Cognition

The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore

A seminal work on the subject of memes, ideas that breed and transmit between human minds much like genes transmit physical characteristics. Blackmore starts this relatively short work by pointing out that learning by repetition is one of the behaviors that make humans unique among all creatures. She crafts an argument claiming that memes are in many ways and accidental byproduct of this, our learning-by-imitation nature run wild.

Plenty of good ideas here, although the last chapter is downright bizarre, almost creepy. In it she argues that we should try to live life without memes, trying to abandon the sort of running-chatter thought processes that most of us default to, and instead try to live in the moment, free of excessive internal narration. That instead of sitting and thinking, we should just sit.

Rating: 3 of 5
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