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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Memetic Transmission

Our human ancestors traversed the Earth searching for food, shelter and water and in doing so began to settle in groups (composed mainly of relatives and allies), in large part, for protection and security from other groups. Through language and interactions between groups of humans our ancestors created and proliferated memes or ideas that were important to follow in their time. During the time of early humans it was their five senses that enabled them to maintain their health, security, and group cooperation. In order to find nourishment and strength, our ancestors had to use all five senses in concert to determine what was edible, digestible, and of course palatable.

At that time, they were not too worried about the amount of fat, carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins in their food, but they did eat what they felt gave them more energy, stamina, and hydration since there was not always an over abundance of food available. This ensured that they could eat in moderation so that there was enough to go around and that they could heal properly and swiftly so as to not prolong their weakness. Although they did not recognize it at the time, they were finding ways to strengthen their immune systems in order to fight sickness caused by bacteria and viruses and to maintain their health.

Moreover, security was a major factor that influenced early humans to form groups and maintain cooperation in order to avenge against enemies looking for food, a place to settle, and in some cases women to join their group. So perhaps another important meme was mating outside of the group in order to add diversity to a particular group. At the time, these early humans did not know that they were, in turn, expanding their genetic diversity by mating with someone outside of the group. But, it was their senses like touch and sight that helped them to determine that there was a need to add outsiders to their packs. Their inherent sexual instincts for a non-relative helped them to diversify and grow their tribes.

The use of their five senses helped early humans to use logic in their behaviors and actions. As time passed, existing memes were strengthened and new memes were created that sometimes replaced existing memes (memetic competition). Much archaeological evidence shows that early humans crafted different tools and objects out of rocks and bones for security, hunting, and ornamental purposes. The creations can be seen to have happened all over the world at around the same time during the time of the early humans. A meme, governing these creations, had spread all over the world by humans because it was so important for protection, food, and leisure.

Leisure was important since it satisfied the senses the way food and shelter did. It allowed early humans to play with their logic skills which, in turn, improved their reasoning skills, although they did not realize this at the time. It offered a means of inventing new things from old creations. For example the creation of a sharp rock knife may have enabled the creation of a flute from carving a piece of wood. And from this could have resulted the creation of carved stone sculptures or jewelery. The use of their logic helped humans to further their knowledge of their surroundings and this gave rise to new and more complex memes, some of which had evolved from existing memes. Some of these more complex memes include livestock herding and agriculture, from the meme of food security and wealth, and wearing clothing in order to maintain hygiene to protect from harmful bacteria and viruses (from the memes of good health and longevity).

In today's modern societies there are an overwhelming number of memes that are built on older memes from the time of the earliest humans. Our logic and reasoning skills that are governed by our senses and ultimately our brains have been improved over tens of thousands of years that today we live in a world of countless creations. We thrive on new discoveries, not only based on our surroundings and lifestyles, but on the nature of the universe. These new discoveries enable today's humans all over the world to expand their knowledge of life and the universe further improving our logic and reasoning skills.

The difference today is that we are capable of being fully aware of how we impact ourselves, each other, and our future. We now have the ability to weed out such memes like the belief in God that no longer apply in this modern day. This meme, that was established in order to maintain group loyalty and cooperation long ago, is no longer necessary in a time of democratic influence and social justice. With all that we know today, we can have control of how our future will be. However, with the long-lasting meme of religion among today's societies, we have a tremendous obstacle to overcome in order to establish a safe and prosperous future for humans.

By Rajvee

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