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As mentioned in section Social Evolution, the metasystem transition leading to human
psychology and society also results in the emergence of a completely new
level for the application of variation and selection, and of evolution itself, that of
memetics and human culture. This is a turning point in the history of the
world: the era of Reason begins. The human individual becomes a point of
concentration of Cosmic Creativity. With the new mechanism of evolution,
its rate increases manifold.
One of the implications of that transition concerns the interpretation of
survival. In natural selection, the source of variation is the mutation
of the gene; nature creates by experimenting on genes and seeing what kinds
of bodies they produce. Therefore, nature has to destroy older creations
in order to make room for the newer ones. In biological evolution survival
means essentially survival of the genes, not so much survival of the
individuals. With the exception of species extinction, we
may say that genes are effectively immortal: it does not matter that an
individual dies, as long as his genes persist in its offspring.
In socio-cultural evolution, the role of genes is played by memes, embodied
in individual brains or social organizations, or stored in books, computers
and other knowledge media. Thus the creative core of human individual is
the engine of memetic evolution. In memetic evolution, memes must be
immortal. While the mortality of multicellular organisms is necessary for
biological evolution, it is no longer necessary for memetic evolution.
For the general purpose of evolution there is no more sense in killing
humans. At the present new stage of evolution, the evolution of human-made
culture, the human brain and its memetically based culture is the source of
creativity, not an object of experimentation. Its loss in death is
unjustifiable; it is an evolutionary absurdity. The immortality of human
beings is on the agenda of Cosmic Evolution.