RE: Why Europe is so Contrary

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 24 Nov 2002 - 02:33:15 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: Regarding MEMRI"

    >At 07:51 AM 23/11/02 -0800, Grant wrote:
    > >I can't take credit for "post modern" and the philosophy of
    > >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
    > >sentence.
    >I thought that it was Joe, but you seemed to answer.
    > > 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
    > >concrete results. Each person uses the meme he/she picked up in his own
    > >and in conjunction with his/her own baggage of associated ideas. The
    > >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
    > >in the open. That's what deconstruction was about.
    >That is right and that is why the search for quantifiable data is
    >problematic, IMO in memetics. I also think that deconstruction of texts is
    >a hangover from modernity as all a postmodern critic can say is this works
    >for me.
    >Even if we take the most basic culture-meme - there must be some purpose to
    >my existence - each of us will build a different construct from it for our
    >own personal meme-bot
    > > 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
    > >
    > >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
    > >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
    > >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
    > >Each of these little transactions was built around a meme developed for
    > >loan industry to make the lending of money safer for the people engaged
    > >that business.
    > >
    > >Everything the loan officer said and all of my replies were meant to
    > >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
    > >end, I chose certain clothing to wear, had all the information he needed
    > >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
    > >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
    > >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
    > >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
    > >It was also a good example of how we use memes, transfer memes, and
    > >contribute to the meme pool in general.
    > >
    > >IMHO,
    > >
    > >Grant
    > >
    >What you are doing here is analysing the stories associated with the
    >transaction (even your cloths tell stories). As I've said before, narrative
    >is the only area where meems are quantifiable.
    I'd say it's more that I'm using language to analyze the elements of the transaction. I'm creating a story (narrative) about each element and thinking about how the story elements hang together. The transaction itself only becomes a story or narrative when the pieces are strung together linguistically. Before that, they are just part of a series of actions between actors. The words, papers and other items we used were mostly props to create the drama we act out. Each has a history of development and contribution to the social fabric that incorporate the concept of a contract, the kinds of words that constitute a contract, and which give value to what is essentially an act of faith on the part of all parties.

    The acts themselves don't constitute a narrative until I isolate them from the rest of my life and verbalize to myself or others what I think happened, what happened next, and so on until I reach an arbitrary stopping place that puts an end to the segment. The point I choose to stop the story is arbitrary because my life does not stop when the story does and I could have chosen any of a number of other places to stop it.

    Verbalization itself is part of the process of analysis. There was a lot more going on in all of our minds and bodies than the pieces I choose to string together. The loan agent arrived late for reasons I don't understand and what kept him may have been on his mind the whole time. The wife and I were anxious about the fact that lending rates are flexible and we have to wait 90 days to get the loan approved. There are so many people refinancing their homes now that the money may not be available in 90 days. Or the rate may go up and raise our monthly payment in that time. But none of this was really part of the transaction as we acted it out and I verbalized the process later.

    The elements I decided to include in the narrative were arbitrarily chosen to fit my concept of what was relevant to the story and what wasn't. So the narrative and the event are two separate issues that are only loosely related to each other.



    _________________________________________________________________ The new MSN 8: smart spam protection and 2 months FREE*

    =============================================================== 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) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sun 24 Nov 2002 - 02:37:22 GMT