Re: transmission

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Mon 19 May 2003 - 11:40:21 GMT

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

    On Sunday, May 18, 2003, at 04:17 PM, Phil wrote:

    > I take it from this that you've never heard of a thing called
    > `reverse engineering' Wade.

    Of course I have.

    However, no amount of reverse engineering could ever, _ever_, produce the cultural venue that first produced that Tlingit artifact. Yes, an anthropologist could reverse manufacture it, and even produce another one, using his best approximation of the tools, and his best replication of the natural tints applied with his best replications of the original brushes, but, the actual _reason_ that the artifact was first made for is _gone_, and _cannot_ be reverse engineered. The Tlingit people themselves can place no meaning upon this artifact, and they would not know what to do with a newly manufactured one anymore than they know what to do with the original.

    There will never again be the reason to make this artifact that there was. And even when anthropologists come up with their reasons why ancient or recent cultures created certain artifacts, there is still no continuing recreation of the cultural venue that created it, such that a people continue who depend upon this artifact for cultural survival. No, once a cultural venue is extinct, it is extinct, just like allosaurus. We can analyze it, discover its behaviors, learn its habitat, but, we will never have another one, surviving as it did.

    And no amount of reverse engineering will ever be able to create it, in the same way no amount of reverse engineering will ever make another pyramid in Egypt- such constructions were products of their cultural venues, and not endeavors of anthropologists or engineers.

    - Wade

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