Whether an iDea Arises Uniquely
or Reappears Many Times..
it May Thrive or it May Dwindle and Vanish
Jacques Monod, the Parisian Biologist who shared a Nobel Prize in 1965 for Working out the Role of Messenger RNA in the Transfer of Genetic Information, proposed an Analogy:
“Just as the Biosphere Stands Above the World of Nonliving Matter, so an ‘Abstract Kingdom’ Rises Above the Biosphere.
The Denizens of this Kingdom? “iDeas”
“iDeas have Retained Some of the Properties of Organisms,” he wrote.
“Like them, they tend to Perpetuate their Structure and to Breed; they too can Fuse, Recombine, Segregate their Content; indeed they too can Evolve, and in this Evolution— Selection must surely Play an Important Role.”
iDeas have “Spreading Power,” he noted—“Infectivity, as it were”
—and Some More than Others.
An Example of an Infectious iDea might be a Religious Ideology
that Gains Sway Over a Large Group of People.
The American neurophysiologist Roger Sperry had put Forward a Similar Notion Several Years Earlier,
Arguing that iDeas are “Just as Real” as the Neurons they Inhabit.
iDeas have Power, he said:
“iDeas cause iDeas and Help Evolve new iDeas.”
iDeas Interact with Each Other and with other Mental Forces in the Same Brain,
in Neighboring Brains, and thanks to the Internet,
in Far Distant, Foreign Brains.
iDeas Interact with the External Surroundings
to Produce a Burst in Evolution . .
Far Beyond Anything to Hit the Evolutionary Scene Yet