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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Larger than the sum of its parts

When we tell a story we generally develop a timeline.  This happened, next that, then another.  Unfortunately in science education, we do the same thing.   First Galileo, then Kepler.  Linnaeus then Darwin.  Big Bang, KT Extinction, Humans. 

But to understand memetics, we have to step outside that simple, linear pattern.  Just like the genetic tree of life, the ecosphere of memeplexes emerges like a banyon tree or a mycelial mat, not a neatly manicured topiary.

We have an incredible opportunity.  Computers empower us to visualize complex fractal patterns of emergence.  We could plot how the exchange of information and data saturation make environments ripe for the growth of a new scientific theory or political philosophy.  In this new future, the emphasis will be less on "who did what, when" and instead focus on how a memeplex organically grew within a given population. 

With such an understanding, we can see how human culture is more than the sum of its parts, just as the mind is more than its matter and an ecosystem is more than it's geography and biological members.  Not with some otherworldly weight, but by the collaboration of the parts, the conservation of scarce resources and energy, the means and elegant ends of intention-less design.  We will see the beauty of our universe, which has given rise to us to comprehend it.

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