Re: I know one when I see one

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Fri 01 Nov 2002 - 10:50:32 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Re: electric meme bombs"

    On Friday, November 1, 2002, at 04:20 , wrote:

    > It is when you deny their connections and thus deny their common
    > membership in single systems

    Again, I see no such claim, no such denial, being made, at any point. I am not _attempting_ to make such. It has to be an error of my expression if you think that I am.

    > there is massive
    > continuity over time; otherwise, things like culture and evolution (and
    > many others) make no sense.

    Absolutely. I also enjoy the elementary.

    > I have fMRI proof that stimulation of certain neurons causes certain
    > behaviors (as well as certain thoughts and perceptions) as well as P53
    > location proof that a cortical action potential is physically
    > generated a
    > half second before a decision to engage in a physical action
    > consciously made.

    And you call this proof a 'meme'. I actually accept that as an axiom of the memesinthemind model.

    All I, and the bemetic model is saying is, there _will be_ an action after this stimulation, (after all, what the fMRI is observing _is_ the process of an _action_), and it is the _action_ and the _observer_ of this action that are relevant to cultural continuation.

    > what you are really doing is denying the
    > efficacy of the human self and the utility of both will and ideation.

    Not a bit of it. Sorry, but such criticism is unfounded and specious, if not totally off the mark. The bemetic model revels in the self. The self
    (precisely as you yourself describe it, for I used your definition as a bedrock) is absolutely a most demanded and efficacious element of the bemetic model. There would be no behavior without the self. All of what you call will and ideation are the preparations for the performance, and there would be no performance without them.

    > What the hell do you call behavior-*ONLY*, hmmmmmmm?

    This is another area where either you fail to see, or I fail to communicate, or both. It would perhaps have been more exact if I had said 'performance-only', as you have a tender button pushed with the word 'behavior' which seems to instantly get you to thinking
    'behavioralist', and I'm not one of those, and the bemetic model is not a behavioralist model.

    > Excise your brain and show ME a behavior

    I can't. I'm not asking myself or anyone else too, either, in fact, I'm agreeing with you- there can be no behaviors without the brain in a usable body.

    > I can, with a brain in a vat,
    > remove the rest of my body and show you thoughts.

    And I'm not arguing with that, either. It's just that those thoughts can not become behaviors. And, since they cannot become behaviors, they are useless to cultural continuation, and thus, irrelevant.

    The 'behavior(performance)-only' model of cultural evolution is merely saying that performance is a first requirement for cultural transfer- it is not concerned with the preparations for the performance anymore than a playgoer is concerned with what the playwright had for breakfast.

    > To use what must logically be true for what is evidentiarily witnessed
    > to
    > criticise that which denies its own logical parentage is eminently
    > reasonable.

    Yes, I can see your point- it is logically true (at least, with my small grasp of logic, I think it is), that some thought must precede behavior, but it is not logically true to equate them. As you say, the excised brain can think, but it can not perform.

    > It is like a painter criticizing a batch of paint because the
    > manufacturer
    > sees no need for pigment.

    That sounds like a perfectly valid criticism to me. I don't think it's the way _you're_ criticizing _me_, however, (I think the way you're criticizing me is pointing to the back of the canvas), as the bemetic model's paint is very, very, full of pigment. It even applies this paint to a surface, which the memeinthemind model does not.

    The memeinthemind model is a paintinthemind model, and there are no museums with any paintings from this artist. It is lost in its conjectures about how the mind prepares for performance, not striding towards discussing how that performance continues culture.

    > And every one was different.
    > But not totally so.

    No, completely and totally so, indeed every moment is totally not any other. Time now is not time then. And thus, every performance is different from every other. Time and space. There is no realm of vacuum of time and space in which identical moments exist. (Well, perhaps in some esoterica of quantum theory there might be.) And there are no two selves identical to each other. And no two behaviors. In many real and discernible ways, that foot of yours, walking along, is not the same foot from instant to instant. It is the continuity and stability of things that pattern moments into a stream, like the frames of a movie. It is incomprehensible to me how you can claim any non-difference of moments in time and space. But I am _not_ denying that an unimaginably and _almost_ total amount of continuity of matter and motion is maintained from one moment to another. In this way, I see your 'not totally'.

    We both argued, rather convincingly, I would say, against the MR model, because that model assumed an endless moment that denied time. It would seem to me that asking for each moment to be 'not totally' different is making the same error, although not to such a grandly mistaken scale. Any model of evolution is concerned with continuances through these moments, however, as I'm sure that is what you mean when you say 'not totally', and the bemetic model is concerned with the continuances within and of performances, only. The memesinthemind model is concerned with continuances of thoughts. I just don't see how thoughts manage to effect culture without observed performance, and observed performance is affected by the environment, and not just by the actions of the (however well) prepared performer.

    Cage's most famous 4'33" is a work entirely constructed to define the observer's place in the cultural environment and his effect upon the performance. It is a wonderful example of intentional non-behavior. Bemetic genius.


     From the article "History of Experimental Music in the United States" published in 1959 (pp 71-72):

    [...] in connection with musical continuity, Cowell remarked at the New School before a concert of works by Christian Wolff, Earle Brown, Morton Feldman, and myself, that here were four composers who were getting rid of glue. That is: Where people had felt the necessity to stick sounds together to make a continuity, we four felt the opposite necessity to get rid of the glue so that sounds would be themselves.

    Christian Wolff was the first to do this. He wrote some pieces vertically on the page but recommended their being played horizontally left to right, as is conventional. Later he discovered other geometrical means for freeing his music of intentional continuity. Morton Feldman divided pitches into three areas, high, middle, and low, and established a time unit. Writing on graph paper, he simply inscribed numbers of tones to be played at any time within specified periods of time.

    There are people who say, "If music's that easy to write, I could do it." Of course they could, but they don't. I find Feldman's own statement more affirmative. We were driving back from some place in New England where a concert had been given. He is a large man and falls asleep easily. Out of a sound sleep, he awoke to say, "Now that things are so simple, there's so much to do." And then he went back to sleep.


    - Wade

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