From: Scott Chase (email@example.com)
Date: Fri 08 Apr 2005 - 04:57:11 GMT
--- Steve Wallis <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Interesting - reminds me of the economics concept of
> "externalities" (uncontroled and frequently
> unrecognized outputs from exchanges).
> I speculate that every interaction (be it money,
> or memes) results in both expected and unexpected
> outcomes. Anything which is unexpected would be
> (from someone's point of reference).
> This, in turn, suggests that memes might be
> accidently, during purposeful interactions.
> Eventually, enough un-noticed building-block-memes
> pile up until it is large enough to create a system
> that affects society. Then, it may be named and
> discussed by sociologists.
The accidental generation would be a serendipity. You're not expecting something fruitful to happen when you're just going about your business, it just happens sometimes and this unexpected consequence of purposeful behavior could be co-opted into a novel way of doing things if it has some utility. It didn't originate because you were looking for it. You could have been looking for something completely different at the time.
Diverging a bit from what you're talking about, I
think *unintentional* consequences of behavior is the
stuff of casuistry in ethics. Unintentional
conseqences of a decision to act could be good, bad or
*neutral*. If you spray insecticide on an anthill tomorrow, the world could end in 2032 so be careful about the unforeseen chain of events you might unleash. Yet sitting at home and doing nothing might itself lead to Armageddon in 2032 because you may have been in a place to put a halt to these events if only you had walked out your door at the right time. The Antichrist might spot you walking out your door turn their head and get killed crashing their bicycle into a parked SUV. But if you sprayed the anthill, a future generation of ants might not have had the chance to migrate to the Antichrist's yard and bite the Dark One causing a fatal allergic reaction. Didn't Nostradamus say something about the Antichrist being in danger of ant bites?
Diverging even more, in evolution Gould had pondered
nonaptive consequences of natural selection acting on
organisms, calling these spandrels. The sheer size and
complexity of the human brain may have arisen due
directly to natural selection (and thus be an
adaptation) in ancestral environments, but nonaptive
spinoffs or byproducts could arise as a consequence of
this size and complexity. These features wouldn't have
an explanation that requires going back to the
environment of evolutionary adaptedness to ponder the
historic origin or for us to consider them an
adaptation in themselves. Gould, borrowing from
arguments Freud supposedly made somewhere, offered
religion as one possible consequence of being brainy
due to being able to reflect on mortality, but there
could, even if religion doesn't qualify, be others.
Not that there's any semblance of expectation or
intention in evolution via selection, but there could
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