Monday, July 14, 2014

The Role of the Epiphany in Meme Evolution

I had an epiphany! An epiphany about epiphanies, so a kind of meta-epiphany![1] I was lying in bed after a good night's sleep (and good sex), and an image floated through my brain: it was a sled run, a kind of bobsled run, though it was square-cut and made with dirty (sooty) snow. As I often am when allowed to sleep in after good sex[2], I was in a semi-dream state, which means I let the image run as my brain made up a story about the image. The story became a science fiction story (haven't written it, yet), and the wanderings of the story led to my epiphany about epiphanies:

          Epiphanies are to meme evolution as orgasms are to gene evolution.

Somewhere, sometime, a genetic "defect" led to the creation of a connection between my brain's pleasure center and the process of connecting clusters of neurons associated with "distant" concepts[3]. In other words, I get so much pleasure out of making new connections between previously unconnected ideas, that I engage in the activity on a regular basis, conceiving new ideas in a population explosion of memes!

This epiphany leads to a whole cascade of corollary epiphanies:

          Research is a form of foreplay.
          Collaborative research is a form of group sex.
          Conception can, and usually does, involve multiple contributors.
And the best part: As I get older, and my sex drive decreases, I can focus more of my pleasure center neural hardware on the conception of memes. What fun! But the real question is, [taking long draw on cancer stick], "Was it good for you?"


[1] For some fun reading, search for "epiphany" on the internet and read about ego-maniacs, like me, and claims of "my epiphany is bigger than yours." This is just more evidence of the role of "the feeling one gets from an epiphany" as a motivator for the conception of memes through the neural pleasure achieved during the creation process of epiphanies.

[2] Hypothesis: Epiphanies occur more than expected by chance on "days of rest" in the work cycle. For example, in Christian-tradition work-week cultures, epiphanies occur (more than expected by chance) on Sunday mornings (or afternoons, depending on the timing of arousal and awakening), unless the person having the epiphany is single or goes to church. And other cultures the tradition of a "day of rest and/or worship" would produce a greater than expected number of epiphanies. I wonder if "sabbaticals" actually produce more epiphanies?

[3] I haven't researched the research on epiphanies, but my own experience (and feeble knowledge of how my brain works) is that epiphanies occur when my brain is well rested (neurons are fully charged due to inactivity), brain activity is minimal (semi-consciousness is helpful), and wandering is tolerated (undirected or semi-directed firing of neural sequences). These conditions allow clusters of neurons associated with "distant" concepts to make contact with one another, and triggering an avalanche of neural activity, which stimulates the pleasure center, resulting in an epiphany orgasm.