Friday, February 29, 2008

Memetic Transmission

Our human ancestors traversed the Earth searching for food, shelter and water and in doing so began to settle in groups (composed mainly of relatives and allies), in large part, for protection and security from other groups. From a social point of view, our ancestors created and proliferated memes or ideas that were important to follow in their time. During the time of early humans it was their five senses that enabled them to maintain their health, security, and group cooperation. In order to find nourishment and strength, our ancestors had to use all five senses in concert to determine what was edible, digestable, and of course palatable. At that time, they were not too worried about the amount of fat, carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins in their food, but they did eat what they felt gave them more energy, stamina, and hydration since there was not always an over abundance of food available. This ensured that they could eat in moderation so that there was enough to go around and that they could heal properly and swiftly so as to not prolong their weakness. Although they did not recognize it at the time, they were finding ways to strengthen their immune systems in order to fight sickness caused by bacteria and viruses and to maintain their health. Moreover, security was a major factor that influenced early humans to form groups and maintain cooperation in order to venge against enemies looking for food, a place to settle, and in some cases women to join their group. So perhaps another important meme was mating outside of the group in order to add diversity to a particular group. At the time, these early humans did not know that they were, in turn, expanding their genetic diversity by mating with someone outside of the group. But, it was their senses like touch and sight that helped them to determine that there was a need to add outsiders to their packs. Their inherent sexual insticts for a non-relative helped them to diversify and grow their tribes.

The use of their five senses helped early humans to use logic in their behaviours and actions. As time passed, existing memes were strengthened and new memes were created that sometimes replaced existing memes (memetic competition). Much archeological evidence shows that early humans crafted different tools and objects out of rocks and bones for security, hunting, and ornamental purposes. The creations can be seen to have happened all over the world at around the same time during the time of the early humans. A meme, governing these creations, had spread all over the world by humans because it was so important for protection, food, and leisure. Leisure was important since it satisfied the senses the way food and shelter did. It allowed early humans to play with their logic skills which, in turn, improved their reasoning skills, although they did not realize this at the time. It offered a means of inventing new things from old creations. For example the creation of a sharp rock knife may have enabled the creation of a flute from carving a piece of wood. And from this could have resulted the creation of carved stone sculptures or jewelery. The use of their logic helped humans to further their knowledge of their surroundings and this gave rise to new and more complex memes, some of which had evolved from existing memes. Some of these more complex memes include livestock hearding and agriculture, from the meme of food security and wealth, and wearing clothing in order to maitain hygeine to protect from harmful bacteria and viruses (from the memes of good health and longevity).

In today's modern societies there are an overwhelming number of memes that are built on older memes from the time of the earliest humans. Our logic and reasoning skills that are governed by our senses and ultimately our brains have been improved over tens of thousands of years that today we live in a world of countless creations. We thrive on new discoveries, not only based on our surroundings and lifestyles, but on the nature of the universe. These new discoveries enable today's humans all over the world to expand their knowledge of life and the universe further improving our logic and reasoning skills. The difference today is that we are capable of being fully aware of how we impact ourselves, each other, and our future. We now have the ability to weed out such memes like the belief in God that no longer apply in this modern day. This meme, that was established in order to maintain group loyalty and cooperation long ago, is no longer necessary in a time of democratic influence and social justice. With all that we know today, we can have contol of how our future will be. However, with the long-lasting meme of religion among today's societies, we have a tremendous obstacle to overcome in order to establish a safe and prosperous future for humans.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Miscommunication in the business world as a result of our modern desires

I feel like I can't count on anyone or anything these days. Just when I think that a particular service actually cares about customer satisfaction or that a business person cares about professionalism I run into some sort of obstacle that causes extra costs and delays. When I think about it more I realize that the problem is miscommunication. I have learned over time from experience that it's always necessary to prepare a plan of action before purchasing a service or product because there will most likely be a miscommunication problem along the way. But, even with a plan of action you can never be too sure if the servicer understands you completely. Most likely, that person will miss something that you asked for or specified and there seems to be many reasons for this. One of the main reasons, I find, is that they are so disinterested in your case or need that they sometimes remain preoccupied about their own experiences or problems. There is a sense of ignorance that is radiated when the servicer has to ask twice about something that you already specified cleary, or so you thought.

The reason why I hire a service or buy a product from a business is because I cannot perform the service task myself, like replacing a broken toilet, or I require something that I have to purchase, like a washing machine. It sounds pretty straightforward, and it should since you are paying for it. But the truth is, it's not straightforward at all. To replace a broken toilet means that you have to hire a reliable and honest plumber and if you don't know a plumber there is a chance that costs may be considerably higher and that you will end up with the wrong type of toilet (yes, there are many different types and models). The annoyance of always paying more and waiting longer than expected escalates with the more customer/client experiences you have. The fact is customer service has broken down tremendously and product quality has become worse. And the bigger the city you live in, the worse customer service is. Customer satisfaction is no longer a guarantee since many, if not all, products are made in China or India. Service representatives and business owners remain preoccupied because they either are speaking to you from a different country and cannot properly understand you as with the former example or they have more important clients like friends and regular clients that they will show disinterest and misunderstand your explanation and requirements. As well, I find that in many instances with service contracters/technicians, they fail to ask the right questions and give proper instructions that, in the end, cause delays and extra costs. It's always this way.

Where have the ways of professionalism and respect gone? Even when the servicer is being treated with respect they will choose to be ignorant and impatient. Don't they wonder about the reputation of their business? Some do. They are usually small businesses that thrive in smaller communities and care more about their reputations. But, in many cases you end up dealing with some sort of problem, for instance, with the product you have purchased from any business.

The reality is that today's modern societies indulge in new products and programs whether technological or not. Each individual has a personal agenda that they like to follow through on. Their desires govern their actions and the consequences are left up to luck or perhaps a 'miracle'. Errors result in the end perhaps because desicions are not thought through properly all the time which, in turn, causes more delays and additional costs to a customer. Reputations are damaged because people may not realize that they are making poor desicions and errors in judgement. Their indulgence in new things causes them to over-indulge in their thoughts. Their thoughts are clouded by nothing more than desires ranging from icecream to American Idol. We're all more or less guilty of that. But, when it enters the service sector it effects communication between people. Professionalism and respectfulness in the business world have degraded creating an open arena of distrust and miscommunication between community members.

Who is to blame? I cannot speak for everyone on the customer end who requires a service or product because I do not know the extent of effort that each person puts into making the task easy for themselves. But, in my opinion I do believe that much of the blame lies in the structure and operation of all businesses, large and small. There is a clear attraction to manufacture or buy cheap products and sell a cheap service that ends up being unreliable and difficult to communicate to and understand. The modern business motto seems to be that once you sell it, it's the customer's problem. There's almost always a warranty, but the reliability in products and services has diminished and the customer is encouraged to pay more for an 'improved' product or 'gold' warranty plan for more reliability.

The end result is that people end up spending more money on products and services and, in turn, adapt to indulging in buying things. These desires cloud their minds and this indirectly effects professionalism and respectfulness in the business world today. I believe this. To go even further, since people are encouraged to buy new things in the modern world the old things are thrown away if not recycled. This creates accumulation of waste that cannot biodegrade and this negatively effects the environment. Therefore, I believe that people all over the world need to think less about desires of things, music, food, TV, God etc. and more about love, life, democracy, justice, and truth. This way we can all be respectful of each other and show care to one another in the economic, environmental, and social spheres.

Religious People

What exactly makes a good person? People who believe in God will say that a nice person follows a set of morals that are based on their religion and that makes them a good person. These morals help a religious person make decisions and act respectfully to others. But, does one have to believe in God in order to be a nice and good person? I don't believe so at all. I believe that to be a good person one cannot believe in God because to be a truly good person is to understand the laws of the universe and see the beauty in life and nature.

Religious people believe in immortality and life after death. They do not feel such pride and confidence in their own lives because they believe that the after-life is where they will find true beauty and goodness. Why would a religious person be honest and respectful to others and nature in their mortal life if they know that they will live forever in a much happier place? Perhaps, they feel that in order to make it to that happier place they call heaven they will first be required to answer to God. So, is the reason why religious people feel that they are good people because they want to live forever in heaven? If heaven is their fixation, then all religious people should try to act morally and in turn be a good person. But, this is really not the case at all since our history has been painted by holy wars and religious dictatorships. In many cases religious fundamentalists have acted immorally but still believed that they will go to heaven, such as Islamic suicide bombers and their teachers as well as rapist Catholic priests.

Where do religious people get their moral base that they say they follow in order to be a good person? What exactly is it to be a moral person? I don't think religious people really know what moral reasoning they follow at all. I think that when it comes down to it they feel that as long as they believe in God their soul within them will guide them to be a good and moral person. So, religious people believe then that their moral compass comes packaged for them directly from God in the form of a soul (kind of like anticipating a Christmas present from Santa because you've been good). They believe that God has given them a chance at immortality by giving them a soul and their soul guides them to be a good person so that they can reach 'eternal bliss'. So then there really is no set of morals that religious people follow, although they say there is. Rather, it's God that is driving them to be good through the gift of a soul. That sounds like religious people feel less responsible for their actions since it is God that is guiding them to act in that way. If that's the case it does kind of make sense why Islamic suicide bombers will die for God-- they feel that it is God's power that is driving them to death. But, what about all the innocent people that they kill as well-- has God given the suicide bomber permission to kill those people because they too should die for God? Would these innocent people agree? What about the teachers of these suicide bombers-- have they too been given permission by God to tell others to kill people in the name of God? How does one obtain the status of gaining permission from God to kill other people? It sounds like a pretend game conceived by believers in God. Did God tell George Bush that it's okay to kill innocent people? I guess he believes so or he is playing the pretend game to gain support from the religious community to act in his own self-interest. This is a familiar game strategy among televangelicals, government leaders, and high status Catholics like the Pope himself. To them, religious people are fools that don't really understand what goodness is but rather that as long as religious people believe that they are good in the name of God then they will remain foolish and foolish people are less likely to initiate a revolt.

So as long as foolish people believe that their gift of a soul makes them a good person then there is little need for them to take full responsibility for their actions because their actions are guided and governed by God. And since God is all-knowing, their decisions are automatically given the status of being wise and logical. Religious people believe that because they believe in and pray to God that their soul provides them with a moral compass which makes them good people. There is no other way to be as good. But these so called good people are considered fools by the 'pretenders' and are being taken advantage of because of their believe in God. I'd like to know if they recognize that their own selfish belief in God and their good soul are influencing others to take advantage of them in order to perpetuate wars and exacerbate greed. In turn, to believe in God is to support those religious fanatics to maintain and act on their belief in God and give strength and power to the 'pretenders' like George Bush to wreak havoc around the world against rivals for their own selfish desires.


I'm finally here on this beautiful island,
the breeze is constant and the sun so brilliant.
The trees are so green and lush,
where the birds perch to sing in harmony.
I wish I had known about this place sooner
but it's not so easy when you're in a cold place.

Curacao is a gem in the sea,
a land that is inviting to all.
Although the island is far from home
it feels like I am at home.

The love for this island is strong,
love for nature and the people.
There is a different lifestyle here
that is slow-paced and easy-going.
Why isn't life like this everywhere?

I want to live here forever
because I want this life for me.
I want this life for my children
so that they can share the love
for this one-of-a-kind place.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Mythical Belief

I wonder sometimes what it is to believe in a mythical belief like the belief in God. I believe that this is a mythical belief because it has been constructed and edited over many years by us, human beings, just like many other mythical beliefs like the story of Mother Goose and of Loch Ness.
So what is it exactly to believe in a mythical belief like the belief in God? Many will tell you that it is down right true and that they hear the words of God on a daily basis. But, what about those groups of people that believe that they have, on many occasions, seen the Loch Ness Monster and have pictures to show for it? Are these pictures real and are their accounts true? It is very unlikely since the evidence to suggest that there is or ever was a Loch Ness Monster is non-existent. The same is true for the existence of God and for all of those accounts of ever seeing or talking to it. There is no experimental evidence to prove that there is a God. The many published articles that claim to present any evidence that there is a God have proven to be fraudulent and completely unscientific.

Now, isn't it the same to say that I have a belief in something that helps me too? Surely there is no difference between my belief and the belief in God. What I believe is that I as well as each and everyone on this Earth has a special greenhouse next to their home. Depending on the maintenance and care of the greenhouse some can be normal-looking and other can be totally invisible. This greenhouse is special because within it grows many different species of grass that, when used properly, can help someone. For example, if I was thirsty I could go to my greenhouse, pick a thick and wide blade of species of grass, blow on it until the right note is reached, and "presto" I am rehydrated again! Other pieces of grass can help you regain your strength, help you feel less tired, and help you feel happy. All I have to do is believe that this magical greenhouse is real and it will always be there for me when I need help. So this is my belief. What do you think of it? To many it may sound far-fetched and a little childish. But, what is the difference between my belief in this special greenhouse and the belief in God? Right, there is no difference because they are both mythical beliefs. They both sound far-fetched and childish because there is no evidence to support either case. The Word of God is also not evidence since it comes merely from other fellow human beings of long ago in the form of a book. The Word is actually opinions and fiction constructed by other human beings. The brilliance of Shakespeare's literature came from his own opinions which he used to construct fictional stories. But, I would much rather believe that the story of Romeo and Juliet were true over the story of God. It just sounds more realistic.

So how have people for so many generations maintained their strong belief in God when there are and have been so many other mythical beliefs that are more intruging and mysterious? The magical powers of Harry Potter are quite mysterious-- where does he get his power?, why are his powers stronger than others his age? After all, the mythical belief in God is so outdated and so 1st century. Why has this mythical belief been so popular for so long that even today the majority of the world's population believe in it?

Many people are told and pressured to believe in this mythical belief in God. They are influenced by their families and community to adhere to these beliefs without wholly questioning it. To question the belief in God is to offend and disrespect God and the rest of the community. Why aren't these rules and authority placed on other mythical beliefs like my belief in the magical greenhouse? Why does the mythical belief in God deserve the pleasure of enforcing authority and pressure to believe on human beings? Why do leaders within the realm of religious belief have the authority to pressure human beings to believe in the mythical belief in God? The reason why I pose these questions is to emphasize that to say that the mythical belief in God is an authority on human beings is selfish and egotistical. The belief in God is no more deserving of authority and truth than my belief in the magical greenhouse. Since my belief in the magical greenhouse is mythical so is the belief in God and so both beliefs are completely undeserving of any authoritative influence on human beings.

So, why are so many people wanting to find truth in this mythical belief in God? I'm compelled to believe that it is selfishness, solely because when asked about it, a religious person will tell you that they have a special relationship with God where God is there with them during prayer. Each religious person does not need to know how others interact with God but only that everyone is providing love and worship to this God. This is selfishness because religious people are directly imposing their own vision and idea of God onto their mythical belief in God. This makes a religious person feel that their mythical belief in God is real. But, what it actually does is make their belief in God more like their belief in themselves. So, in turn, they believe that they are God-- a mind-game that they are regularly playing on themselves. This is why religious people believe that humans have souls. These souls represent their God in them which is selfish and egotistical.

Essentially what religious human beings have done on their own is changed a mythical belief in God into something far from a mythical belief-- a false fact. If this isn't selfishness, I don't know what is.