We have a spirited discussion going on yesterday’s post about a prosperity philosophy. Today I promised to explain the difference between a congruent philosophy and a meme complex. So let’s get to it.
What is a meme anyway?
It is an idea that is also a replicator. Think of it as something that causes people to think a certain way, believe a certain thing, or take a specific action. It is a unit of cultural evolution.
A catchy jingle or slogan is a meme. You hear it, you play it in your head, and then you “infect” other minds by sharing it. “Just do it,” and “Where’s the beef?” are memes just as is the idea that rich people are evil.
In the past, you may have heard me reference a book by my friend Richard Brodie entitled, “Viruses of the Mind.” The virus terminology is most appropriate.
The word meme was first discussed around 1976 in a book by Richard Dawkins entitled, “The Selfish Gene.” He took the Greek root of “mimeme” and shortened it to meme, to be more suggestive of gene.
A meme complex is a condition of mutually supporting memes that form a belief system. Religion is a meme complex. Being Christian, Jewish or Muslim is not a philosophy; it is a belief system.
A philosophy is a system of values by which you live your life. The key word in there is “system.” More specifically, it is a system of thought, done by investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
This requires a critical analysis of your fundamental assumptions or beliefs. Now that kind of critical analysis is what we do often on this blog. But this issue is going to require you to perform this critical thinking on your highest level yet.
So here’s your homework…
Re-read all of this past week’s blog posts. Then, with what you know now, do some critical analysis of the questions I posed, on corporate greed vs. profit making, Jack Welch’s retirement package, allowing hate groups to assemble, and the other issues.
Remove the emotion, question your knee-jerk responses, and think about whether the things you believe are the result of your philosophy, or if they are meme complexes. Then please share your findings with the group.