Date: Thu 15 May 2003 - 16:57:17 GMT
> 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.
And here is the point; performances are related to each other by their similarity. This similarity is intended, i.e. each similar performance is a token of a performance type. But what is this type but a template? Intention is, after all, cognitive rather than performative, and thus common cognitive intention types must underlie similar performances.
> > 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.
This is, so far as I know, the ONLY possible example you could give
(accidental clumsiness), and it only works once, because subxsequently, the actual pratfalls, which are NOT accidental, are all tokens of a MEANING-BEARING cognitive type (to fake an accident for humorous purposes).
> Specific replications of performances can also not have any meaning
> other than habit, as responses can be conditioned.
To indulge in a habit can be a conscious or an unconscious thing; one might toe tap or hum an ear worm melody while practically oblivious to the fact, but one must intend to buy and consume one's booze or cigarettes. Likewise, an obsessive-compulsive may be distressed by his/her repeated hand-washings, and yet feel compelled to continue to wash his/her hands. You either confuse habit with addiction and neurosis or do not consider that people are often aware of their habits and still choose or feel compelled to continue to indulge in them.
> Really, I've just listed two objections to your statement and I'm not
> breathing hard.
And I've answered them just as easily.
> 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.
That molehill will evaporate upon deeper consideration. The mind is trained in associations between signs and referents (this is basic semiotics), and a meaningfully patterned message contains at least one sign that triggers a sign-referent association in the recipient, and most likely, as in sentences such as these, a semantically and syntactically ordered cascade of signs evoke an ordered succession of sign-referent associations in the recipient, each association a single pearl in a necklace of reasoning or a single link in a chain, or train, of thought. The individual sign-referent associations, having been previously learned, are already cognitively present and available for signal stimulation, but the order in which different associations are related may indeed be unique and a genuine transferral of information, that is, an understood sentence that someone has never heard or read before, producing a never-before-ridden train of thought - like this one.
> - Wade
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This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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