How are religious memes harmful, according to Susan Blackmore? How is meditation a “meta-meme”?
A meme is simply that which is imitated. Ideas, stories, actions are all ways that memes travel from person to person. Memes are subjected to variation and selection, so only certain memes are replicated and others die out. The memes that are valuable normally spread. (TED example of folded toilet paper, good idea or meme that passed around). Blackmore gives the example of the folded up toilet paper and how that ‘selfish’ meme is one that has replicated around the world. Religious memes, however, are dangerous as described by Blackmore. She gives the example of a meme in the form of an email claiming to be from IBM stating a certain action will clear the computer’s hard disk and this email should be spread. Spreading this ‘tick’ meme provides the satisfaction of helping a friend and eliminates the threat of getting the hard drive wiped. Similarly, religion uses tricks to spread its memes. Religion lifts hearts, temping to spread the word and pass onto children. It provides the reward of everlasting life and the threat of enteral punishment. No one can die and come back to tell us these claims are false so these religious meme viruses continued to replicate for thousands of years. Meditation itself is a meme being passed down from a long time ago. Though meditation our mind can ponder the many memes encountered in the past and could possibly result in replication. Therefore meditation is a meme of a meme, or a ‘meta meme’.
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