Introduction 00
Journey to Elsewhen 01
The View from in Here 02
Outside Looking In 03
In the Blindspot of the Mind's Eye 04
The Hound of Silence 05
The Future Is Now 06
Time Bombs 07
Paradise Glossed 08
Immune to Reality 09
Once Bitten 10
Reporting Live from Tomorrow 11
Afterword 12

Printable Version

Reporting Live from Tomorrow
If we don't learn from our own experience, can we learn from the experience of others? In Chapter 11, I claim that (a) we learn a lot from others, and a lot of what we learn is wrong, and (b) we don't learn much from others and much of what we don't learn is right. It sounds like I'm having it both ways, doesn't it? In fact, as I explain in this chapter, these two claims are not contradictory.

Psychologist Susan Blackmore describes the science of memes, which provides a way to think about how ideas (e.g., ideas about happiness) are transmitted from one human mind to another. One of the ideas that people transmit is that happiness comes from material wealth, and the economist Robert Frank explodes that myth. Sort of.

Should we or should we not attempt to debunk the myths that hold societies together but that reduce individual happiness?

S. Blackmore, "The Origin of Language" and "Meme-Gene Coevolution" in The Meme Machine(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 82-107.

R.H. Frank, "How Not to Buy Happiness," Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 133, 69-79.