Self-Policing Memes

(This article was adapted from something I wrote on the Facebook Consciousness group.)

I currently live in the USA. In alphabetic order, here are some things we're often taught here:

— Advertising merely imparts information
— Anybody can become wealthy if they just try
— Drugs are bad unless sold by certain corporations
— Eating cows is good; eating dogs is bad
— Happiness is something we must “pursue”
— If you're unhappy it's entirely your fault
— Money is one of the primary keys to life
— News organizations report all issues that matter
— People will judge you by your clothing/car/spouse
— Politics isn't really as corrupt as it may seem
— Reality shows on TV depict reality
— Sadness is weakness
— Some countries are evil because they're evil
— Women should cover their breasts
— You're free if you believe it earnestly enough
— You can eat your way to happiness

If that list seems to lack a consistent theme it's because we're taught to self-police our thoughts and feelings by processes that are competing for mind-share:

Religion versus science vs politics vs money vs entrepreneurship vs philosophy vs fear vs patriotism vs parents vs grandparents vs teachers vs media vs corporations versus ...

As the internet repeatedly demonstrates, many people find it far easier, and more comforting, to imagine that the world is guided by a secret cabal of super-villains, rather than the randomness that actually directs us.

Conspiracy theorists please take note. (Who am I kidding?)

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