Saturday, December 14, 2019

Don't regard popularity as a measure of veracity


An opposite codicil to my post about meme theory is provided by author, publisher, teacher, and traveler Tim Ward. It was written in 2012 before social media had exerted its full authority; yet today his warning about the dangers of approval culture is more relevant than ever.
Thinking about it in meme terms, you could say that we humans tend to regard popularity as a measure of veracity. The more people believe a meme, the more easily it spreads through a population. Even though repetition is an inefficient way of learning, on a massive scale it works. You would think this would make people careful about what they expose themselves to. Instead our minds skip along innocently like Little Red Riding Hood in the forest. Think about how willingly people absorb misogynist rap songs, violent video games, pornography, hate radio, and a slew of other powerful memes.
Tim Ward has written about Buddhism, a teaching which offers tools for calming the contemporary monkey mind. The quote is taken from his book Zombies on Kilimanjaro which has been described as 'A high-altitude Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'. Which resonates with my own high-altitude explorations of inner landscapes. Musica Ficta directed by Raúl Mallavibarrena performing Tomás Luis de Victoria's sublime Requiem provides both an arresting header graphic and the post's veracious yet not wildly popular soundtrack.

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