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Symbiomism is the philosophy of George van Driem about mind and man’s place in nature that grew out of Symbiosism. Symbiosism is the linguistic theory that recognises language to be a memetic life form inhabiting the human brain. Human beings are unique symbiotic relationships in which the constituent symbionts are essentially different in nature. Our bodies furnish the hominid host for the human soul, whereby the soul is defined as all cognition that is directly or indirectly linguistically mediated. Man is a symbiome, a symbiotic union of body and soul. The question of our human identity is analogous to the organismal identity of lichens, green plants and all eukaryotic life. Countless such complex life forms arose evolutionarily as symbiomes. Man is as much his human body as he is the language that dwells within his brain and mediates much of his thinking. Good health is the state in which both constituent symbionts are healthy and abide in some sort of happy and wholesome equilibrium.
Symbiomism diagnoses religion to be a disease of language, recognises that opposition to religion per se might be an exercise in futility, and furnishes an analytical model for understanding the Darwinian mechanics by which cultural entities, pathological and benign, are propagated. Symbiomism furnishes a scientific culture theory for understanding human identity, studying individual and collective mental health and informing culture management. Religions, sects, ideologies, movements and myths can be channeled in benevolent ways in order to enhance individual well-being and further the common good. Legislators, policy makers, educational institutions, intelligence agencies and other memetic managers working within a symbiomist framework remain minimally interventionist and refrain from curtailing individual freedom of thought and expression.
- van Driem, George. 2004. Language as organism: A brief introduction to the Leiden theory of language evolution, pp. 1–9 in Ying-chin Lin, Fang-min Hsu, Chun-chih Lee, Jackson T.-S. Sun, Hsiu-fang Yang and Dah-ah Ho, eds., Studies on Sino-Tibetan Languages: Papers in Honor of Professor Hwang-cherng Gong on his Seventieth Birthday (Language and Linguistics Monograph Series W-4). Taipei: Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica.
- van Driem, George. 2006a. The language organism: Parasite or mutualist? [in press].
- van Driem, George. 2006b. The origin of language: Symbiosism and symbiomism. [in press].