Sunday, 8 July 2018

George Christos: The Memetic World

I recently became aware of the book draft of The Memetic World. This is a book by George Christos. In 2017, George described the work as follows:

my unpublished book called "The Memetic World", which was basically written in 2003

George goes on to say:

I do not want to edit what I have previously written so there are bits that are incomplete. There are also ideas I wanted to work into the text at some stage. I am not sure I agree with everything I wrote then, but it is what it is.

The draft is clearly incomplete, with missing figures, notes to the author about where to insert more material, mysterious red sections. Also, the draft peters out into sketchy notes, and there's no index or references.

Book length treatments of memetics are fairly rare, so my attitude is to gratefully treasure what we have. So, I am pleased to find this manuscript. This book is clearly heavily inspired by Blackmore's 1999 book. George references Blackmore 146 times - more than all the other authors he mentions combined, I think. The themes tend to follow Blackmore's interests. That's mostly good, but it means that there's too much material about the self and consciousness for my taste. The book is a fair bit more amateurish than Blackmore's, even after accounting for its unfinished nature.

I'm not done analysing the contents so far, but so far I have learned at least one interesting thing from the book - to do with human longevity. Recent increases in human longevity are clearly memetically driven. My "background" theory would blame this on medical advances. However, as George points out there's a meme's eye view on this, which suggests that memes may divert resources away from DNA reproduction into maintenance processes that help the host to live longer as part of their strategy to get into more brains. Maybe this is a fairly obvious idea, but I don't recall having thought of it before reading The Memetic World.

To close, here's a recent promotional video for the book:

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