RE: New Memes Book

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue 05 Apr 2005 - 11:36:10 GMT

  • Next message: Steve Wallis: "Re: Derrida"


    Been off over Easter, and have returned to find a welter of memetics postings. Only time to offer a brief comment on dipping into all the messages.

            <This is certainly true, but not - on my account - because the wheel is a
    > meme. I'd say that the wheel itself does not contain any information
    > about which of its characteristics is significant - information that
    > would be contained in an actual blueprint. If someone who knows about
    > wheels, or at least about how to build other things from the materials
    > involved, brings his existing memes to the situation, then he could use
    > them to construct a new representation of that wheel, with information
    > about the wheel's materials, construction, size, etc. But that
    > information is not intrinsic to the wheel.>
    I seem to recall a discussion a while back on the list that mentioned a baseball bat in this sense. It's a very simply implement to make a copy of
    (well for someone who can work wood) but it's inherent function and purpose is not conveyed by the bat itself.

    Performance seems to come back to mind as well though, beyond just representations being enough for memes, or at least the static representations of, say, a blueprint.

    I've recently been studying British Sign Language, and one of the interesting things is how the 'dictionary' of signs we've been given isn't that good for many signs, because they involve motions that only an instructor can really convey. (Actually as a social scientist having to learn something almost entirely from copying what someone else is doing, is a refreshing change, and a challenge.)

    The offside rule in football (soccer to our american cousins) on paper is very difficult to understand, and even professional footballers have a difficult time trying to explain it, but show some TV footage of an offside goal and everyone but the linesman and referee at the game can see what it means.

    Does that have much to do with structures in the brain and so on as Chris Taylor was railing against? I don't know. But books are reproduced, TV programmes videotaped, films put onto DVDs, music onto MP3 etc. etc. Representational artefacts are being reproduced (replicated?) at a rate we've never seen before.

    Sorry for the meandering comments that the discussion has long since passed beyond. Just wanted to show I'm still out here for what it's worth.


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