So a biologist, engineer and physicist are called to help make a dairy farm more efficient… The biologist tells the farmer that he should feed the cows hormones to make it lactate more. The farmer asked how much it’ll cost and it was far too expensive. The engineer proposes to make a better milking machine to get more milk per cow. The farmer asks how much it’ll cost and it was far too expensive. The farmer then asks the physicist how much his idea will cost. The physicist say “It’ll cost nothing and can be implemented immediately!” The farmer was astonished and ask how this is possible. The physicist responds, “Now assume a spherical cow…..”
Imagine a flat earth. If you’ve taken a geometry class, I’m talking about a plane, with no depth. A 2 dimensional object.
You could picture each person as a dot on that plane. We’re only going to think about the dots, and not the ground, trees or any other part of the world.
Let’s add a third dimension, by having the plane moving in both directions. Each of the dots will become a line. This movement represents time.
Each of these lines move. Instead of a line, each can move along the two dimensions of the plane, as they move forward and backwards through time. They dance around each other, interacting and influencing each other in complex ways that are often invisible to the eye.
Lines become line segments before birth and after death. Energy and matter change form, but aren’t lost.
Additional line segments are created by pairings, and the new line segments move in tandem with the parents for an extended period of time.
Each of these dots/lines aren’t just a person. They’re the mind of that person. The experiences. The Soul. Pneuma.
Each one influences each the other in complex ways based upon our choices and behaviors, rather than our opinions and beliefs. A good intention doesn’t change the impact, but it does increase the likelihood of learning and changing to help others.
Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation. If a scientist hears, or reads about, a good idea, he passes it on to his colleagues and students. He mentions it in his articles and his lectures. If the idea catches on, it can be said to propagate itself, spreading from brain to brain. As my colleague N. K. Humphrey neatly summed up an earlier draft of this chapter: ‘… memes should be regarded as living structures, not just metaphorically but technically.* When you plant a fertile meme in my mind you literally parasitize my brain, turning it into a vehicle for the meme’s propagation in just the way that a virus may parasitize the genetic mechanism of a host cell. And this isn’t just a way of talking—the meme for, say, “belief in life after death” is actually realized physically, millions of times over, as a structure in the nervous systems of individual men the world over.’
— Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene
Ideas flow between these dots/lines. Memes. They are passed through interactions, with a larger impact during childhood. Children start with instinctual behaviors, and then learn constantly to build up an understanding of what existence is and means.
If you picture a color changes as someone’s mind is changed, you could imagine how memes spread across groups along time, making growing patterns based upon people investing their time, energy and resources in each other.
People who feel isolated and alone understand that the world is an isolating and lonely place. This is true to their experience. It is not the experience of everyone.
There is a Truth. There are the things that happen. The Tao. It is constant change.
What we often treat as “truth” is a mix of a small subset of facts, rumors, opinions, values, biases, distrust and assumptions.
Destructive memes can spread through groups, causing destructive patterns of behaviors. These ideas can take root if they seem to be true, based upon personal experience.
Someone who is struggling is more likely to accept a world view which seems to explain why they are struggling. Without the struggle, that message cannot take hold.
A growing number of Americans have been struggling for a long time, and they all have opinions on why. These opinions are based upon facts, rumors, values, biases, distrust and assumptions.
The underlying pain is real, and has real causes.
Causes we cannot understand without a broader understanding of Truth. More information. More experiences.
The way to find your own rumors, opinions, values, biases, distrust and assumptions are to have them challenged. That takes a willingness to take a harsh critical look at ourselves, while interacting with other people who also have flawed incomplete views. To pick through looking for the gems of growth.
This requires time. This requires energy. This requires patience. This requires investing in people.
It’s easy to give money to a charity. It’s harder to put in the effort to help others. This is especially true when society encourages us to sell our time wholesale to benefit people who already have more than enough.
Healing starts within.
Love spreads it out.