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The Evolving Self Chapter 5 Discussion: Memes Versus Genes | Flow Book Club
12th May 2022 • Travel Whys • K. Joia Houheneka at Delve Travel
00:00:00 01:27:24

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Join us as we continue with our exploration of flow, reading Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow sequel: The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium (1993).

In the introduction, MC points out “ is difficult to build a happy life by the simple addition of a series of flow experiences. The whole in this case is definitely more than the sum of its parts”. Beyond just a number of flow experiences, what is needed is “…a system of meanings that gives purpose to one’s being”.

MC explains, “Flow ended with the proposition that by understanding better our evolutionary past we might generate the grounds for a viable meaning system, a faith that can give order and purpose to our lives in the future. To know ourselves is the greatest achievement of our species. And to understand ourselves – what we are made of, what motives drive us, and what goals we dream of – involves first of all our evolutionary past. Only on this foundation can we build a stable, meaningful future.” That is the project of this book.

Chapter 5: Memes Versus Genes

This is the final chapter for Part I “The Lure of the Past” – starting in the next discussion we’ll be turning our attention to what we can control for the future. To summarize thus far, as MC describes, “… many of the greatest dangers on the path to the future are the result of previous adaptive successes: the organization of the brain, the emergence of a primitive self, the genetic instructions that helped us survive through past millennia, and the competition with other people…” Now in this chapter we focus on one final potential danger: “the threat of the artifacts we have created to make our lives more comfortable”. In other words, the danger of memes.

Topics: “The Competition of Memes” “Memes and Addiction” “Memes and Media” “The Competition of Ideas” “Memes and Materialism”


“Ask Me Why” by Matthew Billman and K. Joia Houheneka

This discussion is done in partnership with the Meetup group 52 Living Ideas.

Join us for more episodes of the Travel Whys podcast as we explore travel, continuous learning, and the psychology of flow.

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