Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson – This week is a little different: fiction for a change. The story line is good cyberpunk, but what really stands out in this novel is the concept of “memes“. Stephenson’s presentation of ideas as social viruses (particularly religion) is incredibly thought provoking, and makes the read worthwhile.
While on the topic of Stephenson, there is a leading quote in his book “Diamond Life” credited to Sir Charles Petrie (the historian) from 1960. This could have been written yesterday:
Moral reforms and deteriorations are moved by large forces, and they are mostly caused by reactions from the habits of a preceding period. Backwards and forwards swings the great pendulum, and its alterations are not determined by a few distinguished folk clinging to the end of it.
– Sir Charles Petrie, The Victorians (1960)