We asked psychologist and memeticist Susan Blackmore to comment on her current work and ideas that have influenced her…
Which of your own ideas have you been thinking about most recently?
Is there a third replicator? We have genes and memes and lots of technology. Is the information copied by that technology, i.e. digital information copied in computers and over the net, a new replicator? If it is, what is our role as humans, and what will our role become? Also, what should we call it? These questions go round and round in my mind and have done for a year or more.
What idea of someone else has made most impact on you recently?
The idea that you need about 10,000 hours of working at something to become really proficient. This idea has acted as an inspiration to me, to carry on even when I am a bit bored or just doing the same thing over again. Now I think it’s worth it to get better at what I do.
What is the most important book/article of ideas that everyone should read and why?
Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene to understand the mindless processes that give rise to design in all of the universe, or Daniel C Dennett’s Consciousness Explained to see how the natural intuitions we all have about consciousness lead us into fateful traps and insoluble mysteries.
Susan Blackmore writes for several magazines and newspapers, a blog for the Guardiannewspaper and is a frequent contributor and presenter on radio and television. Her latest book is Ten Zen Questions. She appears at the Bristol Festival of Ideas on 12 May in Atheism and Meaning, a Bristol Festival of Ideas event with Julian Baggini and Christopher Brookmyre.