Re: transmission

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Sun 18 May 2003 - 19:43:50 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Re: transmission"

    On Sunday, May 18, 2003, at 04:22 AM, Douglas wrote:

    > unless maybe the single meme referred to was an attempt to describe a
    > process. in which case the memes functions as a place holder to
    > describe
    > processes which are too complex to understand.

    The urge to simplify is always strong, and nouns are the handiest things around. The performance model, as far as I'm interpreting it, because I don't believe I invented it, does its utmost to not use
    'meme' as a placeholder or a simplifier, at all. The place holder for performances in this model is the cultural venue itself, which is a socially environmental construct that utilizes performers, observers, and conditional manipulations of time and place, the venue itself. The result of activity within this venue with these players is the meme. There is no other use for this noun in this model.

    Baseball is a cultural venue, and to get a game of baseball started, it is the cultural venue that needs to be created or recreated, not the transferral of a set of memes _about_ baseball. Once the venue is formed, the activities that command the meme are also formed, and, with the parameters of the venue being understood, the memes that, as an aggregate, are called 'baseball', will happen. (In this way, the term
    'memeplex' can serve as an synonym for venue.)

    > it could be that the nominal "meme" is simply a fiction, a marker,
    > that, it
    > is thought, will make the task of describing the process in question
    > more
    > effective. an epistemological supposition, not unlike the "grundnorm"
    > of
    > Hans Kelsen's legal theory.

    The performance model also goes out of its way to ensure that this interpretation of 'meme' could never be. The meme in the performance model is not a fiction, nor a mere thought. It is a recordable and vivid action, and not one that is unnoticed. It is not a supposition about how people think, or how they come to suppositions. Let cognitive science come up with how and why people think- for the performance model humans are participants in cultural evolution, but they are not the single players, and they do, in the performance model, just what they do, and the performance model is not concerned with why they do it, because, for cultural evolution to happen, the why is not necessarily important. As Cornel West says in the Matrix Reloaded-
    "Comprehension is not requisite for cooperation." And comprehension and intention are not requisite for cultural evolution. This is yet another example of the core error of the memeinthemind model, because this memeinthemind is an invention that is not necessary or sufficient for cultural evolution. The performance model is the only one, IMHO, that addresses the necessary and sufficient conditions for cultural evolution, and calls the indivisible unit of this necessity and sufficiency, the 'meme'.

    (Indeed, can a meme happen outside of culture? I say it cannot. The memeinthemind model says it does. Chicken and egg? I don't think so.)

    Yes, there is no reason to call this single necessary and sufficient thing a 'quantum' in view of the veneer of popularization of that term, but it's still a rather good term that has a definition of the indivisibility. At any rate, I first encountered the definition of the
    'meme' as 'the quantum unit of cultural evolution' from the Church of Virus, itself an attempt to popularize memetics. It would be nice, at least from the perspective of the performance model, to have everyone view 'meme' with such singularity, but, alas, most do not. Instead, we have selfsame 'memes' appearing in 'slightly different' ways, in totally different minds, with totally separate intentions, in such Rube Goldberg patch-jobs as the memeinthemind model. Gack.... The limits of equivocation have not burst any envelopes in the explanations from the memeinthemind modelers, but, no points off for trying, guys.

    > to what extent does the controversy about the nature of the 'meme'
    > parallel
    > other theoretical controversies in other disciplines?

    I suppose the quark might be one such, but I'm not a physicist. Black holes certainly- theorized as possible, and finally enough evidence found to provide a foundational reality for their existence. Germs. Genes, in their way.

    Joe, and others, are convinced they have a theory about memes that mirrors this discovery model- that it is only a matter of time before enough evidence from fMRI and other cognitive investigative technologies will provide the reality of the memeinthemind.

    I remain skeptical about this, mostly because I don't think the meme is a requisite unit of cognition, and I decidedly reject the notion that a memeinthemind is a necessary unit of cultural evolution, and the memeinthemind model needs to establish both conjectures before it can be considered valid, and, it's nowhere close to doing so. The performance model is intact without any suppositional entities bouncing about in cognitive processes. As I said, the performance model is capable of being ridden, right now. Aaron and others have concerned themselves with the propagation mechanisms which are at work in cultural evolution, and the performance model has no trouble dealing with this sort of data. Just as likewise, the performance model has no trouble dealing with data from aesthetics, and social dynamics, and behavioral cognition, and genetic determinants, and developmental data from linguistics, et cetera. And there are no imaginary entities to it, no ghosts in its machine.

    - Wade

    =============================================================== 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) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sun 18 May 2003 - 19:50:35 GMT