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Friday, November 15, 2013


Is hoarding a mental illness or a behavior which emerges from environmental and social circumstances?  Until recently it was thought to be a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) until studies showed hording behaviors aren't resolved with OCD treatment. 

"Clinical studies have focused on clinical compulsive hoarders, those at the far end of the clutter spectrum.  Clinical compulsive hoarding doesn't happen overnight, it develops over many years or decades."

As community intervention programs explore the world of hoarders, they are learning that the 'clutter spectrum' is wide indeed.  But there still seems to be a residual emphasis on "personal recognition of a problem".  Embarrassment is touted as "a step forward". states that after this initial recognition, "the next [step] is wanting help and being willing to accept it". 

Embarrassment and shame are powerful emotions, but they create barriers as well as catalyze change.  This means that the current intervention strategy naturally excludes those who have cultural or personal resistance to shame and who will not trust anyone who tries to induce it.  "Asking for help" is also an unnecessary ritual.  Often loved ones and trusted friends can provide intervention once they understand the causes and coach a person through the transition.

So if hoarding isn't a mental illness, what is it?  Hoarding shows signs of memetic transmission:

"Offspring who are not actually hoarders but because they have never had a model for living in an organized uncluttered home, don’t know how to do it. They don’t know how to sort or weed out unwanted items. If there have been any personal traumas and/or anger, their problems are compounded.  What is both interesting and exciting for us is that these clients move forward very quickly, once they understand how to do it."

These children are at increased risk of developing behaviors somewhere on the hoarding spectrum until they learn habits and strategies that eliminate clutter .  In this case the behavior is a natural outgrowth of a healthy Neolithic brain which has not adopted a memeplex (clutter-reduction) to adapt behavior to the modern environment.

Clutter-reduction is an acquired skill.  Humans were nomadic for most of our history and this limited the materials we could collect.  People did not need to use much brain power to determine if an item was retained.  Useful items were retained, but could be discarded as the community had the ability to reproduce these items. Heavy and bulky items were naturally left behind.  Food was hoarded and people who compulsively collected & processed foods had a survival advantage.  Foods were shared and consumed.

Civilization gave us the concept of personal property and acquisition.  But it wasn't until the industrial revolution that material goods could massively accumulate.  The advent of wage labor made us more insecure in our ability to provide for ourselves in the future, and yet we are bombarded with memes which tell us  to 'plan ahead'. 

Our brains have not had enough time to adapt to our altered environment.  We can learn strategies which will help our Neolithic brains perform better in this new world.  But in times of cognitive development and decline as well as stress, some of us will develop hoarding behaviors.  What was an asset to our ancestors is now a challenge. 

Our relationships to memes play key roles in hoarding behaviors.  "Words take so much time to process that getting behind with them can happen very quickly.  Many people hoard words making those clots very common."

Just as our bodies crave nutrition, our brains are hungry for information.  Words enrich our lives, help us assess threats and direct us towards resources vital to our survival.  But our modern world produces information on an industrial scale: daily newspapers, magazines, books, advertisements, bills & financial statements, etc.

Add to this memes from authority figures:  The IRS suggests you keep all receipts and tax information for 10 years.  Or the ever present reminder on electronic statements and receipts: You may want to print this statement for your own records.  Add the stress from a life-altering illness or financial issues and you soon have the foundation to develop "non-optimal" living arrangements.

The behavior of 'pack rats' is a natural phenomenon.  Hoarding takes time to develop, it takes time to resolve.  Understanding memetics gives us the tools to comprehend this phenomenon, help our neighbors and create healthier communities.

Continue to Pedagogy

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Non-Optimal Elder Care

We are the product of civilization, yet we live a highly nomadic existence.  We do not leave our elderly and infirm in valleys with a few days of food and supplies like our ancestors did.  We do entrust our family members to institutions when our employers or life circumstances call us away.  We trust the social machine and its human elements will provide love and compassion.  We assure ourselves that there are standards and regulations which govern these medical facilities.

Have we ever considered that some of the regulations are ill advised?  Take the depression/mental health screening which is mandatory in nursing homes.  For a middle aged man in rehab, perhaps it is appropriate.  For an elderly dementia patient who keys in on someone's words and obsesses over them, it is the beginning of a nightmare.   The young social worker comes in and administers the questionnaire.  The very last question is: "How often do you think of death and dying?" 
Now if engaged in activities and a steady routine with plenty of rest, this individual may not think of an abstract concept like death very often.  But someone asked a question and the brain works to respond.

        "Oh, every now and then I guess."
Every now and then isn't one of the choices on the questionnaire.  
So the na├»ve social worker tries to get a more accurate response.  

"How often is every now and then?"
"How often do you think about dying?"
        "Well, it's going to happen!"
"Yes, but I need to know if you think about it a lot.  Do you want to die?"
        "Who wants to die?"
"Some people want to die."
        "Should I want to die?"
"You tell me.  What do you think?"

The dementia patient doesn't respond but that's ok.  The social worker is able to write on the form "does not answer question, avoids eye contact, hunched forward with head on hand" and leaves to perform other duties.  Meanwhile the dementia patient is sitting there, unable to redirect herself with the idea of 'death'; 'some people want to die' & 'should I want to die?' rolling around in her defenseless mind.  

When a family member walks in the patient cries, 
"Get out!  The blond girl talks to me about dying and I won't!"

The social worker hasn't been properly educated, even if she has met every standard the state and facility sets.  She was taught depression is a disease diagnosed with a questionnaire.  She knows nothing about memes and contagious ideas.  She is unaware she set the patient into an emotional crash which the staff will bear the brunt of later.  When the nurse manager approaches her about the patient's disturbing behavior and the possible need of antipsychotics, the social worker will nod slowly and agree, "Yes.   She seemed depressed at her last interview."  

The wording and timing of questions can trigger changes in thoughts and mood, altering the final results of an assessment.  We need to consider that even though someone retains the ability to communicate with words, assessment strategies must change as a person looses their ability to protect themselves from the unintentional influence of others.  Until we integrate meme theory to our understanding of mental health, we will still be living in the dark ages.

Antipsychotics and antidepressants in elder care mask problems, suppress expression and prevent communication, impeding appropriate care.  The drugs reduce behaviors that upset observers, acting as chemical restraints.  One alternative to drugging the elderly is identifying structural violence which stresses an individual.  Important questions to ask are:  Do they need more time to sleep?  Is something painful?  Is there an infection? Do they need more (or less) human interaction? 

There are some innovative ideas in elder care including The Eden Alternative and the book Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care.  These alternatives focus on moving from a "dose" approach on interaction (patient received 5 minutes of 1-to-1 interaction with the nurse on second shift) to integrated, productive activities built into the daily routine.

But these innovations are not being encouraged by drug reps or encouraged by regulatory agencies which worry: "How will they document and verify this and how will compliance affect state funding?"  It will have to be individuals, families and the wider society applying selective pressures which will cause an evolution in the memeplex of elder care.

Continue to Hoarding

Monday, November 11, 2013

Child 'Abuse'

Some will take offense that the word abuse in the title is in quotation marks.  The subject is serious and should not be easily dismissed.  However, the word abuse is loaded.  It demands immediate intervention and creates partisanship.  Either the adult is guilty or innocent, the child a victim or not.  This turns into a question of personality, perception, reputation.  Responsibility is placed on the individual adult.  They should know how to behave.  Even when we talk about environmental stressors leading to abusive patterns, the focus remains on that particular adult's strengths and weaknesses.  How much can they bear?  Maybe parenting is too much for them.  We're doing a favor by removing the child.  We go down a pre-programed path instead of examining the intricate development of each 'abusive' situation.

Let's play with the language for a moment and call abuse 'non-optimal interaction'.  That's terribly sterilized.  It doesn't show the spectrum of mistreatment or the long-term consequences.  But this sort of language is necessary for us to get out of the rut of emotional reaction and pre-programed memetic responses and outcomes.  We can begin to look at non-optimal interactions as behavioral patterns within our society.

Many are aware of religiously-motivated child abuse.  Let's look at the non-optimal memeplex of Discipline.  The doctrine (the memeplex) and thus the leadership teaches faulty ideas of child cognition & development which is passed to the parents to apply in raising their kids.  They may view certain strategies as 'discipline' while others see it as 'abuse'.  If the child responds with resistance the religious memeplex frames this action as being linked to the rebellious nature of the child, signaling to the adult that they need to increase the 'discipline'.  Conversely, when a child complies with 'discipline' or even learns to respond with gratitude, the parent is taught to interpret this as evidence the strategy is working.  Both performed gratitude and genuine gratitude reinforces the parent's behavior.  The parent becomes convinced that opponents of their strategy are closed-minded and can't understand that this works for their family.

But let's not use religion as a whipping-boy.  There are other institutions which instigate mistreatment of children.  In the name of optimizing a child's current & future "success", how many parents in the USA are encouraged and comply with drugging their children?  We assume that since the Dickensian orphanages have been shuttered, institutional mistreatment of children does not exist.  We do not see mandatory mind-altering drugs as a violation of a child's rights.  We instead spin it as empowering the child to get the medical attention they deserve and we insist this is in the child's best interests.  In such an instance it is the teachers and administration which act as instigators and the parents are just middle-management deferring to the authority of the educational and medical systems. 

It is the responsibility of all to question how they may be propagating non-optimal memeplexes.  The development of a non-optimal memeplex is not a conspiracy or work of the devil.  It is a naturally evolved phenomenon.  But its continuation & propagation is due to the unquestioning compliance of adults.

Here is one final ironic thought. 

We tell parents threats and punishment are inappropriate, ineffective tools for changing behavior & educating a child.  Then we threaten to tear apart their families if they don't obey our mandates, go to counseling or parenting classes and turn their kids over to us for evaluations.  The persistence of this concept of 'good parenting' vs. 'bad parenting'; of 'abusive' vs. 'loving' parents, of parents 'deserving' or 'not deserving' to maintain custody of their children is grounded in the Christian memeplex of sin, punishment, repentance and redemption.  Adults can adopt strategies for optimal interaction based on environmental cues and observing other adults.  They don't have to grovel, repent and beat themselves up first. [In fact we find that shame and negative self-perceptions are contrary to fostering growth.]

Progressive, secular culture may have tossed out the mythology long ago, but it persists in maintaining Christianity's vision of individual failings and socially sanctioned punishment, distracting us from the larger picture.  It's time to reconsider.

Continue to Non-Optimal Elder Care

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Child and the Meme

+Tim Tyler's  insightful cover of his book Memetics: Memes and the Science of Cultural Evolution is an invaluable commentary on childhood development.  It is a close-up of a crying baby's face as light bulbs with wire tails encircle the head trying to get in, reminiscent of an ovum being fertilized by sperm.  It also illustrates that memes are replicators just like genes.  It is brilliant!

We often idealize childhood:  Life was so much simpler then. Or was it?  How quickly we forget.  Just as a baby begins to explore the world and experiences rapid physical growth, its brain goes into high gear with language acquisition and reproduction.  But it must work hard to produce the right sounds as it learns to control breath, vocal pitch, lips, cheeks and tongue and also contends with the eruption of teeth! Pleasure from linguistic interaction and playful enthusiasm aid in this daunting task. [1]

As the child grows  it develops a near obsession around age three for repetitive tasks and verbal rhythms.  Abstract words are still tied to observed realities and will remain this way for a while.  We also see an uncanny ability to pick up on the context of a word and use it, even when the meaning is unknown.  When a child hears someone curse and then repeats the word and sees the novel reactions of adults, the child repeats the experiment and revels in the reaction.  This word must be important for the brain to retain if it evokes such a strong response!  The adult, conscious of the social fallout reacts as their social memeplex demands.  The child, driven more by biology than by memeplex programs, persists.  This is why social awareness of childhood development & language acquisition is crucial.  If left to compulsively carry out the "parental role" of current social memeplexes, the adult often responds to the child in ways that are counter-productive to their goal and a vicious cycle of reaction-response-reaction ensues.

The brain doesn't simply wait for linguistic interaction to occur.  It plays internally with the language, runs simulations of conversations, day-dreams.  This is as important to development as social interaction.  The brain acquires memes and assembles memeplexes.  Through peer group interaction and interaction with adults the child learns if the internal memeplex aligns with the collective, shared memeplex.  Then it works to refine the internal memeplex.  A child who's memeplex aligns completely with the prevailing memeplex is often labeled the "good kid" (or alternatively, "the suck-up"); a child who maintains some independence in their memeplex is often labeled "creative".  The one who strays too far is labeled "troubled".  In reality, all dispositions ("good";"creative";"troubled") can create problems or be an asset. 

Let's look at the label "troubled" since it gets a lot of play.  A teacher can get frustrated with the personality and behavior, label the student, give them poor marks, encourage the parents to apply pressure and behavior modification and advocate for the use of drugs.  Alternatively, a teacher can observe a "troubled" student and wonder, "How is the structure of my classroom hostile to this child?"  The "troubled" student can be a barometer, sensitive to structural pressures while the teacher and other students remain unaware.  This child may also be communicating that they are contending with more memetic interactions than their peers (they may belong to a memetic minority even though they dress, speak and are the same color and social class as other students).  It is the teacher's responsibility, as the educated adult capable of reflection and adaptation, to address the deeper picture instead of assigning labels, and to turn the experience into one of mutual growth. 

Language acquisition is stressful.  Memeplex conformity (disciplined thinking) takes years to learn (and unlearn).  We often face contradictions between received memeplexes and personal experience.

We experience misunderstandings & conflict with peers as we experiment with language and transmit ideas.  We run into linguistic sub-cultures which challenge the ways we think.  We often experience challenges with authority figures who have the power to reward, punish and label.  And when we just about sort it out...along comes puberty. 

The most important thing for any parent, educator or decent adult to remember is that brain development is different from their observations and perceptions.  Evaluation has limits and biases.  Often teachers will view development as stunted when what they are observing is only the expression, the ability to communicate proficiently.  Effective communication includes awareness and assent to norms as well as an established scaffold of trust.  Traditional evaluations take the social complexity of learning and all its challenges away, attributing shortcomings to the individual student when it is often the institutional structure, methodology, praxis and student-teacher relationship which need to be critiqued.

Continue to Child 'Abuse'

[1] Here is the beauty of intention-less design.  Language acquisition applied selective pressure on our species, in parental bonding and in mate bonding.   Babies who did not experience pleasure (a biological incentive) from linguistic interaction had less success in bonding with caregivers, and lower survival rate.  Adults who were not linguistically proficient or who lacked a desire for linguistic interaction were less successful in passing on their genes.  From the beginning memes had a symbiotic relationship with the genes. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Importing Memes and Maddness

Japan has a complicated history of memetic imports.  Confronted with a European memeplex which refused to integrate and instead assaulted native memeplexes, Japan gradually reduced imports, limited visitors and then shut itself off from foreign lands in the 16th century.  Suppressing (sometimes executing) hosts and destroying foreign writings and artifacts, the native memeplex launched a multi-pronged immune response to the foreign invasion. 

The European invader was Catholicism.  Often when this story is told it is rendered through European or Japanese eyes, or as an example of a less tolerant, less humane era.  As humans, it's natural for us to tell it from this human perspective.  But to do so, even as non-partisan historians, overlooks the memetic mechanism.

Japan did not remain isolated forever.  An awareness developed that if the rest of the region industrialized and adopted a Western military, Japan would loose autonomy.  Japan was behind the times.  The regional saturation of European memeplexes made bakumatsu necessary for the survival of Japanese memes. This led to treaties, exchange of ideas (gradual adoption of choice parts of European memeplexes), involvement in European politics and eventually a nationalist self-perception which resented US imperialism in the Pacific, allied itself with Axis powers (WWII) and initiated a preemptive strike on US territory.

After defeat in WWII, the peace treaty required economic, social and military restructuring in favor of US interests.  Japan was not a vassal or colony by traditional definitions, but the US presence and authority was felt as the conqueror rewrote political, economic and social memeplexes to neutralize any threat and foster trade.

These changes primed the Japanese market to be receptive to American memetic exports.  With Westernization came the expansion of the middle class, urbanization and the appearance of a traditionally "Western" ailment: Anorexia Nervosa.  The emergence of this illness is complex and the Japanese variant has its own complex emergence.  Is it the result of imported standards of beauty or a hybrid of traditional values of self-restraint coupled with food abundance and urban lifestyles? Or are there variations on the sources of emergence which are unique to specific subjects?  One thing is certain.  It is not biologic agency but memetic agency which precipitates this illness.

Another memetic import which is outcompeting traditional memes in Japan is the idea of clinical depression and the need for pharmacological intervention.  Japanese culture originally had a romantic love of sadness, grief and unease.  These were common human emotions in a warring feudal society and before the development of antibiotics.  Emotional pain was seen as strength of character, evidence of loyalty, a shared, ennobling experience.  Extreme depression was a known phenomenon, but thought to be extremely rare. 

But a culture which comfortably contemplates loneliness and sorrow in theatre, music and ritual is not a receptive market.  To expand and exploit this market, a company must first sell the idea that strong emotions, especially negative ones, are a threat to productivity and social harmony.  The experience of Dr. Laurence Kirmayer gives us an idea of how pharmaceutical companies invest lots of money to gather knowledge and apply it to re-engineer the memes of a market.

[An in-depth academic investigation can be found in the paper: Global Pharaceuticals: Ethics, Markets, Practices by Kalman Applbaum.  Of particular interest is a heading within the paper: "Speeding the Evolution" to Global Standards.]

Continue to The Child And The Meme

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Inconviences of Modern Life

There are multiple changes in environmental stimuli which modern humans with ancient anatomies struggle to acclimate to:  Artificial light, abundant food, population concentration,  language headaches (as we interact with other people and subcultures at an ever-increasing rate), creating biological stresses, and structural violence.  Global climate change is not the only crisis of the second replicator.  Memeplexes are creating internal crisis in their hosts though altering our environments and our mental flexibility / adaptability.

Let's start with the environmental changes.  Artificial light doesn't just complicate the lives of plants and nocturnal animals.  It's an environmental change (read: selective pressure) for our own species.  Artificial lighting and screen time disturb our hormonal patterns and interfere with natural sleep cycles.  Medical authorities and historians are reconsidering our understanding of natural sleep cycles, theorizing that segmented sleep is the natural pattern for humans.  This form of sleep is becoming increasingly rare with modernized, industrial schedules.

We have an abundance of high-calorie foods laden with chemicals engineered to enhance flavor and cravings, even when these foods ignore our nutritional needs.  Suddenly we can't trust our cravings and our taste buds to lead us in a healthy direction.  This is an environmental change, with evolutionary consequences.

In the public discourse, we talk about dietary diseases (diabetes, heart disease, obesity) as stemming from either a lack of restraint (eating the wrong foods) or a lack of initiative (not exercising) when the subject is more complex.  Food desertsincome, and stress hormones play key roles in food 'choices'.   The evolutionary pressures we create with engineering our foods is another factor missing from our dialogue.  And what ties it together?  The memes.  The ideas which have engineered this modern world in the way it is, putting evolutionary pressure on us.  [Bear in mind: When an environment changes too rapidly for adaptation and too many individuals are eliminated or prevented from reproducing, population deflation or extinction occurs.]

We also come into contact with more humans than our Neolithic minds know what to do with.  The Dunbar Number sets the limit for human social groups at around 150 individuals.  This is about how many people one individual can maintain relationships with.  But in our ever sprawling megacities and mass migrations, our brain's social networking is used in other ways. 

[Listen to Dawkins speak about religion, gods and "imaginary friends".  One might think this is evidence of mental illness, but when we look at this as an evolutionary adaptation to physical and social change, it is not so startling.  It becomes less a question of widespread madness and more a study of how modern changes have been advantageous to the spread of certain memeplexes and the extension of immaturity--which we will investigate further on.]

The city, telecommunications and transportation expose us to culture shock as we bump into subcultures, workplace cultures, venues (a club vs. piano bar vs. a drum circle), experience age and gender segregation, role expectations and then the disillusion of these constructs.  We do not have to travel internationally to experience language headaches.  Often different use of words, changes in speech patterns, terminology/acronyms/slang, and ideology-heavy English (say you watch Bill O'Reilly then browse, or read Capital and Atlas Shrugged simultaneously). Language headaches can then morph into migraines when there is a memetic barrier to adopting a new language. 

These social and environmental changes are a form of structural violence within our cities.  These rapid (evolutionarily speaking) environmental and social changes have immense human fallout.  Our inability to recognize the cause, to focus on the effect & blame the neurobiology of the individual, to prescribe industrial solutions instead of neutralizing the causes, is yet more structural violence.

What lead us into this modern land?  In our earlier discussion about our need to cultivate symbiotic relationships with memeplexes, I did not intend to suggest we do not benefit already from symbiosis with them.  We developed a symbiotic relationship with memeplexes from the start.  The memeplex played a  parenting role, stabilizing our food supplies, developing architecture.  As we domesticated other species, we domesticated ourselves.

Civilization extended childhood, even empowered people to experience lifelong "immaturity"  (meaning a dependency on the society to feed, clothe and shelter).  A book could be written about the drawbacks of domesticated humans and where it might lead our species.  But let's look at some of the advantages.  We have increased leisure time (read: playtime, oh yeah!), meaning an increased potential for learning and a increased opportunity for creativity.  We have increased life expectancy, material goods and food security.

If you didn't take the opportunity before, listen to this recording of Dawkins b/c it addresses the domestic anatomical and psychological features of humans. 

[There is actually more study on this subject than I initially realized.  Gregory Stock addresses self-domestication in several works, as a potential road of future human evolution.  It would be interesting to find a paleoanthropology study on the morphology of the human body as we became modern humans.  I am also curious to find out if there are studies about human mate selection that go beyond the traditional assessment of selection due to symmetry and class signifiers.  Could we be selecting for domesticated attributes (wide eyes, round face, small jaws, docility)?]

It is important to keep in mind that our symbiotic relationships with memeplexes are not completely beneficial.  While they provide so much, they also limit our mental flexability, innovation, action and freedom.  To create a truly symbiotic relationship with the memeplex, we must take initiative and recognize those social constructions which have created alien environments hostile to our biology and mental health.

Continue to Importing Memes and Maddness

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Brain Knots

We tie our minds in thought-knots and spend our time untying them.

Some languages are worse at this than others.

Focused on finding causation, English is a decent language for scientific inquiry.

But it makes our inner lives complicated.
We grapple with dichotomies and absolutes:

Good vs. Evil  (or Good vs. Bad)
Liberal vs. Conservative
Strong vs. Weak
Gay vs. Straight
Correct vs. Incorrect
Male vs. Female

We ask not only why we did something, but what it means that we did it.
Not only what we feel, but how we should feel.

And when the answers are complex or contradictory we wonder...

Does this mean I am good or bad?
Does this mean I'm healthy or unhealthy?

Learning to think outside dichotomies expands our internal landscape.

Moral, Immoral, Amoral
Correct, Incorrect, Awkward, Graceful
Male, Female, Transgender, Neuter, CIS

It destroys the emotional split of either self-satisfaction or shame.  Our attention shifts from our self to the complex interactions in the world around us. We consider, we contemplate, we observe and adapt.

As we go into this month of exploring mental health issues through a memetic lens, here's something to consider: 
Maybe there's nothing wrong with how you think, maybe your thoughts are complicated by the language you speak.

Continue to Inconveniences of Modern Life

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Sanitized World (November)

The Hygiene Hypothesis proposes that the line between parasite & symbiote, pathogen and probiotic is more blurred than we previously assumed.  We evolved in an environment which exposed us to parasites and pathogens, and the interplay between these agents and our immune systems developed a balance. 

Parasites excrete immune suppressants and our immune systems responded by gradually growing stronger.  When parasites were suddenly removed by sewage treatment and  clean drinking water, our immune systems were left unchecked & without their traditional targets.  This may explain why some people's bodies attack inert debris like pollen as if it is a pathogen and why still others develop autoimmune diseases where the body attacks its own healthy cells.

We also have the endosymbiont theory which explains how mitochondria and chloroplasts were once separate organisms which developed symbiotic relationships with other cells and got those cells to take over their reproduction in exchange for energy. 

So there is a precedent of observed symbiotic behaviors of parasites/pathogens and their hosts.  So let's get back to our topic of memes and memeplexes.  Brodie's comparison of the meme/memeplex with a virus works in how it transfers from person to person and how it defends itself from competition and from the host's defenses.  From there Brodie develops a critique similar to Dawkins, that these memetic viruses are the bane of the human species and must be eradicated to improve our quality of life.  But that ignores what we know of the evolutionary process.   We are co-adapted with memeplexes.  We can improve our immune response to them, we can identify which are helpful, benign or destructive and tailor responses accordingly, but we cannot excise them completely from our experience.  They are a part of us.  Let us resist the temptation to despise our own flesh.

It's time to move away from the paradigm of "germs cause disease, prevent illness by universal sterilization"; "memes cause mental illness, prevent mental illness by eradicating memes" to a more progressive stance of promoting symbiotic relationships and addressing specific problems within the studied environment.

Continue to Brain Knots