From: Grant Callaghan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue 04 Mar 2003 - 16:19:02 GMT
Artifacts are memes with an extended time/space, and how one defines their
interaction with their time is a point of contention. I would claim they can
become dislocated from their originating time/space to the degree that they
become useless for their original intent, and I've seen clear evidence of
this. The changing of culture is a given. There are no trilobites anymore,
and there are no rune-readers, and that Tlingit artifact had no meaning to
the tribe that created it. Perhaps I did not relate the sadness upon their
faces, which was deep and soft, but, they had no idea. They may have
retained as much of their culture as they could, but, they were also in the
process of seeing pieces of it wander off and be lost.
Memes are things that firstly are available to the senses.
If you're going to discount the information available in an artifact from
the past just because you can't pull up an entire culture from examining it,
I think you expect too much from too little. Even today, we are losing the
culture around us as anyone can see by watching Antiques Road Show on PBS.
Things that were made in my lifetime are unintilligible to the people who
own them because that phase of our culture has already passed us by. That
doesn't, however, mean they don't contain any memetic information. You just
have to look harder to find it and expect to get less from it. Or perhaps
the problem is just that you don't define memetic information the way that I
do. Just because a culture is dead doesn't mean all of the information it
contained is lost to us. And just because we are not creating new
information along the same lines to do the same thing doesn't mean that
either. Memetic information is created and passed along in bits and pieces
and many of those bits and pieces are still around. They won't become a
part of our cultural meme pool except as curiosities, but that doesn't mean
we are helpless to understand them and much of the information they contain.
Anthropology is also a part of our present-day meme pool.
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