Meme, meta-memes and politics by
Meme, meta-memes and politics by Keith Henson
Richard Dawkins, perhaps the foremost evolutionary biologist of our times,
starts Chapter 5 of his recent book, The Blind Watchmaker with "It's raining
DNA outside." He goes on to describe a willow tree that is shedding fluffy
seeds far and wide across the landscape. The paragraph ends: "The whole
performance, cotton wool, catkins, tree and all is in aid of one thing and one
thing only, the spreading of DNA around the countryside. Not just any DNA, but
DNA whose coded characters spell out specific instructions for building willow
trees that will shed a new generation of downy seeds. Those fluffy specks are,
literally, spreading instructions for making themselves. They are there because
their ancestors succeeded in doing the same. It is raining instructions out
there; it's raining programs; it's raining tree-growing, fluff-spreading
algorithms. That's not a metaphor, it is the plain truth. It couldn't be any
plainer if it were raining floppy disks."
I like the metaphor that the human mind is the substrate, or primal soup, for memes to emerge to life.