Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id UAA03194 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Tue, 8 Jan 2002 20:02:03 GMT X-Authentication-Warning: cheetah.nor.com.au: Host [18.104.22.168] claimed to be nor.com.au Message-ID: <3C3B5391.BB1B3142@nor.com.au> Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 07:16:18 +1100 From: Jeremy Bradley <firstname.lastname@example.org> X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.08 [en] (Win95; I) To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Wade's hammer References: <200201081219.g08CJ7S10778@sherri.harvard.edu> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
Unfortunately due to illness in my family I don't have a lot of time to chat so
this breif explaination will have to do for a little while. I hope that it will
answer your questions.
My field is narratology Wade. This is, I admit, not just the study of stories.
distinction is that whilst a story is a narrative, a narrative is more than a
story, it is a
fundamental element of culture.
The narrative within a story is subtle. We are aculturated even as pre
by the events that surround us; even more so by the tales of our early
stories carry codes that normalize our world and the events that happen within
it. As an
example I offer this short tale:
Once upon a time there lived a poor Prince. He left his father’s Kingdom in
search of his
fortune and, after many difficulties, married the daughter of a wealthy Emperor.
lived happily ever after. The End.
Beneath this simple story lies the linear/progressive narrative form which
‘Western’ cultural values into every story from Gen. 1.1 to the latest news
bulletin. It has
enabled a version of human culture to pretend superiority over those who have
‘progressed’ (i.e.. under developed, uncivilized, backward, primitive, etc.). To
further I will break the story into its memetic, or culturally normative,
‘Once upon a time’ normalizes the concept of linear time within our culture. It
that there was a beginning to time and that there will be an end to time.
whether real or imagined, occur on that ‘time-line’. There are cultures that
eternity as an interaction of greater and lesser cycles as evidences by day and
moon cycles, fertility and seasonal cycles, tides and so forth.
‘Poor’ and ‘Prince’ recognize that it is normal for us to accept the existence
social structures based on inherited social and material privilege. His
discontent at being
‘poor’ recognizes that these hierarchies operate on a good/bad scale with
and power at the good end and poor commoners on the bad end.
Journeys to other lands in such fundamental tales normalize expansion of
hence colonization, (see ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ for example). Our hero
overcomes difficulties which challenge his courage, intelligence and integrity.
elements, whatever they may be, cement in place his culturally specific values
superior to those which he overcomes and hence propagates notions cultural
in the recipients of the tale; mostly impressionable children.
His marriage to the Emperor’s daughter is proof of his superiority. And
after’ raises the expectation that we too can improve our material and social
achieving lasting happiness, by emulating the behaviors of the hero. I observe
some of these behaviors involve trickery, deceit and theft, (see ‘Jack’ again).
The commonality in this type of story is that they are patriarchal, they must
towards a point and they ideally have an outcome, (from the pointy end), which
beneficial to the hero. In short they are structured in the image of man
So how else can a story-code function? My study has revealed a range of
forms which differ widely from our own, and I suggest that you read Knudson and
Suzuki’s ‘Wisdom of the Elders’ for a better understanding of this. The example
will sketch for you, though much simplified, is typical of an Australian
These tales usually have four parts. They begin with the establishment of a
This is a stability arising from a ‘land’, its People and their language.
Typically a crisis
arises either from ‘bad’ behavior by a member of the group or from the
intervention of an
outside agent/s. There are usually three challenges to the group. The first
results in some
damage to the group. The second is resisted unsuccessfully. The spiritual guide
protector/s then offer to help or are invoked by the ‘medicine’ person and with
assistance the ‘evil’ is defeated and the status-quo is restored. A further
provided by the formation of a permanent reminder in the physical world, often a
prominent landmark, to the people not to stray from the stability of the
The ‘form’ of the story is therefore cyclical, it moves from stability, to
crisis, to a
resolution which restores stability and onto the formation of a visual reminder
stability and harmony are the paramount values within the culture.
The cyclical narrative form is, I believe, the core element in some of the
cultures on God’s Earth; the many Nations of Australia. It is because of this
that these cultural systems have resisted the predation of colonization.
As you can see, I am not so much concerned with memetic 'mutation', or low-rider
Sorry all but that's all from me for a few days
Wade T. Smith wrote:
> Hi Jeremy Bradley -
> >What I do is
> >use memetics as a 'tool' to find evidence for cultural manipulation in our
> So, you might think of a meme as a mathematical formula derived from the
> patterns of cultural, uh, what? Propagation? Mutation?
> How do you determine what is mutated, and how?
> In what sense are, say, low-rider jeans a mutation from pantaloons?
> How do we speciate culture? And are we justified in doing so, when
> culture itself is a product of only one species?
> - Wade
> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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