Flak, one of my favorite online magazines, has an interesting piece on memes with an accessible explanation of the concept.
I was discussing immortality with a friend of mine a long time ago. At the time, I felt that I never wanted kids. My position, as I related it that night, was this: Kids are an attempt at immortality, a genetic permanence that will resonate after your death. Everyone came from someone, and we are all the standard bearers of our ancestors ? our eyes, our smile, our cancer are all echoes of ancient patterns set a long time ago. This is a way to live forever. Children.
If this is an acceptable assertion, then there are other ways of achieving permanence. Memes. Thought ancestors. Someone thought of the wheel. That person lives forever. Someone painted “Starry Night.” He lives forever. Concepts that propagate, live on in others minds, passing down into new generations, mutating into contact lenses, orthodontics and cancer medicine, all echoes of ancient patterns set a long time ago. This is a way to live forever.
How are you going to live forever?