RE: Why Europe is so Contrary

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sat 23 Nov 2002 - 15:51:50 GMT

  • Next message: Grant Callaghan: "RE: Islam and Europe and Joe"

    >At 07:16 AM 22/11/02 -0800, you wrote:
    > >>
    > >>
    > >>Snip....................Joe:
    > >> >> ...the US has to be blamed for EVERYthing. I don't think you have
    > >>carefully
    > >> >> considered the memetic nature of the threat to postmodern
    > >> >> by a violently cannibalistic medieval memeset.>
    > >> >>Snip.............
    > >>
    > >>Maybe that is what we have got Joe, a 'postmodern civilisation';
    > >>defines their own; everyone doubts the Grand-narratives. But, at the
    > >>time, everyone is civilised too. To think that this blissful state of
    > >>affairs could be jeopardised by 'a violently cannibalistic medieval
    > >>memeset', it's tragic. Now is that a medieval memeset that violently
    > >>devours other medieval memesets, or just other memesets in general?
    > >>And Joe, have you considered the effect, on existing civilisations, of
    > >>allowing a new violently cannibalistic memeset to have political and
    > >>economic dictatorship of the planet?
    > >>Jeremy
    > >>
    > >
    > >All memesets are canibalistic in the sense that the culture we pick up
    > >use drives out old memes which go unused. If we don't use a meme, we
    > >it. There are limits, based on time and space, that restrict the number
    > >memes we can use from day to day. The way we spend our time also
    > >which memes get used and which don't. We tend to think more about what
    > >spend our time doing than things we don't. So I'm not using the term
    > >canibalistic in the sense that one meme consumes another but in the sense
    > >that the memes we use cause the memes we don't use to die of neglect.
    > >
    > >Grant
    >Thank you Grant. BTW in what sense were you using the term 'post modern'.
    >My understanding of it is a cultural period that followed the modern
    >period. It was characterised by a questioning of Grand-narratives, such as
    >'The Truth', (as if there is only one), justice, civilisation. IMHO, it is
    >kind of a latter-day sophisticism.
    I can't take credit for "post modern" and the philosophy of deconstruction that it brings to mind. Someone else used it in a post that also carried one of my posts. I guess you forgot to count the number of ">>" before the sentence. I thought for a while that deconstruction had something to offer for the analysis of memes, but now I'm not so sure. Looking at all the ways in which a meme is being used and all the antecedants it carries with it seemed promising for a while, but now I can't see where it will lead to any concrete results. Each person uses the meme he/she picked up in his own way and in conjunction with his/her own baggage of associated ideas. The usage is different for each person each time it is used. I can't see what's in anyone's head to make comparisons with the memes they are using. We can only compare the use of a meme with the memepool at large because it's out in the open. That's what deconstruction was about. Comparing all the past and present uses of words and ideas to arrive at an expanded meaning or understanding for some text or other. I never read a deconstructed text that increased my enlightenment on a subject.

    Now I see more promise in transactional analysis which analyzes how memes are used and for what purpose. This gives me insight into what a transaction was all about and what it did for the people who were involved in it. To take a concrete example rather than a more abstract one, I'm refinancing my house this week. The loan assistant had to compile a list of information about me, my wife, and the house. They he had to fill out a bunch of papers for us to sign that satisfied a number of government regulations about notification of various legal aspects of the transaction. Each of these little transactions was built around a meme developed for the loan industry to make the lending of money safer for the people engaged in that business.

    Everything the loan officer said and all of my replies were meant to satisfy a ritual that would make him feel good about giving me the money I wanted and make me feel he was competent at his job and want to do business with him. I, on the other hand wanted him to feel that I was trustworthy and would pay the money back with interest and not default on the loan. To this end, I chose certain clothing to wear, had all the information he needed at hand, used a proper vocabulary that inspired trust in my intelligence and competence, and asked all the right questions to demonstrate my understanding of the process and the obligations I would take on by signing the papers he handed me. Behind all of this is a history of legal memes defining the process and the obligations of all parties involved.

    This kind of analysis can be done with any communication between two people if the transaction is recorded. All communications are transactions involving the transfer of information or property from one person to another. I believe memes only have meaning within the context of the transaction.

    When Joe and Lawry were trading jibes, each chose particular words and ideas to achieve a specific set of goals. Some goals included attempts at dominance, the change of mind set in lurkers, attempts to humiliate the other party (part of dominance), attack and defense with word play, and a good time was had by all. It was the verbal equivalent of a game of chess. It was also a good example of how we use memes, transfer memes, and contribute to the meme pool in general.



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