Re: transmission

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Thu 15 May 2003 - 20:10:52 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T. Smith: "Re: transmission"

    On Thursday, May 15, 2003, at 03:31 PM, Joe wrote:

    > 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.

    I love the fact that in this entirely wonderful theory of cognitive semiotic process, the word 'meme' was never used.

    As it should not be. These wonderful processes of cognition do not need it. The only thing that requires a meme is cultural evolution.

    > This [pratfall], so far as I know, the ONLY possible example you could
    > give

    Alas, no, any aleatory element of the venue is also an example. Adaptation to the environment during the performance is just as vital and necessary a condition for memetic process as any intention. Thus, even the most well-rehearsed and motivated performance of even the simplest intentional idea can be mutated by the venue. The best laid plans of mice and men, after all.

    > 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.

    Here you abandon your previous argument, which was that all performances need to be intentional or meaningful. I do not confuse habit with addiction or neurosis, didn't mention either one of 'em, but you seem to confuse habit with intention, and that is not valid. If people want to indulge habits, that's fine and dandy. Culturally, in order to continue a habitual performance, it merely has to fit. And many habits, regardless of why they are indulged, can be useful to a culture. Habitual conditioning is a part of many learning processes, and culture uses as many processes as it can, as often as it can. Like life, culture finds a way. And it finds a way through performance, not through thinking about things. People are part of culture, and their training within the culture is just as varied and useful as it can be. Neurotics have a place and so do addicts, possibly, depending upon the culture.

    - Wade

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