From: Kate Distin (email@example.com)
Date: Sun 17 Apr 2005 - 08:09:45 GMT
Price, Ilfryn wrote:
> Dear Bill
>>>Making a better story suggests an increase in memetic fitness. Also, it
> seems not to be uncommon. How many times are tales and accounts enhanced
> in the retelling to make a better story? (Whether consciously or
> unconsciously.) How does that happen? What does it imply for memetics?
> Best regards,
> It implies, or is at least consistent with the argument that the story is a meme (or a small memeplex). Enhancement increase
> replication. This assumes you take, or consider for the sake of argument, the view that memes are replicating stories or
> discourses. They exist in language.
It also ties into the question about how active human minds are in meme
replication, mutation, selection, etc. As Bill says, stories can be
enhanced for increased memetic fitness (i.e. better able to gain and/or
retain human attention) either consciously or unconsciously - and this
implies that the mind is something separate from the memes that it
manipulates and responds to. We have an interesting experience, but when
we represent it in anecdote form (language, as you say, If) we also
reshape it into the best form to grab others' attention.
This gives me a couple of extra thoughts. The first is to wonder whether
this reshaping is itself a form of metarepresentation: we represent the
story to ourselves and then think about how it could better be represented.
The second is that one thing I like about Blackmore's approach is her
emphasis on the "memes' eye view" - the possibility of seeing the world
from different perspectives, including the memetic pov. It makes me
think there may be a two-level thing going on when we reshape our
experiences into catchy anecdotes. From a genetic perspective (I mean
in terms of gaining social advantages of the sort that enhance power or
sexual attractiveness) it may be that we have an innate understanding of
the sorts of reshaping that will get more attention/kudos for *us* as a
result of the stories we tell. Or at least an innate ability to acquire
this information along with the other social knowledge we gain as we grow.
But then from a memetic persepctive this innate understanding can be
hijacked by individual memes (stories) in order to increase their
memetic fitness. And of course we do know that good story-tellers, and
the socially advantaged, get more attention for their memes than others,
less articulate or powerful, do.
Is this an admission that for these memes their fitness is dependent on
any genetic advantages that they confer on their "owners"? I don't
think so - just that from their pov here is a mechanism (which may
happen to be partly genetic in origin) that they can exploit. Often
their success may coincide with genetic (social) advantage - but often
it won't, I guess: I can tell a story that gets your attention by
apalling you or horrifying you, at no advantage to myself.
Sorry - rather a ramble.
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