If you’re reading this and you’re one of us, this is your evolutionary history. Your recent ancestors passed through the narrowest evolutionary bottleneck our species has yet survived. Somehow, despite extreme environmental pressure, the genes in your lineage didn’t go extinct and weren’t forced to mutate to form a new species. It was your memes that were altered, those elusive cultural DNA code snippets responsible for the reproduction of human social behavior. In other words, your existence is the product of successful memetic engineering.
If you’re reading this and you’re not one of us, chances are you’re one of the last mutant zombie soldiers that have just crushed our tribe to enslave and colonize us. If we’re lucky, you’re an alien anthropologist studying our remains long after we migrated. In either case, I hope you enjoy the story of how we survived and transcended patriarchy…
Back to meme theory, we’re all very similar genetically as a species despite variations on the surface, and we have been for about 200,000 years. However what really makes us different is the distinct cultures that we evolve. Cultures rise and fall in waves, adapt, disperse, or go extinct, just like populations of species.
The main difference between genes and memes is that unlike the failed attempts to mechanically re-engineer our genes in the early 21st century, we all have the innate capacity to successfully re-engineer our memes. For 99% of human history, cultural evolution was like a memetic art form. It’s canvas was our nomadic egalitarian hunting and gathering tribes and it’s pallet was an array of diverse myths, songs, dances, stories, clothes, piercings, tattoos, baskets, pottery, etc.
It was only within less than one percent of recent human history that the model for human society devolved into utter destructive chaos and the dominant meme sequence began to encode the monstrosity we called patriarchy. It was simply the loss of balance between masculine and feminine energy. Humans had successfully flattened the primate dominance hierarchy for hundreds of thousands of years, then suddenly the violent urge to control overtook the gentle urge to create. This cancerous mutation swept the globe in just a few thousand years and viciously destroyed almost all remnants of the pre-existing “partnership” societies, replacing them with “dominator” societies.
In these dark millennia, the memetic art form lost its innocence and stopped reflecting plants, animals, the earth, the sun, and the stars. The canvas became toxic crowded cities, and its pallet was a sludge of anthropocentric, narcissistic, violent, misogynistic, xenophobic, and materialistic religions, education systems, and mass media.
Humanity’s identity was once defined by peering out through the window of a tribal consciousness deeply embedded in the wild landscape. But recently a few cultures began looking only at themselves in a citified mirror of vanity. Ever more alienated from the planet and the cosmos, they justified the domestication and destruction of all in their imperial path towards ego-aggrandizement. Every ruler tried to build the tallest sand castle. Ironically every ruler was eventually swallowed by the desert sands they made of their once lush and fertile lands.
This monstrous memetic mutation caused the 6th mass extinction of life on earth, and almost wiped out all of humanity in the process.
The very fact of your life was made possible by a resistant subcultural evolutionary mutation that took place near the end of civilization. Thanks to the work of feminist anthropologists, the dominant paradigm began to crack and was eventually shattered, at least among some of our neo-tribes. It was the rediscovery of ancient goddess worshipping cultures, the ethnographies of the last living egalitarian societies, and the study of the diversity of sexual politics in primates that gave us hope and empowered our rejection of the myth of male dominion over all life.
According to the dominators narrative of human evolution, we should feel lucky to have been civilized under the omnipotent hand of god and his chosen men. We should feel honored to have been “saved” lest we remain heathen savages, wild, naked, and unaware of the profit potential of the land, timber, minerals, livestock, and labor we cared not to exploit for private gain.
When that was the only narrative we knew, we had no choice but to march forward into paternal progress. In the schools of modernity we were taught that life before civilization was “nasty, brutish, and short.” Yet it was soon discovered that in fact the truth is quite the opposite. A new intellectual meme wave began to form; some called it primitivism, neo-tribalism, or the archaic revival.
The great lie was that life in cities ruled by elite men was superior to the equality and anarchy of life in the wild. Our research was able to subvert this lie and social movements began to grow. While some of us dreamed of insurrectionary glory, civilization didn’t last long enough for us to train our troops to fight it. It fell right on top of us.
Amidst the post-apocalyptic world devastated by plague and warfare and ruled by warlords and their militarized zombie soldier hordes, a few of us maintained strong holds of peace, equality, and autonomy. We became information stewards of the “herstory” of patriarchy so as to ensure our decedents would never temp fate again. What was once the harsh oppressive reality of male dominance became a ghost story strategically used to keep the excesses of ego in check.
We survived, and so did our now sacred texts, barely. The wave of unregulated patriarchal domination was more lethal than the plague. When the state existed, it bred the monstrosity in captivity and spent vast amounts of time, money, and energy trying to harness and train its ferocity to serve corporate fascist ends. Without a cage and a trainer, this tortured beast was even more fearsome. Luckily the worst of it only lasted as long as the bullet supply. Weapons technology regressed over time. They pulled out mortars and muskets from museums, they bred horses and built chariots, they didn’t stop until the last sharp object was dulled on human bone.
Retreat into the badlands has been the only strategy for cultural survival since the dawn of civilization. Thankfully with the knowledge of permaculture, we could terraform any bad land into an edible paradise in a decade with a cart full of seeds and stock, and a bit of rain.
I can’t believe it myself, that we were so successful. In my early years as a scholar, it was all considered a utopian pipe dream. The “realists” laughed at all the eco-topians. Indigenous traditionalists pounding drums and fighting to reclaim their lands and ways of life; hippie communes strumming acoustic guitars and praying for peace; psychedelic trance dancers flailing inside a collective hallucination nested within the benevolent consciousness of the earth mothership, downloading third-eye visions of extra-dimensional technologically advanced alien crystal cities that had long ago transcended patriarchy, the inhabitants of which appearing anxious to mentor us; peace punks moshing away the concrete and planting permaculture food forest gardens. Who would have thought, we’d crawl out of the rubble and rise from the ashes.
At the peak of the empire’s prowess, like the many that fell before, its arrogance was its demise. Humility toward nature and wealth defined by group values, not private holdings, was the salvation of the oppressed, as we danced on the ruins.
I don’t know if we all made it. But I know enough of us did. We believed in the proud prehistory of humanity, and we fought to revive the archaic into the future. We all honored the feminine divine, we all loved our mother earth, we all sought balance, we all sought peace. And we all knew that peace is birthed by cooperation, and killed by competition.
Amongst our tribe, we broke the cycle in just one generation of memetic code hacking. It was easier than we ever dreamed.
The pathology of patriarchy was not a genetic or biological disease, rather it was comprised of a belief system that was replicated with great effort and imposed on each successive generation. By simply choosing not to reinstall the belief system, the entire monstrosity collapsed within our remote population. With no more GI Joes, Barbies, Princes or Princesses to aspire to, our children’s minds were finally free. With the materialist and individualist models for beauty, wealth, and power gone, human development quite naturally returned to a deeper communal pattern. The evolved template was always there, it had just been suppressed by indoctrination.
Once we got far enough from the rotten urban core, the real work began: building a new culture out of the fragmented ruins in our post-modern minds, while still fighting off the zoldier hordes. Their reign grew weaker as the virus burned hot and fast. But the warlords managed to keep the infection and vaccination racket going long enough of set up an iron grip on all evacuation routes.