The 4th Humour
uninfluential words from an uninfluenced man
Bile humour Apathetic hemetic Fluent indifferent Emetic Phlegmatic

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Friday, June 20, 2003
Life Without Hope

The NPC Theory is merely selfish meme theory projected onto the ignorantly blissful background of subjective free will.

However, don't confuse genes and memes. The memes are not working for the genes. Genes want to get replicated. Memes want to get replicated. The genes did not "know" that memes would take off and replicate themselves when they gave rise to brains large enough to handle them. Genes require the human host to survive long enough to reproduce...a rather long incubation period compared to memes, which only require weeks, hours, or even seconds to propagate. Therefore, memes are not "concerned" about the welfare of their human hosts...they may even end up destroying us.

How this all works into my theory is that Character is a measure of how much meme-interplay goes on inside a single mind before another meme is spit out of it. Information processing. It's not a measure of intelligence, and yes it's dependent on the genes that created the brain, but it's also dependent on all the other memes inside that brain.

All that is just a matter of chance. My brain was genetically predisposed to acquire certain memes, and accrual of those certain memes made me memetically predisposed to acquire others. This has formed a massive meme-complex, or "memeplex", in my mind, with a tremendous ability to survive based on its longevity (it has been in my mind for some time), fecundity (ability to be spread), and fidelity (it's very consistent and hard to break down).

This entire collection, this ultimate memeplex or even set of contradictory memeplexes (as evidenced by, say, Christian Scientists), is what we call the "self". We identify with this self because we are so familiar with it. We feel continuous merely because we are such awesome predictors of what our selves will do next, though sometimes we fail at it. We rationalize these failures with quips such as "I changed my mind," or "I was drunk."

The human brain acts before we are conscious of it. I can decide to snap my fingers, but my brain will "prepare" to snap before I finally make the "conscious" decision to snap. Athletes and martial artists often refer to "muscle memory", which is really just an affirmation that the body and brain will act before you're aware of it. This whole consciousness thing is merely an illusion brought about by the memes, an illusion that allows us to philosophize about ourselves, rationalize free will, and invent memeplexes such as religions and a sense of self to help us (and memes) survive.

The only "self" is the person here NOW. You did not exist 10 seconds ago, and the "you" of the future is not you. Your cells will change, your DNA will mutate, your synapses will fire in different patterns, your brain proteins will store different information, and your memes will be competing in different ways.

Consciousness regarding your past, current, and future selves is often depressing, and the illusion of free will often instills feelings of responsibility and grief. People are happiest when they are not grieving over the past or worrying about the future (too much). A doctor in surgery, a musician in "flow", a zen master, and a Wolf player in the zone all have the same thing in common: They are in their least-conscious state, and at their happiest.

So eliminate your consciousness. Don't spread those memes. Empty your mind, get it some zen. Eliminate your inner conflict, those competing memes, and find a consistent, if temporal, "self".

It is possible to live a life without hope.