From: Ray Recchia (email@example.com)
Date: Sun 15 Jun 2003 - 04:13:29 GMT
From: "Wade T. Smith" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 14:33:23 -0400
Subject: Re: definition of meme
> On Friday, June 13, 2003, at 02:07 PM, Ray wrote:
> > Can you explain the increase in creativity as anything other than a
> > cultural phenomenon?
> Creativity is a function of the human brain, and has been such a
> function for, as we now know, at least a few hundred thousand years, if
> not several.
> And, _prove_ there has been an 'increase in creativity'- as this is
> indeed a hand-waving claim used, in many cases, to explain why aliens
> _had_ to have been there to help poor early slack-jawed
> homo-not-quite-sapiens build the pyramids.
I have no idea what you are saying here.
> The innate capacity for creativity in homo sapiens is not a cultural
> phenomenon, although culture takes advantage of it.
Culture emphasizes, focuses and refines it. Suppose I'm an writer and my
a producer gives me the task of writing a romantic screen play. First,
the fact that my boss is giving me this task is a cultural phenomenon. I
may not have engaged in this task if not for the economic incentive.
Second, culture gives me the base from which to develop my screenplay. I
can draw on past romantic screen plays as a starting point. If I have an
open culture with many such screen plays, it provides a richer history on
which to draw. Culture also directs my variation. I know that certain
variation will either not be appropriate. I can't take the Love Story
from Titanic, and just change it by making everyone have blue hair.
Tomorrow I have to prepare a motion for court which will involve all of
the processes I have described above. I have to describe to the court
why an opponent government agency has to hire outside council to
prosecute its case. I wouldn't be doing the motion if there weren't an
economic incentive. In other cultures there might not be any incentive.
Not every culture would give the same value to confidentiality and the
rule of law. In preparing my motion I will look at other motions that
have been prepared under similar circumstances. My particular motion
will require a very creative process to show that the rule applied in
other cases is also applicable to my situation. I know that this
creativity must be exercised within cultural bounds and that sending my
brief in with rainbow colors for the lettering may be pretty and
creative, but will not increase the chances of my brief being accepted.
> Any increase in creativity would be the direct result of the increase
> in humanity. Cultures have to deal with such numbers, or they will
I think you could have recognized the counter to this argument if you
worked at it a bit.
If the increase in creativity were directly proportional to numbers this
would mean that China and India would be the cultures adding more to the
arts and sciences than any other nations. Is that really correct? I
don't think so.
> - Wade
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