Re: reading a book

From: Bill Spight (
Date: Mon 25 Apr 2005 - 19:14:22 GMT

  • Next message: Bill Spight: "Re: reading a book"

    Dear Kate,

    > When I stress the importance of humans' ability to free information
    > from its original context, I don't mean that memes should be "context
    > free" in the sense of "independent of *any* context". As you say,
    > it's from context that information often derives much of its meaning
    > - and certainly it's context that gives us clues about appropriate
    > behaviour based on that meaning.
    > What I see as significant is our ability to move information between
    > contexts - to choose how and in what medium it should be represented.
    > It is this which has enabled human culture to develop such breadth
    > and depth. Unlike genes, which have just one medium and system of
    > representation (RS), in culture not only the information itself has
    > evolved but also its RSs and media.

    I think that it's important to distinguish between memes, as units of cultural transmission, with what is done with them. Human imagination is
      much more powerful and varied than animal imagination, if we may even speak of such. And there are kinds of memes that can only be human. But they constitute only part of human culture. And it's not the other way around. I don't know of any type of meme (unit of cultural transmission) in animal culture that doesn't also exist in human culture. That's why I think it is preferable to have a broad definition of memes, even broad enough to encompass animal culture.



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