From: Wade T. Smith (email@example.com)
Date: Sun 09 Mar 2003 - 16:52:00 GMT
On Sunday, March 9, 2003, at 07:17 AM, memetics-digest wrote:
> Where do the memes come from that you transmit through performance?
> Or do
> you think we invent them on the spot as we perform without any
> Even if we manufacture them by performing them, we have to shape them
> out of
> something in our minds. It's the information that comprises the meme,
> the transmission. The transmission can take many forms and often does.
You answer your question. Yes, the performance can take many forms and
often does. There are no memes _transmitted_ in the performance model,
because, yes, they are created anew in the time/space of the
performance, _every_ time, and yes, we _do_ do things without
forethought during the actual performance (as you have to know if you
talk to performers), although we don't do it all without forethought,
unless it is totally accidental, which, hey, it can be. The performance
itself (a quite separate thing from the individual, I do wish you
memeintheminders could see that), is shaped with agents from the
individual mind- thoughts, skills, memories, mindful or mindless agents
ad infinitum for all practical purposes- and with agents of the
time/space of performance- the audience, the weather, the ground
surface, the ambient noise level, et cetera, almost ad infinitum, with
some limiting parameters that the culture determines and presets, if
possible, to assure similar performances- ritual, spectacle, enclosing
I do not view these cultural presets as memes, although they 'evolve'
and 'speciate' through memetic activity.
Examples of performances are any and all activities in cultural
time/space, which itself demands observation _by definition_, and which
performance includes the manufacturing of artifacts, which are observed
in an extension of cultural time/space due to their material existence.
Once manufactured, an artifact becomes an agent in the 'gestalt' of the
Examples of cultural presets in performance time/space are uniforms,
podiums, auditoriums, red carpets, ceremonial musics, logos, catch
phrases, table manners, laws, et cetera, et cetera.
Yes, in the performance model, what Dawkins originally discussed as
examples of 'memes' are instead cultural presets. Is this just a matter
of nomenclature? Not to the performance model, it is not.
Because, for what it's worth, this model works for me, even if I stand
alone with it. It consiliates too much of cognitive, biological,
philosophical, aesthetic, and mechanistic disciplines for me to ignore,
while the memeinthemind model seems to be willingly ignorant of or
blind to performance itself as an agent of cultural evolution, and does
not survive Occam's razor.
> It's the information that comprises the meme, not the transmission.
That is a meaningless statement to the performance model, I hope you
see that. The agents of performance, the individual and the cultural
time/space, are not 'transmitting' 'information', but, rather, engaging
in a performance that, because of the environment of the cultural
presets, continues to be similar. When the performance is dissimilar
enough (due to some individual agency- person1 is not person2- or to
some environmental agency- time/space1 is not time/space2), it might
alter the cultural presets, but, there is no guarantee of that (some
cultural presets continue, some do not), and this continuance and
alteration of the cultural presets is what we discuss as cultural
We can only perform within cultural time/space, and culture can only
act upon or react to a performance.
Memetics is the discussion of these human performances amidst these
evolving cultural time/spaces. When humans evolve, that will be part of
the discussion, as well, of course.
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Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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