From: Wade T. Smith (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 22 May 2003 - 00:29:53 GMT
On Wednesday, May 21, 2003, at 06:42 PM, memetics-digest wrote:
> Comprehension is a requisite of cooperation. How can I cooperate with
> if I can't understand your instructions?
When Atta flew that plane, was he comprehending bin Laden? _I_
comprehend bin Laden as wanting to stay alive....
Is cooperation only 'understanding instructions'?
Well, I suppose it's semantically and definitionally hazardous, but, my
point in all this was that comprehension is not requisite for
_expected_ behavior. One does not need any comprehension of allegiance to pledge allegiance to the flag, nor any semblance or knowledge of piety to recite the Lord's Prayer, and yet in the first one is cooperating with the structure of civil authority and in the second with the Church. And by this stead, one can say the memeinthemind for allegiance is not requisite for pledging allegiance, if one is wont to use the memeinthemind model, even though the information of allegiance would seem to be part of that meme, since all that is required is a rote behavior, and the fact that the memeinthemind model cannot differentiate between rote behavior and supplied information would seem to me to be its falsification.
And no-one needs to comprehend how flour rises or fuel burns to bake
bread and thus cooperate with the baker. The instructions are merely
that, with no belief or mindset required. See later about parameters.
> agreement is not requisite for cooperation.
> what is the mechanism by which the pattern continues?
> You can't just say that one event is correlated with the next or that
> pattern continues"...that doesn't explain anything. To make a causal
> argument you have to at least give a hypothesis about the mechanism
> allows one event to cause the next.
The parameters of the cultural venue are the mechanism by which an
expected performance happens. The pattern of Macbeth, to use your
example, needs certain things, and when they are supplied, Macbeth
happens. It is not the same Macbeth every time, of course, but, it is
within parameters enough so that, even in the case of Throne of Blood,
the Kurosawa/Mifune movie, we see Macbeth. The causal mechanism is the
cultural venue. It is as defining an agent as the performer and the
observer, and the memeinthemind model pays it no attention whatsoever.
> If someone *did* know how memory worked
That would be wonderful. I'm betting that when they do, they don't
mention memes at all. The memeinthemind adherents are betting they
will. Time will tell. Right now, all bets are still on the table- I
just think I'm the house.
> I don't think you need a script.
You do, at one point, to do Macbeth, or to do anything but pure
improvisation, and pure improvisation is impossible. (That is an axiom
of culture, if not evolution in general, but I truly enjoy philosophers
like John Cage who at least shred it into little pieces.) The script is
a requisite for the cultural venue that is Macbeth. If you memorize
your lines, you are merely a memory of the script, not without it.
> "The fact that each human will be required to take up several roles."
> Patrick Stewart does a nice solo performance of A Christmas Carol.
Interesting choice of one-actor show. However, he does not, in any
sense of the word, exist alone on the stage, (as say, Hal Holbrook does
in his one-man about Mark Twain), and 'role' does not translate as
'body'. The cultural venue of A Christmas Carol also requires three spirits, Bob Cratchett and family, (no way you can leave out Tiny Tim), a nephew and his wife, and a few other minor players, including Belle, the girl left behind, and Fezziwig, and I'm sure there are others my memory stalls in front of right here and now. Whether or not it requires the physical prop of a turkey or a doorknocker or a gravestone is a matter of stagecraft, not a matter of venue. After all, does a mime really _not_ use props?
> "And the rules of baseball come from the cultural venue."
> Which is reduceable to a single brain.
No, sorry. One brain may indeed have these rules in memory, as in the
teacher on the island scenario, but those rules did not come from the
ether and they won't get out to another player without performance.
They came from a cultural venue that was experienced, via performance,
by that brain, but that one brain cannot play baseball with itself so
that anyone else who knows the rules of baseball understands that
baseball is being played. Accepted, one might view Kasparov sitting at
a bench deep in thought, and be ready to assume that he was playing
chess with himself, but, even if I saw Roger Clemens sitting deep in
thought I would not think he's doing mental baseball on the bench....
The games are quite different. The rules and the venues are quite
different. Your computer game baseball example is just as immaterial an
argument. The venue of chess is rather encapsuled in the mind, while
the venue of baseball is not. And yet I played a wonderful card-based
baseball game with a friend of mine in college, spending many a wasted
to academia night keeping score. Did we know the rules of baseball? You
betcha. We had to. I learned more about baseball playing that card game
than I've forgotten since. Would someone stopping by know we were
playing baseball? I don't think so, unless they knew what a scoresheet
looked like, because there was no representation of the diamond, or
sounds of bats slapping balls, no pictures of baseball accessories, and
none of the cards looked like baseball cards, but had a full list of
the player's stats and averages. Yeah, they would start to clue in
after hearing us at play, or if they were deaf perhaps by recognizing a
player's name (the game was one where we could pick players from any
part of baseball history, and thus I often had Honus Wagner and Mickey
Mantle on the same team), but, nothing immediately in view would alert
the casual glance. So, were we playing baseball, or not? How much of a
venue is needed? (This is a much larger question about all performance,
and one I truly think needs to be addressed in cultural evolution and
not only aesthetic and poetic theory, and again one, IMHO, that is
ignored by the memeithemind model.)
> "And each cultural venue is doing the same thing, maintaining a set of
> parameters and expecting a set of performances"
> It sounds like you are claiming that the venue has some agency. Is
Yes, of course I am. That was a late-arriving eureka. How many times do
I have to write that there are a _minimum_ of three players in cultural
evolution, the performer, the observer, and the venue? And they are
equal players. The venue sets the parameters, and these are not only
parameters directing the expected performance, but parameters of the
expected observation and perception, even of the expected
interpretation, as well. The venue is a decided agent of cultural
evolution, just as temperature and climate and food sources are of
Even in a modern, improvised, ensemble, workshop theatre based upon
Macbeth, themes and characters from the venue of Macbeth would have to
be there. Banquo might be Donald Duck, but, he's still there.
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