Friday, April 24, 2015

A Disquieting Thought: Spirits in Whisky and in the Air

Our ancestors talked about the spirits in liquor and used that to explain intoxication. 

Shamans talked about the powers of psychedelic mushrooms and certain plants when they didn't know the chemical names but knew the effects.

The witch-hunters got spine chills from watching symptoms of dementia and ergot poisoning and burned and drowned innocents.

Perhaps we humans have been studying memeplexes all along, just without a framework for critically analyzing them.  Perhaps we've been like Pharonic priests who brewed beer with antibiotics...preserving the recipe because it works but not knowing exactly why. 

Perhaps those traditional whispers of "spirits" that travel through the ether influencing collective emotions, inspiring wars, deluding the unwary or inspiring peace deserve critical consideration instead of dismissal.  

Perhaps ignoring them is just as bad as deifying or demonizing them.
Perhaps we've collectively had some idea of what's going on but now we have words for these phenomena:

Groupthink
Memeplex
Collective Emotion

Naming them--articulating them, gives us power.
Instead of dismissing the superstitions of the past, let's reexamine them.

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