Re: transmission

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Thu 15 May 2003 - 20:26:44 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: transmission"

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

    > Deciding to drink one's thousandth beer is very different from a spider
    > following a hard-wired instinctual program to weave its thousandth web

    Never said it wasn't.

    > one falls into the trap of implicitly denying conscious self-
    > awareness and choice at the very moment one is exercising them.

    I'm still at a complete loss to understand why you think that is something I am falling into.

    The human, at all times and in all activities (well, most of them, certainly, and certainly memetic ones) is consciously self-aware and making choices.

    Again, I am not declaring that any agency of choice is inadmissable- just the contrary, it is choice and self-awareness that makes people part of the cultural process.

    But, regardless of how automatic any one person's behavior is- and that is all I'm trying to say with the web analogy, that many activities are automatic and yet different every time- such behavior is still, regardless of instinctual forces to make them all the same, differentiated by the actual performance of the process because the parameters of the venue are different, be it web-making or speech-making, or singing 'London Bridge is Falling Down'.

    The performance model does not, however, attempt to explain human beings, which, I guess, you are thinking it tries to do or I'm trying to do with it. It doesn't. It only attempts to explain, in a darwinian fashion, the mechanisms and agents of cultural evolution. And it doesn't want to explain the mind, and it doesn't have to. People do what people do, and the evolution of culture is a processional result of what they do, in the groups that they do it, in the spaces they do it in. What they think before they do things is, well, irrelevant.

    - Wade

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