I sometimes heard the parents of Michel's playmates sigh about how, after a busy day, they really needed "a moment to themselves." The children were in bed at last, and then came the magic moment, and not a minute earlier. I've always thought that was strange, because for me that moment began much earlier. When Michel came home from school, for example, and everything was as it should be.
I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind... At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy, and wise in spite of themselves.
Think of a "discovery" as an act that moves the arrival of information from a later point in time to an earlier time. The discovery's value does not equal the value of the information discovered but rather the value of having the information available earlier than it otherwise would have been. A scientist or a mathematician may show great skill by being the first to find a solution that has eluded many others; yet if the problem would soon have been solved anyway, then the work probably has not much benefited the world [unless having a solution even slightly sooner is immensely valuable or enables further important and urgent work].
Respectable opinion would never consider an assessment of the Reagan Doctrine or earlier exercises in terms of their actual human costs, and could not comprehend that such an assessment-which would yield a monstrous toll if accurately conducted on a global scale-might perhaps be a proper task in the United States. At the same level of integrity, disciplined Soviet intellectuals are horrified over real or alleged American crimes, but perceive their own only as benevolent intent gone awry, or errors of an earlier day, now overcome; the comparison is inexact and unfair, since Soviet intellectuals can plead fear as an excuse for their services to state violence.
But if it is true that human minds are themselves to a very great degree the creations of memes, then we cannot sustain the polarity of vision we considered earlier; it cannot be "memes versus us, " because earlier infestations of memes have already played a major role in determining who or what we are. The "independent" mind struggling to protect itself from alien and dangerous memes is a myth. There is a persisting tension between the biological imperative of our genes on the one hand and the cultural imperatives of our memes on the other, but we would be foolish to "side with" our genes; that would be to commit the most egregious error of pop sociobiology. Besides, as we have already noted, what makes us special is that we, alone among species, can rise above the imperatives of our genes- thanks to the lifting cranes of our memes.
The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered forms, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation, distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.