Monday, July 14, 2014

Idea for a play about conflicts between genetic and memetic ways of seeing things

I had a dream about interviewing different convalescent homes to decide which I would choose to be sent to at the time I could no longer make it on my own. The reaction of the people I was interviewing was confusion and misunderstanding because they didn't understand the question I was trying to answer. How do I choose where I should go after I have lost the ability to make a "reasonable" choice? What is a  "reasonable" choice? Is there a universally accepted definition of a "reasonable" choice?

The survival of an organization depends on its ability to foresee the consequences of its choices (assuming choice is important). What happens when the choices of the independent parts of an organization are at conflict with the survival of the organization?

For example, the human species has made a fundamental break with billions of years of evolution by encouraging the survival of memes. Up until the commitment to memes, genes were the main drivers of evolution and survival.

Write a play which shows how an individual's choice is not in the best interest of the organization and explore how a genetic organization might deal with such a conflict versus how a memetic organization might deal with the conflict.

Ideas for subject matter of the play: How do I deal with the deterioration of my own ability to make choices? What if there were a society that had a test for the society's choice on supporting the survival of an individual? The society puts the individual into a room and tells them they have one of two choices: push one button to kill oneself or push another button to kill one hundred children. What does the individual do? If they choose to kill the one hundred children, the society withdraws all (and I mean all) support towards the survival of the individual. If the individual chooses to kill him/herself, then support is not withdrawn. If the individual refuses to choose, then support is not withdrawn.

"People don't choose to go into this room because the have a good reason. They go in because they have lost the ability to reason."

If I cannot reason, am I still human? Is the definition of being human based on "making choices based on consequences"? If I can no longer make choices, how should I be treated? What kind of freedoms should I be allowed? Perhaps an example that I can understand is how I treat animals, like dogs and cats, who are no longer wanted. The process of the "death row" of a pound might be an example of how we deal with such choices as an organization.

The problem is I will not know it is time for me to go at the time it is to go, because the time to go depends on how well I can see the consequences of my choices and how much I am committed to the survival of the organization (a meme) versus my own survival.

Another source of possible ideas is how have we dealt with the choice of my survival versus the survival of my children (genetic survival). Would I die to save the life of my child? As long as I might have more children, I might be able to justify my own survival over my child's. This is a classical choice, one we have been coping with since "the system's" success at perceiving the survival of the gene versus survival of the individual.

How does our dependence on independence resolve these conflicts? How slowly the organization changes to reflect the learning of poor choices through the observation of consequences! Look at the conflicts that arise from the meme of "individuals have the right to make their own choices" and the meme "survival of the species".

The acceptance of the meme "life is an illusion" is not prescriptive, yet it most certainly affects the chances of survival, one way or the other. Interesting how "enlightenment" still leads to the choice of "living on the mountain" or "returning to teach enlightenment". What is the process of making that choice?

Survival is attachment to existence. Does Buddhism survive the extinction of all life? Certainly the concept, the meme of Buddhism survives, but who is left to care? The irony of Buddhism is that Buddhism reflects the very "one-ness" of the universe with the concept of detachment. Who can argue with the statement that the universe "is"? The value to me of the meme "Buddhism" is its ability to reveal the weaknesses of my own experience versus the experiences of others, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral. With Buddhism, I must  still decide on what choices I will make, which may still require me to have some process for evaluating the different consequences of my choices. The value of Buddhism is being able to see those choices and consequences from a larger perspective, which allows me to make choices that have "better" consequences for that part of the universe that is not me.

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