Date: Sun 03 Nov 2002 - 19:50:56 GMT
> >Trial and error. Mutation. Sex.
> >Humans are products of evolution, not evolution itself, so, hmm, is
> >it really true that they do new things?
> When you take old things and put them together in a new way, you
> produce a new thing. "Meme" was just "gene" combined with "memory."
> But it was the combining that made it into something new. "Beme" grew
> out of "meme" and behavior, two ideas that already exist. "Peme" took
> Beme and replaced behavior with performance and in the process
> produced not only a new word, a new definition for the process we were
> calling "meme," but a new way of looking at the concept that was
> wrapped in the word, "meme." Everything new today is a combination of
> old and new. The newness is in the things we put together that
> weren't together previously. And we do it all in the mind first
> before we send it out into the world of other memes, bemes or pemes.
> The first axe took and existing sharp rock, an existing stick, and an
> existing piece of sinew and combined them into something that the
> creator had never seen before. He had to see it in his mind before he
> could perform it. There was no place else to see it.
> >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.
> This separation of one and many seems like much ado about nothing.
> Every spider is obviously different because it is shaped by the
> environment as well as the process of becoming a spider. All spiders
> of the same species are different from spiders of different species as
> well as different from each other, although the same compared to those
> other spiders.
> It's the same with memes or bemes or pemes. The performance is
> different each time but the same compared to performances of another
> peme. If we don't distinguish between classes of memes such as a
> particular song and a particular performance of that song, we get
> bogged down in trying to name everything we see or hear. It's OK to
> give every human being two or three names and then some because we
> spend most of our time interacting with other individuals, but to give
> every action they perform a name specific to that action at that point
> in time is to needlessly complicate the naming process.
> Although there are people in the music collecting business who do
> sort of thing. But it's mostly confined to a group of afficionados
> whose time is primarily concerned with comparing musicians and
> performances. The rest of the public can't be bothered.
> But this brings up another point -- that the memes and names we give
> to things is a function of how we spend our time and what we do with
> it. Bartenders dream up new drinks and give them special names. The
> drinkers pass them around and discuss the merits of them. No two of
> the new drinks come out exactly the same, but they are different
> compared to a vodka martini served shaken but not stirred.
> This is where the things we call memes come in. All shaken martinis
> belong to the class of meme that bears that name, even though no two
> of them are exactly the same. That class is different and bears a
> different name than the stirred voda martini. Although it may be
> difficult to taste the difference, the fact that they are produced by
> a different method and people have reasons to ask for one rather than
> the other puts them in a class of separate memes, bemes or pemes.
> We can apply the term "meme" to the mental aspect of martini creation,
> "beme" to the behavior of making martinis, and "peme" to the actual
> performance involved in making a single shaken-but-not-stirred
> martini. There's room in the naming process to hold all three. But
> it's all arbitrary and the names could just as easily apply to
> completely different things or the things named could just as easily
> have completely different names, as they will have if the process
> crosses the cultural line into another linguistic group.
> We divide our experience into categories and give those categories
> names because it helps us to think about the world and map it so we
> can cope with it. Dawkins started us dividing our world into genes
> and memes as biological and mental constructs. Now we are taking his
> distinction and creating a new way of dividing up a portion of our
> world based on it. We only do this because it gives us a handle with
> which to grasp certain aspects of our experience.
> Our experience is not naturally divided up this way.
> we use pattern recognition and pattern naming to help us cope with the
> world we live in. We decide what portion of our experience fits a
> pattern and apply a name to it. Our decisions are often based on
> false perceptions. Most of the arguing we do is based on the fact
> that no two people can perceive the world from the same point of view.
> What we see and give names to is as individual as people themselves.
> The names stick when we can hammer out agreement about what we
> perceive and agree to use the same name to talk about it. Without
> this agreement, there are no memes or bemes or pemes.
A most excellent post, Grant.
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> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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