Re: memetics-digest V1 #1296

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri 28 Feb 2003 - 16:13:48 GMT

  • Next message: Hernan Silberman: "Re: memetics-digest V1 #1294"

    >Again, there was no-one in the Tlingit tribe that came to Harvard to
    >examine their own tribe's artifacts that had any idea what several of them
    >were for. The information that helped to form this artifact is gone. It is
    >not only not invariant, it is absent, and no-one, even from the culture
    >that created it, had any information about it.

    The information is still encoded in the artifact. Just because no one still has the cultural tools with which to decode it doesn't mean the information has vanished. Just as diligent study has revealed the information stored in ancient Egyptian glyphs and Sumerian clay tablets, enough scholarly effort will reveal a certain amount of the Tlingit tribe's information. Just because it won't reveal everything doesn't mean it reveals nothing. Just the material it's made of implies a lot about the culture it came from. The craftsmanship used to make it is part of the information encoded in an artifact. The level and type of civilization also becomes obvious. What a particular person designed and used the object for is just a small part of the information it is capable of transmitting.


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