Where's meme?

From: Reed Konsler (rkonsler@hotmail.com)
Date: Sat 17 May 2003 - 19:32:45 GMT

  • Next message: Richard Brodie: "RE: transmission"



    Somewhere there is a secret party that you want to get into. You know the address, though you've never been there before, and you know the time. But you don't know the password that will cause the doorman to let you in.

    I know the password.

    I say to you "the password is: bluebird"

    That evening you arrive at the address at the appointed time.

    You knock on the door.

    The slot opens and two red-outlined eyes stare at you

    "What is the password?"

    "Bluebird." you say.


    Saying "bluebird" is a performance at a specific time and place. Yet, it is not a replica of my performance, or any other performance. By what mechanism did you happen to say "bluebird" at that time and place and not any other?

    It seems to me like there has to be something going on in the brain. Let's accept that it isn't "memes". I'll even grant you that whatever is in there isn't replicating. Let's wipe the slate clean.

    You seem so adverse to the word "brain" as to deny any connection with it at all. I know that isn't what you mean.

    Does cultural evolution require human brains? Is studying what is in the brains of people useful in understanding culture, or irrelevant?



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