According to Discover Magazine the invasive “crazy ants” have taken over the ecosystem on Christmas Island. My initial thought was, “oh shit, they’re going to need some genetically targeted virus to kill of these invasive buggers.” But the longer the story sat in my head the more I discovered two very different poles of thought.
First, this is what natural selection is all about, isn’t it? Living organisms battle for supremecy; and as far as we can tell, that battle balances out into nice (albeit violent) symbiotic systems.
Second, it hit me that these “crazy ants” don’t belong on Christmas island. They’re an import–a result of our globalized infrastructure. There’s nothing natural about the way these six-legged invaders swooped down the chimney bearing the gift of ecological homogeneity.
With those two poles firmly established, my mind then turned to abstraction. Marx left us with the Hegelian notion of a dialectic iterating between infrastructure and superstructure. Culturally these should create balancing (if violent) antitheses, theses, and syntheses. But does this sort of iteration begin to break down if the globalization of culture creates the possibility of invasive memes that even the strangely prescient Marx couldn’t foresee?
Isn’t it possible that globalism has resulted in invasive cultural memes that operate outside the normally corrective feedback loops of infrastructure and superstructure? If this is possible, could it mean that our systems of thought, some of which are superior in quality to invasive memes, could nonetheless be out competed by invasive species? It certainly feels that way some days. I can’t help but wonder if invasive memes could begin the implosion of a historical dialectic. Or perhaps history, by nature, can only implode, and we are just now reaching that event horizon.