Imitation can be simply defined as an act of copying or the assumption of one’s behavior observed in others. Humans are strange creatures with the ability to imitate and cope languages or ideas that makes “us” different and can be distinguished from animals. These all describes memes, which supports individuals to explore and experience new inventions through a way of imitating. In “ Strange Creatures,” Susan Blackmore promotes the theory that a little conscious “me” is created by the memes so as to replication.
She discusses memes as a replicator that can help to control human thoughts and behaviors and believes everything can be passed from person to person. Memes allows people to fit in and imitate others to what society has offered; howerver, American education encourages unique individual learning and having diverse voices rather than just imitation that can established critical thinking. An individual desires to change him/herself in order to be accepted by majority people with the ability to imitate the act of others, which allows memes to be passed on.
It is unable to deny education or knowledge is meme that can be passed onto to students by professors and precious observed. Even though Blackmore discusses people always try to be someone else because “imitation comes naturally to us humans” (34). Memes passed onto different people by questioning “have you ever sat and blinked, or waved , or ‘goo gooed’, or even just smiled, at a baby? What happens? Very often they blink too, or wave, or smile back at you” (Blackmore 34).
An individual may have to cover his disfavored characteristics or authentic self to avoid judgments and be accepted by the majority. Having the ability to imitate allows people to achieve mutual feeling and cope each other all the time in a community. Furthermore, Blackmore metions memes is a replicator like genes that forces people to think and develop new inventions. To be exact, individual learnings are based on imitative scenarios that people hope to explore more theories and create by carrying the precious observed or valuable culture heritage.
However, American education does not be formed only by imitation, but still individual learning and thinking that people are allowed to have various ideas and feel free to make judgements. American education encourages individual learning and considers it as an strategy to differ students’s strengths and weakness. Individual learning is dependent on one’s experience by interacting with the various environment or knowledges of schooling. It is the capacity to build knowledge through individual reflection rather than just imitate an act from others.
Blackmore discusses she is afraid of the ideas of imitation that may become a fear because “memes spread themselves around indiscriminately without regad to whether they are useful, neutral, or positively harmful to us” (37). Memes are selfish because they pressures people to fit in and recycle the same idea again and again. Formal education promotes the learners to develop and construct knowlegdges by understanding the previously information and assimilating with the new ones. It seems people imitate naturally because they create the new invention based on the previously observed.
In fact, individual learning requires people to practice their own learning model and contribute to groups rather than just collaborate with them. People are allowed to have free talks and encouraged to question observed knowledges. Critical thinking helps people to explore and develop further knowleges of different fields by using the “shortcuts” that has been provided by precious thoughts and theories rather than just imitating others. Critical thinking is the objective analysis used to describe forms of learning and thoughts go beyond the imitative scenarios and the memorization of schoolling.
It is promoted by American education that can help to recognize individual differences and bring people chance to make free speech and express various thoughts. To be exact, critical thinking helps people to explore who they are and hope to find talents that can help to strength and develop different fields. Blackmore argues education cannot only relied on memes because “one of the problems with the ideas of memes is that it stricks at our deepest assumptions about who we are and why we are here”(38).
It is understandable that imitative scenarios is necessary for education because the collebrate thoughts and precious knowledges help to construct individual learning. However, individual learning does not only form by imitative scenarios but still by personal characteristics and individual thinking. The clash of imitation and individual learning can be solved easily by critical thinking. People try to cover their authenticity and do not want to express themselves when adapt to new environment or fall into common ground.
In fact, the environment of schoolling does not creat a common ground, instead of exploring critical thin kings and strenghthening individual characteristics. People may question who they are and why they have to carry cultural heritage instead of just expressing their ideas. However, memes are the basic ideas of American education and that critical thinking and individual learning promote students to develop their own thoughts by making connections with primary observed.