Evolution works through a process of trying myriad combinations of elements, with the combinations that have been the most successful — in the current environment — being replicated, mixed with other successful combinations, and used for future experiments with slightly different combinations. There will naturally always be imperfections, since there is always change and experimentation happening, and since the environment continues to change, while there is also always constant movement towards better and better combinations for the current environment.
And, just as individual living things such as the humble human are part of the process of evolution, so too are individual cultures evolving. Cultures evolve through a process of using different combinations of elements, and then the sets that are most successful in their time are copied and mixed with other successful cultures so that they are changed just slightly before being passed onto the next generation.
Cultures are what I call xemes. They are the global network version of genes, passing on information about how to do things to the future of life. They are a level more complex than memes. A meme is one-to-many information dissemination, while a xeme is a many-to-many form of information sharing, with both of them being on the ideological level of communication, when compared to the more biological level of communication of genes (via DNA) and emotions (via RNA/epigenetics, maybe?).
And right now, if you follow the cutting edge of the world news, you can really see this cultural procreation and evolution process happening in full on 3D sensurround. Eastern cultures blending with Western cultures. Technogeek cultures mixing with Back-to-the-lander-Permaculture. Work cultures mixing with play cultures.
Science and business cultures mixing with art and spirituality cultures.
It’s an exciting time of ideological creation! And I can’t wait to see what the next generation of cultures grows into…