Re: electric meme bombs

Date: Sun 03 Nov 2002 - 19:50:56 GMT

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    > >
    > >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
    > that
    > 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.
    > Cheers,
    > Grant
    A most excellent post, Grant.
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