Re: RS string

From: Dace (
Date: Sun 23 Apr 2006 - 19:59:31 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: RS string"


    > At 10:50 PM 4/19/2006 -0700, Dace wrote:
    > >There's no flow of information from one person to the next. You're
    > >analogically when you should be thinking digitally. The information is in
    > >my mind. I write something that expresses to my satisfaction what I'm
    > >thinking. You read it. However, you fail to understand my point and
    > >therefore the information in my mind has not been transmitted to yours.
    > >It's not as if by writing it down and having you read it, I've managed to
    > >propell the information two-thirds of the way to your mind. It's all or
    > >nothing. Either the info is there, or in this case, it isn't.
    > If the information is "important" to get it right, then we have error
    > mechanisms that are very much like those used in electronic
    > To drag out baseball (rules) again as an example, the number of strikes
    > balls might be misunderstood when a kid first is learning the rules. The
    > people who do know the proper numbers will correct such misunderstandings.
    > So depending on the block size you want to consider "a meme" then it would
    > be possible for part of it rather than all of it to be conveyed.
    > I.e., if you consider the number of strikes to be a meme, it is either
    going to be
    > correct in the receptor mind or not. If you consider "baseball rules" to
    be the
    > meme, then only rare people have a completely accurate version of the
    > information in the rule book.

    As Katie would point out, only the rules, taken as an abstraction outside the context of any given game, would constitute an RS. If you learn baseball from a rulebook, then the baseball meme has been transferred. But if you learn baseball merely from watching and participating in games, then it's mere imitation. My point is that there's no more information contained in the rulebook than there is in the game itself, that in neither case is there information, which exists strictly within the mind as we *interpret* the relevant material. However, whether we learn baseball from a rulebook or from watching it, the relevant memes are still transferred from mind to mind. So I agree with Katie that no information is contained in the act itself but disagree that this denies a memetic transfer via imitation of the act. Furthermore, and this was my original point, RSs exist only in the mind, not physically, whether in the brain or any other object, including rulebooks. Once one person's RS has been reproduced in another person's mind, the meme has transferred, whether the intermediate material involved is a baseball game or a baseball handbook, a piano sonata or a musical score.

    While it's convenient to refer to a game as concrete and a handbook as abstract, in reality both are concrete, material items, and the abstraction exists only in our imagination. Indeed, without this tendency to endow the concrete with abstraction, games like baseball would lose their magic. After all, it's just a ball going over a fence. The home run is not on the field but in our own field of dreams.

    For a thing to exist physically is to be presented (ball over fence). For a thing to be represented is to exist mentally (home run).


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