© Copyright 2003, Sean Sinjin. All rights reserved. Edition 1.2
No part of this writing may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission of the author.
Meme, much like our perspective on reality, is an ever-evolving story. Be sure to visit us on the Internet at:
for revisions, as Meme continuously changes to reflect reality as accurately as possible.
Enter Glack the caveman. The following is a story about a very significant person in our history. He lived before all recorded time but his essence reverberates throughout humanity to this very day. Glack is the very first person to ever tell a lie. Glack and his son, Glack Jr. (they didn’t have a lot of syllables back then…), are just back from hunting. Black clouds roll in and soon there is a thunderstorm. Everyone fearfully runs for shelter and as the clan of cavepeople wait out the storm in the cave, Glack Jr. asks, “Father, why sky boom?” Glack is stunned. “Wow, that’s a really good question”, he thinks to himself. “Why, why, why…” his mind continuously polls his gray matter, searching for information that will suffice to answer the question, to please his child, which would please his own paternal instinct, and lessen his sleash tension by having better control over his environment. Unfortunately, all that his gray matter polling could come up with is rocks and the not so tasty parts of prey. He looks around; everyone is looking at him, waiting for this epic answer. Now his ego is yanking the sleash very hard! Oh no, if I don’t answer this question, I’ll lose viability as a mate…
And so, he lies.
“Son, sky entity angry”. Gasps and confusion from the crowd. Sky entity? Whoa! Nobody ever said anything about a sky entity before! Suddenly the whole clan is as terrified as it is intrigued. Glack’s ego releases some sleash tension, having delivered an answer demanding of respect. Whew, that was close.
Glack Jr., not to be swayed, asks, “Why sky entity angry?” Poor Glack, now that he has started lying, he can’t stop without considerable damage to his ego from the inevitable scorn of others should he admit to lying. But he also remembers the look in the others’ eyes when he did lie; it was awe and respect. Hmm, maybe this lying works better. He probes his mind for reasons that would cause anger, finds one that makes him especially angry, and so, he lies again: “Son, sky entity angry because we no share food with him”. More gasps from the crowd. Now everybody has questions, mostly out of fear because they have to know as much as possible about this sky entity in order to avoid angering it in the future. So Glack goes on lying all night, quite impressed with himself really, having won the awe, respect, and adoration of the whole clan with just a few mistruths. He can tell by the look in all the suitable females’ eyes that he has set a world record for alpha male status, for one who can provide safe recourse from the dangers of the world must surely have some special DNA.
What happens to the clan now? Now the H-Freak is much different, much more complicated. Now the clan ritualistically cooks food for the sky entity in the hope of appeasing its temper. Sometimes not cooking enough as evidenced by further storm activity; however, it doesn’t rain every day and so the offerings must be working at least somewhat.
Soon awareness of the sky entity’s bottomless hunger is passed on to every clan capable of communication. This passage of information is called “meme-flow”. Quite simply this means a tidbit of information that seems to match observations of reality, is passed on from member to member, and through time, until everyone knows about it. To continue our example…because of this widespread meme-flow and general acceptance of information, serious credibility is afforded it and pretty soon it is global ritual to offer food to the sky entity.
One day the clan leader from the west, Glacko, comes over to visit our clan in the east. Glack, seeing Glacko arrive, steps down from his throne, brushes aside his legion of followers, and he and Glacko embrace, for it has been an extended absence. Glack raises his hand, and addressing his legions, commands, “Prepare feast, or sun entity no visit tomorrow”. Everyone panics and in short order, a feast is prepared.
Later, Glack and Glacko are eating when Glacko asks, “Glack, why does sky entity food offering still have head attached? You make sky entity angry!” Glack is perplexed. He never said anything about having to remove the head from offerings? It seems some meme information changed as it traveled from person to person to eventually reach the western clans. There is bitter confusion and ultimately Glack and Glacko angrily part and over time they eventually separate into two distinct clans, one that keeps the head on the offering, one that doesn’t.
Now the reason this whole food offering ritual had gained any credibility whatsoever in the first place was that there wasn’t already a sufficient explanation for storm activity; and the great fear the storms brought, with their powerful displays of lightning and thunder, begged for some form of control over them. Glack’s mistruths fit the observable results to some degree and so those meme lies were easily incorporated into the H-Freak. Unfortunately, because of the inaccurate nature of meme flow, Glacko eventually got the revised version—which did, however, equally well fit the observations. When those two differing memes are brought together, one needing a head for a sacrifice, and one not, they immediately clash. Glack insists that his way must be right because his clan has been doing it that way for years with fairly good results. Glacko also insists his way must be right, having had the same results. Why didn’t one just give in? A few reasons: ego, fear, confusion, time-proven evidence, but all of that can be summed into “cognitive dissonance”.
Our minds simply cannot accept radical shifts in philosophy. It was such an overwhelming accomplishment to be able to somewhat control the sky entity with offerings (or so everyone believed, except Glack the liar) that to take chances with alternative methods might result in disastrous consequences. Nobody was willing to take any chances. To try to accept that they had been doing it wrong for all this time would bring their minds great pain for it would mean that they invested heavily into a false meme, also meaning they are prone to mistakes, which damages the ego, increasing the sleash tension, etc.—when they have been so sure for so long that what they were doing was right. It just can’t be possible that they are wrong.
Eventually the day comes when Glack dies, having been gored by a mammoth that wasn’t properly appeased with the sacred smoke from the clan’s burning grass offering; and with his death forever dies the truth, leaving the rest of his people to inherit his legacy of falsehoods that manages to at least somewhat make sense (however inaccurate) out of reality.
It is easy to understand why Glack chose to fabricate a conscious entity to bear the responsibility for the storms since within his limited intelligence he really didn’t have a lot of other plausible explanations to offer (lie about). He could only relate his conscious ability to move small things, to the ability of some much larger conscious entity to control the atmosphere. By associating the unknown with things that are better understood, such as an ethereal being that is capable of administrating the environment, he makes the process of storms “familiar”, the will of some great creature. His little fib, though, has sparked a phenomenal amount of chain-reaction fibs, and with his death, his legacy now needs a new leader. Glack Jr., having been the closest to the endless source of wisdom spewing from his father, immediately assumes the role of spokesperson for these great ethereal entities. It’s not all fun and games though; Glack Jr. is quickly hounded by his clan for answers to an endless plethora of questions. Glack Jr., not having his father’s true gift of affinity with the ethereal entities of the world, somehow has to add to the “truths” that his father started.
And so, he lies.
Lies, lies, lies. That’s how we all got started. Lies from one generation become truths in the next generation and those “beliefs” continued to evolve and grow. The existence of the differing and contradicting beliefs that eventually result, stems from the inability of our ancestors to accurately transfer these memes over great distances and time. Some information gets lost, some embellished, some newly created, and these beliefs continue to grow larger and larger into more complicated superstitions and faiths. This is the beginning of culture and religion, two very intertwined concepts. Culture can be described as the activities of the members of a society, whilst religion is the H-Freak’s perspective of the universe that dictates appropriate activities of the culture. As humankind’s intelligence continued to increase and we began to evolve out of the relatively simple hunter-gather societies, so did the complexity of these ill-premised beliefs increase, as did the degree of integration of these beliefs into daily rituals, inevitably resulting in the complex exercise of beliefs and rituals in the form of organized religions.
Over time, these ancient forms of religion become very complicated, with very elaborate and convoluted explanations for everything going on in the world. This is the result of the endless questions that arise because of the previous falsehoods that eventually took hold as “fact”. There are an incredible number of meme constructs that evolved into our cultures that were originally created to placate the egos of the continuous chain of liars. This cycle of lies keeps manifesting itself into such a big lie that it becomes inconceivable that it could all be false, having so much investment by so many people; the situation is further exacerbated by the development of complicated rituals and ceremonies to punctuate activities that serve the religion.
The complexity of these religious rituals and the associated terminology gives thy a false sense of authenticity and pushes followers into willing complacency due to the exasperation suffered in the futile attempt to surmount it all with reason. Various forms of tests of “faith” are established to press individuals into a deep conscious commitment to these religions, and completing these tests of faith results in a great sense of accomplishment, which is easily interpreted as a “divine” reward, confusing a manufactured victory with a perceived but fabricated ethereal communion with a god. It can’t possibly all be nonsense; or can it?
Soon enough, the religions start competing for members—the more members a religion has, the greater the power of the leaders, and ultimately the greater the ego placation of those leaders. Religions necessarily become very crafty and ulterior at recruiting and keeping members by playing upon the fears of the people. “How would you like to burn in the eternal fires below [this concept of fire below most definitely evolved from witnessing a volcanic eruption]; no? Well, then join our beliefs. Would you like to live forever? Join our beliefs. Never want to be alone again? Never feel alone with our beliefs”, and so on… The most successful religions over time evolved to perpetuate a constant state of fear, confusion, and denial for their members in order to become and remain powerful.
Please read “Meme” by Sean Sinjin