From: Reed Konsler (
Date: Thu 22 May 2003 - 15:27:56 GMT

  • Next message: Philip Jonkers: "Re: DS syndrome"

    > Comprehension is a requisite of cooperation. How can I cooperate with
    > you if I can't understand your instructions?

    Wade: When Atta flew that plane, was he comprehending bin Laden?

    Obviously he did.

    " _I_ comprehend bin Laden as wanting to stay alive..."

    Changing the contexts there...

    "Is cooperation only 'understanding instructions'?"

    No, but at a minimum you need to understand and then act on them.

    "One does not need any comprehension of allegiance to pledge allegiance to the flag"

    Based on the performance model, one doesn't require anything but the performance. My impression is that the performance model does away with concepts such as "significance", "meaning", and "content".

    "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"

    Correct. That mind-virus is simply a set of instructions that propogates becuase it carries the meme [mimic] and [conform to social expections]. Those are some of the active memes. The rest is just junk that, for most people expressing the meme, is a rote and meaningless performance. That is why people will put their hand over their heart and make a pledge using the wrong words. In that case, most people present won't even notice...or care. As long as the pledge doesn't seem to be carrying an ironic criticism, even an incorrect performance fulfills the [conform to social expectations] meme.

    "even though the information of allegiance would seem to be part of that meme"

    Virus, not meme. Memes are small units and probably can't replicate any more than a particular gene can. A virus is a collection large and complex enough to cause the host to express a performance.

    "since all that is required is a rote behavior, and the fact..."

    Fact huh? It's hard to communicate with you when you state personal opinon as fact. If it were accepted fact then there would be no controversy, and little conversation. Facts are memes that are so omnipresent as to be beneath notice, subliminal even. It's an effective debating strategy to make arguments with implied assumptions you wish to be accepted as fact.

    But, this isn't a debate. Also, it's pointless to be so obvious.

    "...that the memeinthemind model cannot differentiate between rote behavior and supplied information"

    I don't think that is true. But, if it were, the performance model doesn't differentiate between rote and "comprehended" performance were just arguing that comprehension isn't a requisite. Thinking about mind-memes, similarly, does not require a host to have any quantifiable level of introspection or comprehension. In fact, the more introspective the host, the more complex memetic analysis of their mind becomes as there are so many meta-levels of congnition to account for.

    And anyway, a mind-meme model would differentiate between the signifier
    'allegiance' in a string of words and [allegiance] as a meme. If a host held the [allegiance] meme then that host would express multiple unique performances which would lead an observer to infer that the host's mind contained a collection of mind-viruses that each carried [allegiance] as an element.

    Finally, there are obviously an infinite number of different signified memes that the signifier [allegiance] might be refering to in this discussion. If I argue that there is an [allegiance] meme, you shouldn't assume that there is a single meme that takes the role of all things that could possibly be signified, right? If we were going to have a more detailed discussion I would need to start defining [allegiance-type1] and so on. I just thought I should point out that I'm not conflating, obfuscating, or being vague...but abbreviating given time limitations.

    "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."

    As I understand the mind-meme model, the "cultural venue" is the mind-memes that are contained in the brains of the members of the culture. You're arguing that the venue is a vital, defining agent in the process. I agree. I'm saying that the venue is in the mind and I'm calling the venue a collection of memes. You don't use the words exactly the same way, I understand.

    But, what I don't understand is where, physically, you think this "venue" is. I'm saying it's in the brain becuase without the brain there wouldn't be any performance. On the other hand, without a stage, you could still have one. The brain is an irreducable requirement. All the other parts of the venue are just props.

    Also, you're arguing that a performance requires 3 agents. A performer, and audience, and the venue. I'm arguing that the venue part of the brains of the performer and audience. I have two agents and you have three. Unless there is some vital reason to argue that the "venue" isn't in the brain, Occam's razor would favor a 2 agent theory. So, I'm not ignoring the venue...I'm favoring a simpler theory that accounts for my observations.

    > I don't think you need a script.

    "You do, at one point, to do Macbeth...If you memorize your lines, you are merely a memory of the script, not without it."

    I agree. All I'm saying is that, in this case, the venue is part of my brain. I'm arguing that the all the irreducable elements of any "venue" are in the brains of some participant. Everything else is just a prop.

    "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."

    All of those things are contained within the brains of some or all participants of a performance. Bob Cratchett is not a *material requisite* external to the brain, in fact, there is no such thing as a real, material Bob Cratchett.

    "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."

    Agreed. I think this is my point.

    "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."

    Fine. But between performances the pre-performances are "maintained by the cultural venue". In this hypothetical, one brain is a sufficient and neccesary componenet of the maintaining venue. Everything else is neither. For instance, your Tinglit artifact example indicates that an artifact is not sufficient and the example of memorized rules without an actual book indicates that artifacts are not neccesary.

    The cultural venue is *physically located* in the brains of the participants. At least, that is my assertion.

    > It sounds like you are claiming that the venue has some agency. Is
    > that true?

    Yes, of course I am. That was a late-arriving eureka.

    [shrug] I figured that if you thought the venue had some agency then mind-memes wouldn't seem like such an impossibility.

    "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?"

    I think that you would need to write more than that. It isn't that I don't understand the statement. I think there is a minimum of two players.



    =============================================================== 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 : Thu 22 May 2003 - 15:35:51 GMT