From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 15:12:46 GMT

  • Next message: Richard Brodie: "RE: selfsameness"

    Selfsame -
        Precisely the same; the very same; identical.

    Lawry offers that the level of understanding by person B about person A's ideas is a result of the quality of performance of person A and a result of the level of cultural and personal insight of person B. Of course, I agree with this. It is also a result of the level of allowance given to the performance and to the idea, which is a quality of the venue. (A forum of communists will not allow criticism of Marx.) All three factors are part of the level of understanding, and therefore part of the level of identity in replication. But about ideas, and the motivations in the mind of physical behaviors, we cannot make a claim of selfsameness.

    After all, what idea is in the mind of a priest? Is it the selfsame love of jesus idea that is the mind of a devout spinster? They both pray the same, go to the same church, speak the same words, sing the same hymns, eat the same wafer, drink the same wine. As we well know, given the amount of protection and isolation offered to priests by the oligarchy of the church, many there may only have been mimicking the actions of the devout, playing a role, (as it has been shown all humans are quite willing and able to accomplish), thereby showing the surrounding culture 'devotion', but all the while planning his next pederasty. Indeed, the priesthood may well have appeared to be a very safe place to be a pederast, as there was, for generations, no punishment for this crime, and insulation from the civic authorities. Priest1 is not priest2, nor are their identical performances indicative of identical motivations. Sorry for the horrific example, but, this holds throughout all human behavior. (There is a wonderful palestinian film doing the rounds now called Divine Intervention, in which the first scene is of a man driving through his neighborhood, waving and smiling to the pedestrians and others on the street. But he's murmuring, all the while, 'asshole', 'cuckold', 'son of a whore'.... Very funny scene.)

    We cannot know the ideas behind anyone's behavior, not really. This is a glaring error of all memeinthemind models. Performance does not equal idea. Intention is not complete in action. Performance is not a pure analog of idea. Inference needs to happen. The observer does not receive the meme in some telepathic instant, and that, Richard, if you're there, is the only way any identical or selfsame or same meme can get from one mind to another, as it's the only way _anything_ can get identically from one mind to another, and I refuse to stop to claim that telepathy is the only _possible_ mechanism for a meme to be the same from one mind to another, if I stoop to assume there is a meme in there in the first place, and, as you know, I am not standing behind
    _that_ model. Thought transference, which is telepathy, is idea transference, as ideas are only in minds, being intact and with any self-same identity at all. (And once one has dismissed the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, should be part of one's model.) The process of performance, observation, and following performance is not a process of passage of identical entities to and from different brains, but a process of motivated bodily action, sensory perception, and inferred analysis. Meme1 is not meme2, even
    _if_ you demand that the meme be in the mind. As Lawry has said, identical replication of the memeinthemind is not really a useful mechanism for cultural _evolution_, as identical replication of the geneinthebody it is not for genetic evolution, either.

    Yes, certain cultural environments (venues) will produce performances that will, perhaps, be ideationally and motivationally and certainly observationally very similar. When muslims bow to Mecca, en masse, in a mosque, in unison, one may well make a reasonable assumption that they are all proclaiming their devotion to Allah. But, how reasonable is this assumption for a single one of these muslims? After all, bowing can become a very automatic behavior, and he may be thinking about his job, or his wife, or that Allah is a jerk for making him do this, or anything else, which has no ideational or motivational interaction with his performance at the moment. It is a statistical median analysis, that the same idea is motivating the behaviors of any group or other cultural clanning of people.

    Performance is not idea. Idea is not performance. (The performance model goes on to say performance is meme, therefore meme is not idea. I know this concept is difficult to grasp.)

    If you don't perform the first four notes of the Fifth, even the culture that knows they come from the Fifth (a rather specific venue, even with Ludwig's household name status), does not know you are thinking about them, and a culture that knows nothing of the Fifth won't learn anything about those four notes. And if any culture does not know you are thinking of something, it can't _do_ anything. And the last time I looked, evolution was a process of _doing_, not merely a process of thought. Your performance of these four notes can be used by culture, but nothing _merely_ in your head can be. And there is no way to empirically show that even the memory of those notes in one brain are the selfsame as the memory of those notes in another, and yet, that is what the memeinthemind models ask us to swallow, hook, line, and sinker, and not just the memory, but something called a subclass of memory. What? Where? How? _This_ is an operating and predictive model?! Yeah, right....

    Sorry, my mouth does not stay open that long.

    - Wade

    =============================================================== 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 : Wed 18 Jun 2003 - 15:21:41 GMT