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Meme Update #9

In this Issue:



Dr. Howard Bloom, author of the excellent book "The Lucifer Principle," has, along with a rather illustrious group of colleagues, founded a new science called paleopsychology. The aim? To discover the biological origin of memes. Bloom begins by postulating two different kinds of (proto-) memes, each stemming from one of the two kinds of biological "memory" organisms have. Participants in the discussion are rekindling the smoldering debate over units of selection in evolution. Is the selfish gene really the last word, or are the theories of individual and even group selection being found more useful?

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A Zen Romance
by Deborah Boliver Boehm
$25, Kodansha, 1996
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OK, so this book is REALLY tangentially related to memetics (read: not at all), but it is written so richly, and about a subject so near to my heart, that once again I will risk incurring the wrath of the academic memeticists by dragging Zen into the Meme Update. The warmth of the descriptive language Boehm uses when chronicling her years as a college student in Japan is enough to make this book something to savor. A true writer, she details how her personal metamorphosis -- intellectual, spiritual, and sexual -- takes place in and out of the Zen monastery she lives beside. Each page of this beautifully bound Japanese-published book is filled with words as beautiful as the cloth cover in this rare woman's view of Zen.

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