Re: transmission

From: Douglas Brooker (
Date: Sun 18 May 2003 - 21:27:09 GMT

  • Next message: Richard Brodie: "RE: memetics-digest V1 #1350"

    "Wade T. Smith" wrote:

    > 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.

    thanks, a good read, and a good write.

    late on Sunday evening....will have to re-read to see if any comments are forthcoming

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