"Meta-Memetic Thinking and Skepticism as a Meme"
An exercise in a course I developed consists in asking candidates who consider themselves sceptical to create a voodoo doll and add to it a picture representing the face of a loved one. They must perforate the doll using a needle. The majority of them refuse to take the test or manifest psychological frictions despite their awareness about the irrationality involved. An appropriate inquiry regarding scepticism is: what does it mean to be ‘sceptical thinkers’? Are we really sceptical thinkers? Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins coined the definition ‘memes’: a meme is an information that is copied from person/culture to person with variations but without a critical analysis and evaluation of it. Memetic thinking cares only about replicating itself while it does not examine the sound-validity or unsound-invalidity contained in memes. We can believe to be sceptical thinkers but perhaps this assumption can be memetic thinking. Regarding the mentioned experiment indeed; most candidates show how their idea of being critical and sceptical thinkers is more a memetic belief rather than a solidly rational cognitive quality, because another meme, (in this case the information concerning voodoo), can stop the process of rationalisation by awakening a dormant superstitious thinking. We can raise a few points and a proposition: -We all are affected by memes and think in such terms. -Evident memes are relatively easy to spot but what’s difficult is to decode hidden memes. -We can prove how even people who think to be sceptical often think in a manner which is not based on solid criticalness. -People are unaware about their memetic thinking and fallacious epistemic acceptances, condition called meta- ignorance (ignorance about ignorance). -People don't take this seriously while easily stick to memes. Like an anti-virus created against viruses can we also create meta-memes? A meta-meme is an intellectual instrument aimed to highlight the fallacious memes we come across with so to avoid their adoption, while it replicates a process of critical reasoning. Through a critical education, media, social initiatives, internet, we can raise meta-memes in form of questions, such as: -‘Can we think about our ideas without the thoughts that created such ideas?’ -‘Can we acknowledge that the interpretation is not the interpreted: the first is cognitive decoding, the second is reality’. Taking the meme of ‘religious freedom’ for example, the meta-meme, or ‘anti-meme’, would activate the understanding of how religious freedom isn’t a reasonable value because it implies freedom of indoctrination and anti-scientific thinking.