Re: story-telling

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Sun 17 Apr 2005 - 16:58:07 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: story-telling"

    Keith Henson wrote:
    > At 09:09 AM 17/04/05 +0100, Kate wrote:
    >> 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.
    > Using the "meme's eye view" (or the gene's) is a wonderful semantic
    > trick that allows us to use the language of purpose as a shortcut to the
    > same conclusion that we would get to by using the passive replication
    > and selection concepts from Darwinian evolution. (Genes/memes become
    > more or less common over the passage of time.) Richard Dawkin's
    > popularized this trick if he didn't invent it.
    > But it is *just a semantic trick/shortcut.* For all the value of it,
    > there are so many people who take it literally that I am not sure the
    > speed up in reaching conclusions is worth the misunderstanding it causes.
    > In any case, if you use the "memes' eye view" you definitely need to put
    > in a disclaimer.
    > Keith Henson

    It may be that I'm misusing her phrase. By "the memes' eye view" I didn't really intend to refer to the trick of talking about memes (or indeed genes) as though they had a point of view - but rather that it is possible to tell many different stories about the same events. Nothing new about this: we can describe humans in physical, chemical, biological, psychological, social, etc. terms. Each sort of description has its uses in its own context, of course, and I'd say that we can usefully add "memetic" to that list. So we can describe the same set of events memetically (how the story has evolved over time, which versions were fitter, which circumstances resulted in this increased fitness . .
    .) or genetically (how the storytellers' behaviour was influenced by their genes, etc.) or psychologically (what it felt like to the storyteller; how he would describe his motives; how his listeners responded . . .), etc.

    That's really all I meant.


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