Re: transmission

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Thu 15 May 2003 - 15:10:53 GMT

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    On Thursday, May 15, 2003, at 09:42 AM, memetics-digest wrote:

    > [you] claim that every performance, even the thousandth swig of a
    > beer, is
    > nonrelationally unique

    Well, there it is, our basic misunderstanding.

    I do _not_ claim that every performance is nonrelationally unique, and I'd love to know where you think I said that. I've used the spider's web example relentlessly to show that not only do I suggest that every performance contains similar relations aplenty, but that, in most cultural circumstances, the only element that makes the performance unique is the venue, just as the only element that makes a spider's web unique is the environment she attaches it to.

    So, quite the contrary to your (mis)understanding of the performance model, I'm claiming a performance needs as many relations as it can have to be memetically useful and continuing.

    Just as every human is unique, but related to all others, every performance is unique, perchance to be related to many others.

    > Actually, without meaning, there cannot exist _any_ specific
    > performance, which is, after all, just acted-upon meaning/intention.

    Meaning is simply one of the relations that a performance has to its venue. In fact, it is not necessary, at all, but, once established, by cultural context, it can be maintained. But, there can be performances that play culturally and memetically that are purely accidental, and have no other meaning but the effect of the situation that created the accident. Once observed, and then performed, this performance might achieve some relation to a cultural meaning. This is where I use the example of a pratfall, which is a replication by a comedian of an actual fall by a non-meaning accident victim.

    Specific replications of performances can also not have any meaning other than habit, as responses can be conditioned.

    Really, I've just listed two objections to your statement and I'm not breathing hard.

    Meaning is not, as information is not, a thing that is transmitted, memetically, or theoretically, from one mind to another. I see a small swelling of support here for that very logical position.

    - Wade

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