From: Wade T. Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue 17 Jun 2003 - 23:49:02 GMT
On Tuesday, June 17, 2003, at 06:23 PM, Kenneth wrote:
> I won 't be backsliding Wade, that 's for sure, but I keep on
> wondering about the effects of the cultural venue upon the
> individual...no matter how far you turn the clock back, ' we ' observe
> as individuals each performance, each artifact differently, it may be
> close, but not exact, it is not the same, not even self- same as you
> did claim, but what we in the end observe is ours ! The mind is one of
> the agents, yes...but the mind has its own uniqueness over and over
> again, no perception of any per- formance if the self- same in any
> observing mind...so, do we talk here about a " solipsistic " aspect or
> not.....!? I am puzzled by this....
(First, thanks, Kenneth- I'm not here to make friends, hell, I'm a
crusty old fart, and I'm not anywhere to make friends, but, I am
gratified to know that this model of performance is not lost to all, if
only because I really do think it has something to it.)
I would answer you by saying that, hey, culture did not come first
before individualism. It did not come first before self-consciousness.
It did not come first even before society. All these other things came
first. Culture is an organizational and evolutionary product itself of
the facts that humans had self-consciousness, and imitative behaviors,
and society, and individual minds with unique experiences, and all of
this very complex mix gathers in time and place as a culture, through
all sorts of influences and mechanisms, from the need to urinate and
eat and reproduce and sleep, to the desire for artistic expression and
the liking for riding a bicycle fast and the need to regulate traffic.
Culture is an environment, not an instinct. It is reacting at the same
time as influencing. It is evolving.
Yes, there are effects upon the individual from the venue- dire ones in
the case of fundamental religions and other isolationist philosophies-
and manipulative ones- but all cultures have to deal with the effects
of the individual upon the venue- or they will perish. And, yes, venues
have perished a million times for lack of adaptation to the
individuals, (remember the Edsel), or lack of suitable environment,
(remember Dukakis), just as species have. Any dead language is an example of an extinct cultural venue.
Are there feedback loops within the venue between the venue and the
individuals within it? Of course. And if they were all the same, these
agents, and the venue, continually feeding back, there would be no
evolution of that culture. Several societal cultures have been in
existence for thousands of years, in forms coherent enough over time to
be called by one name, such as most religions, and mercantilism, and
prostitution, and philosophy, and science. It is through the agencies
of the individuals within that culture that it evolves, and it has to
deal with these mutational agencies. Some cultures can deal with
mutational agencies from without, such as science, and that strange
system that is the state-based representative government of the US.
Some cannot, like aboriginal cultures or tribes. After all, even the
french now eat Big Macs, but the Louvre does not have arches.
There are constant feedback loops in genetic evolution, of course. This
is generally what speciation is. Culture can be more adaptive than
genetics to outside influences, and usually is. The Shakers are a very
good example of a rigid non-adaptive culture, and, for the most part,
it is gone entirely.
Too much control is like too much structure- like the oak, it falls in
the wind. Not enough control is like the grass, trampled with the
slightest weight. Evolution keeps small species in small nooks of
survival. Humans have the entire earth as their nook.
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