Re: reading a book

From: Kate Distin (
Date: Mon 16 May 2005 - 08:06:57 GMT

  • Next message: Kenneth Van Oost: "Re: reading a book"

    Kenneth Van Oost wrote:
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: Kate Distin <>
    > I am trying to catch up,
    > you wrote,
    >>Clearly there is a difference between the blue tit first learning to
    >>peck, and then learning where that behaviour might again be useful. But
    >>this doesn't make it obvious to me that one sort of learning is
    >>disqualified from being memetic (actually I don't think either example
    >>is memetic, but that's not the point). Why should information about
    >>where to apply a skill be any different from information about how to
    >>acquire that skill, or information about anything else for that matter?
    >> It's all information.
    > << Yes, indeed it is, but would it matter where I should apply the skill
    > learned to kill people with car- bombs, than it would matter how and
    > where I learned it !?
    > It is all information but the former would be more important to you
    > if you lived in the States of the present date, than you should be aware
    > that the skill can be learned in some hot forgotten corner of Afghanistan.
    > Neither of both parts of information are really important to me, believe
    > me, living in the outskirts of Ghent ( Belgium), but the info about why
    > people are willing to acquire such skills and why they pick specific
    > targets is, being part of a memetic group. It is important to the memetic
    > lay- out of my interest to indulge myself in such a kind of information,
    > but again, where to apply it and how to acquire it is of no importance,
    > untill something happens of course, to me.
    > It is of importance for a teacher of Kung- Fu or karate to know why
    > a pupil wants to acquire the skills, both being rather a way of life than
    > they are in the real sense sports.
    > In such a case the information is different of the one holding the key
    > of how to acquire the skill.
    > Regards,
    > Kenneth
    > If the kid wants to get rid off a rival in order to get laid, the teacher
    > will reject his application to join the club.

    I agree with you that information can be more or less relevant depending on the circumstances - or to put it another way the memes will be more or less successful in gaining/retaining human attention depending on the context. Also, as you imply, there is a moral element to the choices we make about which information we act on.

    I think this ties in with my view that the thing that marks out memes is not how they are replicated (imitation or otherwise) but something about their content.


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