The Next 60,000 Years / Ideas
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The word 'meme' was coined by the zoologist Richard Dawkins, when he wrote on non-biological evolution. Dawkins realised that the processes of evolution can occur with any entities that are able to replicate ... including ideas. A meme is an idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve. Memes can spread, as rumours spread, and they may be true or false. Memes may be perceived as replicating mental patterns that are formed by imitation, teaching, or rumour. Computer programmes are memetic and, as you know, computers may be programmed to change their programmes and to create programmes. It .LS noteworthy that the processes of technology evolve far more swiftly than the genes of biology. Genetic evolution is limited to a system which is based on DNA, RNA and ribosomes, but memetic evolution reaches beyond the bio-Mind to self-programming computers. And now nanobio computers are being developed, with the probability of self-programming by non-human nanobios. Memes are fast becoming evolutionarily independent of genes. It has been observed that memes tend to behave like viruses ... and this can be turned around, for it can also be said that viruses tend to behave like mernes. Memes, beings of thought, are subject to the influence of thought. Perhaps viruses are also subject to the influence of thought.
The memetic evolution has been parasitic on the gene evolution ... but memes (as creative intelligence) are now able to modify and create genes. It may be said that the meme is now supreme, and that it is of a higher order of transfinite power than the gene. This brings us to a consideration of the nature of creative intelligence and its role in the future. 'Creative intelligence' refers to the imaginative capabilities of our species, and its priority task down the ages has been to devise ways of releasing energy (on which human life depends), from its enmassed potential state to a released and useful kinetic state. Energy release progressed from primitive heating and cooking by wood fires, to the release of the calorific food energy of husbanded grains ... to the harnessing of animal power, water power, coal power, chemical power, gas power, steam power, and oil power ... to the generation of electricity and, finally, the release of nuclear energy. Until 1945, growth of energy release correlated with the growth of human population for, until then, its net effects were beneficial to human life. But, from the beginning of the nuclear age, the release of kinetic energy started to exceed the biological needs of mankind.
If we think of growing creative intelligence as a memetic evolution, which is becoming independent of the genetic evolution, the question arises as to whether the physical aspects of our species will survive. In considering this question, we need to note that it is an imperative of the absolute to express in every way, including physicality. Also, there would be no creative intelligence without the bio-physical evolution, and the wonders of physical nature are not a 'throw--away' but a presence of the absolute. Now comes the point that the creative intelligence is able to change, adapt and upgrade human genes, to greatly improve the survival capabilities of the species. Pragmatic, common-sense thinking indicates that the physical and intellectual qualities of our species are inseparable, integral, and interdependent.
We will now consider the paradigmatic aspects of the meme concept, for they have relevance to the acceptance, or non-acceptance, of the future scenario presented in this book. A viewpoint, which has the currency and acceptance of a standard story, is called a paradigm by the Wittgenstein, Lakatos and Kuhn school of thinkers. Over time, societies accept a changing series of standard stories ... that is, of viewpoints concerning the reality of the world and its phenomena. Wittgenstein said that a line could not be drawn between what is experienced as reality and the perception of that experience. Much earlier, Leibniz had focused attention on the solipsist uniqueness of each individual's viewpoint. These aforementioned thinkers, and others, have noted that perception is quite inseparable from reality. We create reality or we are integrally one with reality, or both.
Margaret Masterman, a Cambridge thinker, made the insightful comment that a paradigm is a puzzle-solving artefact, which we use in our attempts to solve the puzzle of existence. We may think of a paradigm (viewpoint) as a key which we have made in the hope that it will open the 'Pandora box' of truth. What is the truth? Feyerabend suggests that we might bypass esoteric debate and apply the pragmatic criterion ... that is, 'does it work?': and, if it works, use it! A prediction scientist, such as the author, is in an excellent position to follow Feyerabend's advice, for, instead of trying to prove hypotheses, he is able to develop a multi-paradigmatic model and to go ahead and use it for purposes of prediction. And if accurate predictions result, fine!
Accurate predictions do not prove their source-hypotheses to be correct, but they are the closest that we can come to proofs other than tautological pseudo proofs. You see, existence is an absolute which is wholly in each of its parts, and is not capable of proofs except in terms of itself. So, why do we bring this line of thinking to your notice? We are well aware that some of the concepts in this book are not currently accepted as the standard story of life and the universe, but no set of paradigms is sacrosanct and unchallengeable. The author's multi-paradigmatic model has worked for ten years now, with 85%-90% accuracy and, as it continues to work, he continues to use it. So, the author feels no need to apologise for replacing standard stories with his own paradigms, for purposes of prediction.
Another reason for bringing this line of thinking to your notice is that creative thinking will play an increasingly important role in the future of our species. With a burgeoning sense of our powers, we will do 'Kennedy's' and we will declare seemingly impossible intentions, and we will achieve them ... and the distinction between fiction and reality will be blurred by our rapidly increasing ability to create. Vaihinger noted that successful means always have a tendency to become independent, and ends in themselves. He also noted that experience and intuition are higher than all human reason. Fictions and visions may be, and often are, creative devices. The human will is discovering that it has greater and greater means at its disposal. Years ago, the author's infants teacher said, 'there is no such word as can't' ... and maybe she is right. This brings us to the point of the self-fulfilling prophecy ... and the Kennedy (we will put a man on the noon) example is a classic. It is up to us to decide what we want to do.
Those, who pioneer new standard stories of the universe, participate in the creation of the universe. This pioneering activity is transfinite, for the pioneers of each time-phase are integrally one in the ideation process. The future seems to take hold of the present, and drags it forward. And, sometimes, those of the present cry out to those of the future ... 'not so fast!: we can't keep up!', and 'we are too close to self-destruct ... slow up!' But, those of the future, press ahead regardless for, by their very existence, they know that our species does not self-destruct.
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