Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999 15:59:46 EDT
Subject: Re: New meme-ber!
In a message dated 6/8/99 11:19:38 AM Central Daylight Time,
>> Those memeplexes that offer "spiritual truths" have shown a greater ability
to replicate than those that do not. Why? I would suggest because our minds
have evolved the compulsion to find meaning. We become suckers for
metaphysical answers that promise us "purpose" and "meaning".<<
I think the need for meaning is key. I don't think that we are "suckers" for
meaning and purpose. I think we all have an instinctive need for it.
>>Does this mean that "spirituality" is just some ethereal ad man's hookum?
Not if we separate the metaphysical valuing (e.g., the worth of the
individual, the group, humanity, life) and the emotional constructs (love,
awe, wonder, etc.) from the magical thinking that has been used to
propogate many memeplexes. <<
Indeed I think it is almost imperative that we do so. Aside from what this
means for memetics.
>>I am torn as to where I am going with this one. On the one hand, I would
like to suggest that a secular spirituality is something useful that we can
distill from the above process. On the other hand, I am tempted to suggest
that this "meme-world" is synonomous with "spirit-world". I would like to
hear other's views on this.
See my earlier posting subj:"spiritual memetics"
In religiously neutral or even secular terms, I would say that spirituality
is a characteristic of those memes that the evoke the greatest schemes of
association and recognition within the target audience - in otherwords the
greatest meaning - regardless of whether that meaning is truthful, magical,
or even consistent throughout the target audience.
For example, the question, "What if God was one of us?" (pardon the bad
grammar, I am quoting the song), is a spiritually evocative question/meme.
Though I would doubt that it coherently means the same thing from one
individual to the next, it does have a tendency to have great meaning for any
one individual. As long as an individual thinks that the word "God" is a
meaningful word, the question will probably seem very significant and
If not it will seem like a lot of buzz like it does to me - though I can
recognize that it would be meaningful to lots of other people. For me it is
like being the one dog that does not salivate or foam at the mouth when the
bell rings, watching all the other dogs respond to the bell.
More *religious* spiritual memes will tend more to evoke meanings for the
sake of evoking meaning. At least from the individual's point of view it
would seem to be experienced that way. From the larger perspective of
memetics, they function to evoke a drive for the propagation of those memes
and the greater memeplexes (religions) which employ them. When people fail
to find or create the sense of meaning that they need from life, many of
these pure-meaning (meaning only for the sake of meaning - or magical
meaning) memes fill in the picture - or even take the picture over.
Finding or creating enough meaning to satisfy our needs without relying on
the more magical thinking of religion can be quite challenging, and perhaps
for some people even impossible. Perhaps some people even genetically have a
greater thirst for meaning than the secular world could ever provide. But
for those for whom it is possible, secular philosophy and secular
spirituality - without magical meanings - would be the non-religious
As far as I am concerned, there is a spiritual world - we are living in it.
This is it. But for some people that is not enough.
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