From: Kate Distin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri 06 May 2005 - 09:30:47 GMT
Bill Spight wrote:
> Dear Kate,
>> Where I was going with my suggestion (which is only
>> that - a thought I had while composing the message) was that, while
>> the how-to knowledge is a transmissible bit of information, the
>> physical ability is not transmissible.
> We largely agree there, too. But the physical ability is trainable and
> the training is social.
The training is social in so far as it involves conversations and other
interactions with the trainer: that's the process by which s/he conveys
the how-to knowledge. But in the end the physical ability has to be
learned individually. I can remember starting my young cousin off on
the violin: she's a very bright girl who had rarely encountered any new
thing she couldn't master, and was reduced to sheer frustration,
responding to advice with phrases like, "Yes, I *know* what my fingers
should be doing. It's just that I can't make them do it!"
>> I'm wondering whether, when we learn a complex skill like
>> violin-playing or walling, there is both a social and an individual
>> learning element to it. So there is information that can be shared
>> about it (the how-to knowledge) and an ability that can only develop
>> through individual practice. This is why, no matter how many books
>> they may read, seminars they may attend or videos they may watch,
>> some people will never be as skilled as others. Their individual
>> learning potential (both innate ability and tendency to stick at it)
>> is more limited so the results are less impressive.
>> So maybe there are phenomena that we think of as being a part of
>> culture (like dancing and playing music), which are actually not
>> memes but individual responses to memes.
> Is it either/or?
It is either/or in the sense that something either is a meme or it is
not. But of course there is a memetic element to dance, music and
comparable bits of culture. I'm just wondering whether there's any
explanatory mileage in noticing that there is also a non-memetic,
non-social element to them: an element that is due to individual
learning and response.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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