Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is probably the best idea that anybody has ever had. Darwin’s idea is not just applicable to biology, though, it also applies to culture.
The application of natural selection to culture has been called ‘memetics’. This is the theory that, like living things, ideas – or ‘memes’ – naturally vary and that (generally) the ‘fittest’ ideas survive and are replicated across generations.
Neuroscientist Susan Blackmore, who has studied memetics, introduces a new type of meme which she calls the ‘teme’: the technological meme. Technology, through temes, she argues, is now driving us forward, whether we like it or not.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
In this talk Blackmore uses the idea of the ‘teme’ to pose some interesting questions. She asks whether there are other lifeforms out there in the universe and also whether humanity will survive the arrival of the ‘temes’.