Re: venue

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Sat 24 May 2003 - 21:46:41 GMT

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    On Saturday, May 24, 2003, at 08:52 AM, Reed wrote:

    > 'properly'? From the perspective of semiotics, is there such a thing
    > as a
    > 'proper' interpretation of a signifier?

     From the viewpoint of a culture, there is a 'proper' interpretation, yes, and there must be.

    > "The venue for proper operation is not present in either case"
    > Of course it is, it's right there in the minds of the tribe.

    No, it was not 'right there in the mind of the tribe'. Recall the incident- three Tlingit tribal elders, one artifact. There was nothing in the minds or in the artifact or in the presentation of it there in the basement of the Peabody Museum that presented the proper operation of that artifact, except as an exhibit in a museum, with the tag
    'Tlingit artifact of unknown origin or purpose.' There literally were tears in the eyes of these elders, handling this piece of their own, practically immediate past, and being alien to it.

    No, there is no venue in the minds of the tribe. The venue is a dynamic and culturally mortal part of the environment.

    > Agreed, I must make some set of performances that another person
    > interprets.

    At this point, my urge is to hold my hand up and say, stop, listen to what you just said.

    > Yes, replication requires an environment.


    > The culture cannot give a signifier a 'proper' meaning.

    The culture is the only thing that can give a signifier any meaning. And I think I'm understanding sign and signifier now.

    > I would say that mutation of a meme occurs when the interpreting person
    > generates a different meme in their mind than the expressing person
    > holds.

    Fine, and they must do this, perhaps, unless accident caused the mutation in another performance, but, the memeinthemind model doesn't want to discuss the aleatory, and I can understand why. But, when this thought about a way to change the original performance happens in a mind, the only way to get it to culture is to perform it. It has to get out there, and the only way to get it out there is within a performance, and the only way another can ever have a thought about how to change it any more is to see it in this second performance in the first place.

    There is no escaping the need for a performance, and, IMHO, what one cannot escape from _is_ the meme.

    > The brain must have an environment, and it always will. But a
    > specific environment is not necessary and the environment without
    > those -thoughts- is not sufficient.

    The brain must have an environment to survive, yes, in a sort of individual and natural survival. But culture is _not_ an example of individual survival and never has been. A very specific environment is necessary for cultural survival, and it is this specific environment that is the cultural venue, and it is this cultural venue that supplies all meaning to the performers and observers within it, and it is this cultural venue that commands the parameters around the thoughts in the minds of its participants.

    If culture were possible with one mind I'd be more than willing to say the meme was there, as well as all of the venue and both performer and observer.

    - Wade

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