re: pranks

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Sat 24 May 2003 - 03:57:23 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T. Smith: "Re: urge to strangle II"

    On Friday, May 23, 2003, at 08:50 PM, Ray wrote:

    > Actually Wade has openly admitted that he
    > does not actually believe in any model of memetics and has adopted a
    > behavior (now performance) based model as a posture to stir debate.
    > It's
    > not fraud on Wade's part because he told us he doesn't believe what he
    > is
    > advocating. It's not fraud when I do it at work either. I pick from a
    > range of possible legal theories and advocate the one that suits my
    > client's interests best.

    As I recall my own progress, pilgrim as I were, I did start this debate from that position, firmly held in check by skepticism upon the fence. I have always found that not believing in something makes one a better defender of it, as Ray says, allowing the disinterested disputer to pick from a range of possible theories. After all, memetics is little more than a debate at this point, and if the central proposition, that culture is enjoined by darwinian processes, is true, then the actual location of the meme, the quantum unit of replication, needs to be determined.

    However, I'm pretty sure I declared, not so long ago, that I had abandoned the fence, and was now striding with some assurance along the path on the performance model's side, mostly because I had such a range of possible theories to deal with- behavioral cognition, socio-biology, mind-viruses, pleasure principles, aleatory performance, dramatic criticism, artists' descriptions of creativity, propaganda, psychiatric and clinical perception studies, subliminal research, skeptical approaches to religion and belief, genetic determinacy- the list seemed endless.

    And, eventually, as I recall sometime about a year ago, unhappily during the period of my grief at the passing of an artist and most close and dear friend, I grew weary of holding up any pretense for any model that demanded the quantum unit of cultural evolution was solely in a brain, because I understood as never before what had been lost to culture in her inability to perform within it. There was nothing as valid or vital as her presentation of herself and her art. And there was still the nagging feeling that watching those Tlingit elders had produced in me. And all the need to love Aristotle's Poetics. And Finnegan's Wake. And Mahler. And bicycling to work every day. And my children. And, spiders' webs. And, how birds were chained to the skyway. Beauty. Science. Performer, observer, and venue. This was the indivisible triad upon which culture depended. Life could take care of itself, but culture needed its own nature. At first, I called performance 'behavior' but that was sloppy wording, something I'm constantly aware I'm guilty of. But, with enough misinterpretations of that as 'behavioralism', I relented, and adopted 'performance'. I've been explaining that ever since, even though it was always fully obvious to me that performance is a totality, not just a behavior. Cage. 4'33".

    At any rate, I am finding more to believe in on the performance side, for what that's worth. I think my client is innocent, in a phrase. I would like the performance model to get a fair hearing, as I do believe, yes, that the memeinthemind model is specious as concerns cultural evolution, where 'specious' is best expressed as "spurious inferences from obsolescent notions of causality."

    - Wade

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