The empirical independent existence of God has been a philosophical sticking point for ages. As we advance further into the future, our understanding and mastery of the universe increases at an ever-increasing rate, not only scientifically and technologically, but also philosophically (which is a given if it is assumed that all knowledge is an intertwined ball of wibbly-wobbly application-abstraction; debatable? perhaps later). One interesting idea and related field of study to arise in our age of enlightenment is that of memetics, a genetic approach to the nature of knowledge. Coined by Dawkins in “The Selfish Gene”, the Meme meme has been rather successful so far, establishing itself as a kind of Darwinistic approach to epistemology. The basic theory is that ideas, (bits of information, whether they be cultural, practical, whimsical or otherwise) reproduce, mutate and die in similar ways to bits of genetic information. These mind genes are called memes. Obviously the parallel is not an exact one. Some argue that the difference between the physical nature of genes and the mental nature of memes means the parallel is actually stretched beyond reason; that ideas are too far removed from the physical world of the gene for the meme to be a valid structure with which to classify knowledge.
This, however, implies a dualism of some sort, whether it be between actual levels of existence or just levels of unmanageable complexity. The causal relationships between information and physical existence is fairly easily demonstrable by writing down a set of instructions and then burning them, but is often confused which leads to the idea of duality of existence. Once the above example has relieved us of this first option, we are left with the second. This assumption is that there is some incomprehensible and unmanageable layer of complexity between physical things and ideas that separates the two. This is simple intimidation. Not only do we know that extreme or even infinite complexity can be allowed for and even described by simple models, we are also residents of the information age, and as our planet and species becomes increasingly connected we are able to tease apart the most complex of causal knots. That leaves us with a question; if there is no extreme separation between information and physicality, what is the relationship between meme and gene?

A gene is a meme. It’s just not presented in a form we’re used to dealing with. It is, though, information that reproduces and mutates. It can also die out if it fails to reproduce, thus this genetic information is naturally selected. This has been the main form of meme on our planet for thousands of years and is the basis of all life, so it’s no surprise that we make the assumption that it is set apart from the memes that have arisen in the fertile new environment that is human communication. But these new memes are the same as those which shape our physical form, and they too impact physical reality.

The complexity and elasticity of the human mind is staggering; compared to the harsh rule system of atomic chemistry, the mind is a memetic sandbox allowing ideas to loop, spread and mutate in ridiculously large patterns. These flourishing memes, describing everything from physics to David Beckham and then to the nature of melancholy, are possible because of the framework established by the chemical memes. Genes arose out of the complexity of chemistry and created order of a kind. The long relatively stable loops of generations of life became more complex and in this new complexity new memes began to emerge. Many of these found it beneficial to aid the purpose of the chemical memes, the genes, but some do not and others are largely unconcerned because by this point the generation time of the chemical memes is so huge that the neurological memes have more immediate issues to deal with like conflicting memes and how to spread into another node. These super-memes are, as we said, far more complex than their chemical counterparts and are thus capable of manipulating the world around them through their proxies (conscious physical bodies) in far more complex, immediate, subtle and extreme ways, depending on the meme. As natural selection operates within these memes some interesting major trends emerge. The key forces acting on neural memes is that they need to be able to keep their host alive long enough to be copied into at least one other host. The direct result of this is that initially at least and still to this day, the majority of memes attempt to accurately describe the physical world, because knowing how not to get your head cut off is beneficial to survival. The reproduction of the meme also requires its communication. Thus emotional memes like Love & Compassion arise alongside things like Science and Logic (which communicate and preserve the host). Some memes are also opposed, competing for supremacy and the right to be communicated; this leads to things like Argument and later, War. As these pressures are continually exerted on the meme landscape over thousands of years, we see a few more big ones emerge from the mess like Morality, Mental Health, Money and God.
These memes are things which are largely non-physical and have little to no existence in the absence of humans. The obvious debatable one here is God. Let’s for the argument’s sake, however, take the side of the atheist in a time of worldwide monotheism. Although no God being exists independently, the God meme is so successful and so powerful worldwide that it is influencing everyone in the majority of their actions. The God meme, which describes the God being which does not exist, is manipulating reality to mimic one in which the God being does exist. The God being then exists by proxy through the meme and its hosts. In many instances, the meme describing something that doesn’t exist can be much more powerful than the meme that describes something which does. For instance, in a religious killing, the God meme destroys an individual and the main source of the meme of the individual’s identity. These are extremified examples of the world we live in today, where the God meme is very strong in a large part of the world, and although there are other memes that seek to combat it, its presence is not to be dismissed simply because the God being may not exist independently. Regardless of the empirical truth of the meme, its success appears to be linked equally to its combative strength in dogma and religious argument alongside its preservation and enhancement of its hosts.

I, like so many others before me, propose a mutation of the meme which eliminates or mutes the elements regarding independent empirical existence and those elements which are needlessly combative, and focuses on the elements which are communicative, enriching and preserving. Naturally, new mutations occur and the world turns, but it is in the interests of the super-memes and their hosts, and the chemical memes that they’re constructed upon, that those memes which preserve life be the ones that are most successful.


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