Clarity Natural Nootropic Improve Memory and Cognition

Arbitrary Interpretations of Memes

Susan Blackmore gave the following TED Talk on memes in February 2008. I agree with her application of the evolution paradigm to replicators beyond genes; however, I disagree with the way she interprets the ramifications (more on that below).

First, when she says (or quotes from someone else) that memes, like genes, result in design out of chaos without the aid of mind, what does she mean by "mind"? What if mind IS evolution at a rapid rate? Or what if mind is to memes as environment is to genes? Either way, it appears that universal darwinism may be understood as being dependent on mind quite as easily as it may be understood as being independent of mind. Maybe our genes are to God as our memes are to us? Or maybe temes are to God, as memes are to individuals, as genes are to anatomy? Something along these lines seems quite as plausible as the arbitrary claim that mind is not involved in any of this. Again, what is mind?

Second, I don't understand why she thinks non-human animals imitate hardly at all. On first hearing this claim, my initial impression is that she doesn't know what she's talking about. Here's one of a huge number of examples that come to mind quickly: parrots are the archetypical imitators. Why would they not be considered meme carriers?

Third, I disagree with the perspective she expressed with these words: "we think we're choosing these things, but the temes are making us do it" (by the way, in her view, temes are to memes as memes are to genes). Of course, she would express the same sentiment regarding memes and genes. They MAKE us do things. We don't choose. From such a perspective, there may be no choice whatsoever. Yet we all experience choice. How is that? Some say we're deceiving ourselves. Those who say so are holding dogmatically to a particular understanding of "choice". Others, like me, simply say: I know I choose -- and I'm curious to understand better what that means (whether or not genes, memes and temes end up playing a role in my understanding).

Practicing Atonement

This is a transcript of a talk I gave to my local Mormon congregation on the subject of the Atonement of Christ. As among Christians generally, there are many interpretations of the Atonement among Mormons. In my experience, the interpretation I share here has considerable practical power for transforming the way I think, speak, and act for the better from day to day. I welcome your feedback and questions.

Happy Easter

Each night, Christ is willingly wounded for our sins, hammered to the cross with fresh nails from the eternal conflict of desires, wills and laws. Seeking no vengeful punishment or sacrifice, except the repentent apology of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, he again satisfies justice in freely chosen mercy.

Each day, Christ rises from the garden tomb, turning our hearts and spirits to new heavens, growing from a new earth, stemming beyond present conflict. We are reassured that death is fragile enough to break as the roots of life dig deeper. As its buds press sunward, we imagine a flowering glory.

Night and day, Christ embraces and raises us in the infinite atonement of heaven and life beyond hell and death. Called, we take the name and suffer together, that we may join in the glory. We forgive as we are forgiven. We heal as we are healed. What was once a mystery is revealed in us as we labor, striving according to his working, which works in us mightily.

Lincoln Cannon
Mormon Transhumanist Association
Christian Transhumanist Association
The New God Argument
Lincoln Cannon LLC
Clarity Natural Nootropic Improve Memory and Cognition