Losing your memes

From: Reed Konsler (konslerr@mail.weston.org)
Date: Mon 03 Mar 2003 - 15:11:00 GMT

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    "Okay, perhaps I said 'bullshit' too soon, but, really, just because no one still has the cultural tools is _precisely why_ there is no information still encoded within a forgotten artifact. Memes are cultural units of information, and this artifact has lost (yes, lost) the information that was required to make it. It is now an item for research and wonderment, not without, admittedly, cultural import, but the cultural context of its creation is gone.

    - - Wade"

    Perhaps it would be better to say "currently inaccessible" than "gone". Saying something is gone means that it is impossible to recover the information. Historically, people that claim something is impossible end up looking like fools. Who knows what methods of reconstruction and inference might be available in the future?

    There is at least some accessible information: "I was here" for instance. I might not seem like much. But imagine how significant that single piece of information might be were the same artifact discovered, for instance, on Mars.

    Before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, hieroglyphics said something even though the details of the information were, at the time, inaccessible. If you had said "we will never understand these details" you would have been wrong. A primer was uncovered, by accident in the middle of the desert, and instantly much more of the information became accessible.

    Were the memes, or whatever, suddenly resurrected? Or might it be more accurate to say they were there all along?

    Remember, the world doesn't change when we aren't looking at it or don't understand it. As Dennett points out: reality is not restricted by our limited imagination.



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