Re: electric meme bombs

From: Wade Smith (
Date: Fri 01 Nov 2002 - 21:21:41 GMT

  • Next message: Wade Smith: "Re: common selves"

    On Friday, November 1, 2002, at 11:05 , Grant Callaghan wrote:

    > The place where I draw it is between things we use and things that we
    > have no control over.


    > To be a meme it must be something we can visualize and then attempt to
    > do.

    I accept that as part of the operating definition of the meme in the memeinthemind model.

    > But the fruit is when the meme is transferred to the meme pool of other
    > minds.

    That's where the beme is. It is the fruit. Because, regardless of how perfect your seed is, how well bred, how preserved, actually growing it requires a set of conditions that have a high degree of effect upon its growth.

    > How we classify our experience is memetic.

    I also accept that as a part of the memeinthemind model. I don't happen to see any need for it, which is the main reason I started championing the bemetic model- sorting and storing experience is part of the usual and normal process of the brain. The memeinthemind model demands that because I try to lift and separate a Dvorak piece out of the daily inrush of my sensory madness that I have some 'meme' for listening to Dvorak somehow delivered to me.

    As Aristotle said, it is the mark of an enlightened mind that it can contain two conflicting ideas at the same time. I can accept, even explain, the memeinthemind model, but I can't agree with it. (Hey, and I don't even consider myself enlightened.)

    I want to discover things from Dvorak. I want to discover things from Joe, and Richard, and Aaron, and Derek, and Grant, and Vincent, and, yes, anyone else who enters this room, and, well, we all have our little lists, but, these are only parts of my _own_ experience, as a sensory being in this frame- there is no meme for listening to Derek, for instance, that is out there and being transfered in any way to me or out of me. I'm sure, for instance, that I listen to Derek for entirely different reasons than Aaron does (at least, I boldly make that claim).

    > One of the problems with defining things as behavioral is that there is
    > no alternative. Everything we do or don't do is behavior. So if you
    > say something is behavioral, what have you said about it?

    I've tried, as hard as I could, to drive the notion that the bemetic model is any sort of example of behavioralism out of this room, because it isn't. It is a cultural transmission model using performance as its unit. As you say, everything we do is behavior, or could be said to be. But everything we do is not performance.

    But, there are theories of performance in art that, IMHO, need to be also in any theory of cultural transmission, because culture is not transmitted through memesinthemind, but by, as you say, these fruits of cultural performance, which I call bemes, and the rigors and demands and conditions and environments of performance have a richness that needs to be addressed. Which is why I quote Cage, for one of dozens of artists that I've listened to on this subject over the course of my life.

    I find I've discovered my own small vestige of consilience in the myriads of people I listen to.

    Find the place Cage (Brahms, Mahler, Eliot, Bach...) joins Wilson
    (Gould, Dawkins, Dennett, Damasio...) joins Jesus (Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius...), and don't forget Dali and Pasolini and Shakespeare and Dvorak and Bosch and Fellini and Cervantes and Arp and Bergman and Beethoven..., (this list is as long as everything you've ever read), and you're onto something.

    And I don't mean heaven....

    - Wade

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