Evolution is not a ladder. Even the tree metaphor is flawed because it gives the faulty impression of ‘progress’ upward. Evolution is only change in whatever direction leads to the most reproduction.
Cultural evolution is the idea that our ideas and way of life evolves generation to generation much the way an organism does, based on how easy the ideas/traditions/etc are to imprint on the next generation.
In much the way that you could sit down and design a self replicating organism that is way better at existing than a lot of life on earth, you can also come up with ideas and art that are way better than whatever music/art/entertainment gets passed on and on and on.
If evolution produces junk so often, maybe it’s time we start trying to influence it. Biologically, we can do this by editing our own genes. We are well on the way to doing this already.
But culturally, how do we do it? How can we change what is popular so that it’s something beautiful and meaningful that is gets created, instead of Transformers 8, season 10 of Jersey Shore, or a billion copies of 50 Shades of Gray?
The answer is probably education, as it seems to be with almost every problem in society. Someone who’s read history’s greats, and seen the most elegant art and been taught enough about the world to appreciate its most amazing creations, is going to have a lot less interest in the basic, surface level schlock that floods the market every day.
In America, you have to pay lots and lots of money to get an education. So much so these days, that if you aren’t born well off, it’s pretty prohibitive. The steadily rising costs of education could be seen as the natural end result of a capitalist society–a product in demand will rise in price. Or if you are the sort to see conspiracies, it could be something else.
Those in power naturally want to stay in power. And if knowledge is power, the best way to keep it from getting into the hands of others, is to prevent the average person from being able to get an education.
The rich stay rich, and their kids stay rich and pay for a nice education, and so on. The poor stay poor and their kids can’t afford an education, and so on.
After all, if everyone was well educated, who would the rich have to exploit?
If only we could live without it. I never have had fantasies of being rich and powerful, just of being free to follow my interests and not have my energy monopolized by merely surviving.
Why, with all our technology and resources, are we still having the majority of people in our society wasting their lives away doing drudge work?
Not a future I hope to live in…
What is light? It brings us information but is itself insubstantial. Sound is has no mass, or weight. Light and sound aren’t objects or material in themselves, only energy… motion… but they seem to be most of what our human experience is made of.
Someone or something that knew how to manipulate light and sound could alter our whole world without us ever knowing…
One thing about audiobooks, is you can’t tell how far into the story you are while listening. A paper book, you can see the thickness of the pages in your hand. A kindle book has that little percentage on the bottom as you turn the pages. But an audiobook, who knows?
I’m still listening to My Name is Red, and I had thought that the narrative was drawing to a crescendo, and that the story would soon be over. Maybe it’s because I’m used to listening to books that are ~10 hours long, and I sort of felt this time approaching, but I actually am just reaching he halfway mark.
It’s a fun feeling to find out that a story you are enjoying is suddenly going to keep going for a lot longer than you thought!
What does your mind do while you’re away? Could your dream world be more important and enriching than waking life?
Our days so often seem like meaningless survival, as if our consciousness is just a way to keep us eating and procreating, the same way a section of our brain keeps our hearts beating and lungs breathing.
Is consciousness just an autonomic function, while our subconscious in the dream world is where our important mental lives are?
How could one unite those two consciousnesses for the full experience…
It seems to me, that when people have no danger or threats, they make up their own.
In a country where we can prevent almost every major disease we’ve encountered, people decide to find danger in the cure… be it doctors, or vaccines.
In a country where we produce so much food that we throw away 40% of it, people find danger and conspiracies in the food itself.
In a country where anyone can study and learn any subject, people find conspiracies in the information, and value their own opinions over the knowledge of the experienced.
in a country without war, people find danger in their neighbors, see threats in the disenfranchised and in the helpless.
In a country where anyone is free to practice any religion, people find threats to their own religion in the practice of other religions, or in the non religious.
In the richest nation in the world, people feel threatened by the loss of the scraps the poor consume just to get by.
In a country where we’re working toward racial/gender equality, people perceive the equal rights of others as a threat to their own rights.
Take a step back. The things people find threats in are often the things preventing real danger.