our original 'civilization' meme started in the middle east in the areas packed very tightly together; Egypt, Babylon and Isreal. Next our society memes develop richly in Greece, it's often said all the types of government that were tried in the 20th century had all ready described in Greek texts. The focus of the amazing development coming from city states such as Athens. However as the memes spread and Greece spread out the system collapsed, only to be replaced as #1 superpower by the city state of 'Rome' which maintained it's power for a long time before handing the empire over to the city state within Rome itself called 'the Vatican' a giant walled fortress. The Catholic Church controlled meme development in western history until ol' Henry VIII has a little rejig of power and the city of london then dominated the philosophic and literary development of the world as she built her empire. The tiny island nation of england managed to take over a huge portion of the world before it too began to fragment and collapse.

At each step of the way the system which got us where we were today has been based around a very tight nit community living in tight proximity - could the reason for this be because when you jam people together they HAVE to get along, they HAVE to deal with people thus the meme development is much quicker, much more selective and as a result people develop much more complex memes. Take England and Japan, two island nations as far apart as anyone can be with totally different cultures but both are known for being (traditionally) very polite, uptight and having complex social structures -could this be because those are traits which might be useful on an island?

Interestingly country folk almost always consider a big city's to be rude - NYC, Paris, London, etc are constantly spoken of as being full of rude people while city folk often describe rural types as backward, wide eyed. yokal, slow or old worldie. It would make sense to say that maybe country folk don't have the meme skills to properly function within the city, when they fail to obey the 'meme code' by for example milling around the the way while people are in a rush this causes a negative reaction from a city type reinforcing his 'country folk are hicks' view while the country boy unaware he did anything wrong reinforces his 'rude city' opinion - hehe jus' like Croc' Dundee, this isn't to say country folk are 'slow' they just live by a different meme code.

However consider that the main areas of social development have always happened in very constrictive places which have caused memes to be developed rapidly, could it be that humanity when it passes below a certain 'meme development threshold' isn't able to effectively process memes as a society and thus collapses? Most of our memes were developed in citys, these memes have born other memes which have become the core of our mind -many of the complex meme control systems (themselves memes built into memes)
which have developed to fit with the balance of the system might not function with a lower feedback value.

For example 'Respect For Authority' - The bias which has been put into many memes regarding authority has to be strong enough to overcome the natural distaste people have at being told what to do -which in a city must happen frequently due to the high numbers of people - without the natural balancing effect of knowing you HAVE to break the rules sometimes, you HAVE to ignore what some people say and find a way around the system (in a city you might not be able to find a LEGAL parking spot for miles, etc) maybe the Respect for Authority meme is too strong and becomes unstable .

Lucky for us moden folk we invented internets and the internets are ideal tubes for memes to travel down, lol. So with the internets we will see a breakdown of the old meme system -no doubt an event as important to meme evolution as the mass dino extinction was to genetic evolution. We as a people have moved from city state to nation states, developing growing and spreading into millions upon millions of different belief systems, ideas, stories, traditions, methods and games -now the internet could totally remove the limitation of geography from us - how will this effect the memetic development process?

Will we see a refinement of memes into the strongest few or will we see an explosion of memes like never before? Personally i predict a solar system full of very individual groups bound together by a universal understanding of the human condition (we live, we work, we die) but i really want to know what you guys think?

oh and country vs city - do you agree with the meme development i described?


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