Re: memetics-digest V1 #1318

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Tue 18 Mar 2003 - 12:41:53 GMT

  • Next message: Vincent Campbell: "long term memory"

    On Monday, March 17, 2003, at 11:22 PM, Vincent wrote:

    > Memes in artefacts: Without the bat (and ball etc., but I want
    > to keep the analogy simple) there can be no game.
    > Memes in minds: Without the players knowing what to do with the bat
    > there can be no game.
    > Memes in performance: Without the players using the bat there can be no
    > game.
    > Do any of these scan more meaningfully/ Do we need all three? Is Wade
    > right that it's only in the last one that we can actually witness the
    > meme?

    My stance is even more strict. It's only in the performance that the meme exists, but, yes, witnessing it is essential. Artifacts are products of performance, and, as such, maintain a period of witnessibility over time that the performance itself cannot.

    Without the players, using the bat (time), on a field (place, even of dreams), there is no game (culture), and no cultural evolution is possible without performance in the cultural landscape.

    Consider the evolution of baseball. From primitive and senseless beginnings, in games such as cricket and rounders, it has evolved to the intricate and mythical state of the present game played upon a diamond. And yet, I'm sure, one could never say that each game is the same game, that each game is a copy of the last, or that each game has the same meaning as the one before, or that something is passed on from one game to another. With each game of baseball, we see the motions of cultural evolution, which enacts its changes in a darwinian fashion. Infield fly rule. Designated hitter. Covered stadiums. Jumbotrons. Not the same, but the same. Not just artifacts, but performance. And without each and every performance, each change would not be possible.

    This is why the meme itself is the performance. It is the unit of cultural change.

    Now, if one wants to distance the meme from culture, then, IMHO, that eradicates any need for any meme whatsoever. One is simply making up another name for something almost everyone else calls something else.

    Take each of your conditions above.

    1- There can be games without bats (artifacts), and often are, and the bat itself is often produced and modified by the play.

    2- There can be games without knowledge of the game, although such play is chaotic and will probably settle into some pattern of action or disappear altogether, but, this is an active process, and only happens during performance, not during the thinking.

    3- Yes, this is the cogent statement. Without players, and without the time and the place to perform, bat or no bat, there is no game, no rules will develop (other than the rules nature gives us), and nothing will be done, in a similar way, to continue the game, in the future.


    - Wade

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