From: Wade T.Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun 03 Nov 2002 - 04:44:48 GMT
On Saturday, November 2, 2002, at 02:56 , Van oost Kenneth wrote:
> where does a [completely] new behavior come from [in the pemetic model]
The peme itself is new, every time, as I've said, and it _is_ the
behavior, and, since even the best performer is not aware of the
_actual_ final performance, since his own skill level is a variable at all times, and the environment is not under his absolute control, his performance _is_ new behavior, by simple point of circumstance.
(This novelty is a prime axiom of the pemetic model, as I've constantly
reiterated, only to be misunderstood or ridiculed, mostly both at the
same time. It is not a novelty that needs a new name, any more than one
performance of Dvorak's Eighth needs a different name from another, but,
these two are not the same performance, now, are they? And it is not a
novelty that needs to be reborn every time, since there are no moments
of amnesia involved.)
But, I don't think that answers your question, and the pemetic moment is
not the _completely_ creative moment you're looking for some comment
about. The eureka moment, the moment when a new thing becomes known to
an individual, is a moment of synthesis that, IMHO, neither
memesinthemind, nor any other memetic conjecture has any answer for. Joe
would say (I put words in his mouth) that this mutation in the mind is
some process of mind mixing with meme-ory, and that's a good conjecture,
but no-one has any real clue to the eureka moment cognitively, and his
whole 'meme-ory' concept looks a lot like memory to begin with, talking
like it, and walking like it. Lots of people say lots of things about
creativity, none of them mentioning memes, and indeed, if memes are
units of culture, it doesn't matter to _any_ memetic theory _where_ they
came from, just what is done with them once they are there.
One of the reasons I read the things I do, and watch the things I watch,
and listen to the things I listen to, is because I do want to know why
someone does something for the first time. I'm especially interested in
why the first person went into a cave and made the drawings that we've
found there. Talk about cultural artifacts we have only conjectural
And, well, just where, in any theory, _does_ a truly new thing come from?
Humans do new things. That would _seem_ to be self-evident. And the rest
of the animals about don't. Lots of people would say that, too.
But, well, evolution does new things all the time. How does it do that?
Trial and error. Mutation. Sex.
Humans are products of evolution, not evolution itself, so, hmm, is it
really true that they do new things?
In one respect, every spider web is a new thing (in essence, of course,
it is), since it is different, in minute and subtle ways, each time. Is
'different' enough of a requisite for 'new'. Well, in some definitions of 'new', yes.
So, when a human does something that is considered new, let's say,
composes a new melody, what has happened?
Shall I just say that is a matter for about three hundred libraries full
of analysis? Sure, I'll say it, and I doubt too many people would
disagree with me. But, I do see it as something analogous to a spider's
web- the new melody is a musical way of spanning the new space between
two twigs where there was a twig and a wall before.
But alas, we don't have the answer to how creativity happens. But, it
does seem to be related to experience, to hard and concentrated work,
and to some serendipitous moment or stimulus from outside the immediate
focus of the inventor.
We've discussed the eureka moment here, I think. No real answer, but, I
have seen no evidence that memes are needed.
New things come the same way they always have. Trial and error.
And, yes, the last thing, 'sex', is missing in memetic theory, mostly
because cultural evolution doesn't have the sort of analog for sex that
it does for trial and error (practically the same thing, try it and see,
and, 'oops', that one was a mistake, but, hmmm, it looks like it works),
and mutation (related to whimsy and to change, as how pulp sci-fi and
cowboy serials become Star Wars, and Bugs Bunny and Kurosawa become
So, do we have an analog for the missing sex in memetics? I know I've
asked that question before here, too. Got a few interesting comments.
So, does it come as no surprise that I see the peme as the analog for
sex in memetic theory? Of course it doesn't....
The performance of a peme is the memetically sexual act. This is where
the two sexes, performer and observer (cum cultural environment), meet
and relate and the new thing happens. The fact that it's most often a
group sex experience is perhaps a bit put-offing to some, but, well,
there it is.
So, long ramble made brief, I don't know, but I'm intensely interested,
and, I don't think any memetic theory needs to know.
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