Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Mon Jan 14 2002 - 15:52:05 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception
    Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 07:52:05 -0800
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    Hi, Jeremy.

    I like most of your ideas but I'm puzzled by some. What is the nature of
    the "mapable code," for instance? And why do you call our linguistic system

    I've personally run into the problem of being called a "barbarian" in China
    and a "foreign devil." This zenophobic attitude pervades China at every
    level, with villagers I encountered sometimes comming up short, taking a
    step back and exclaiming, "Aiyo! Yang Gui." which means approximately, "Oh
    my. A foreign devil!"

    There was also a feeling that anyone who didn't speak their language was a
    barbarian and you don't have to be nice to a barbarian. Until the invasion
    of American culture and our fixed price concept, everything was negotiable
    in Taiwan and your reputation was partly based on how well you haggled over
    price. At that time I noticed that there was a hierachy based on dialect.
    You gave the best price to family and friends. The next best price went to
    people from the same village. After that came people of the same linguistic
    group (Taiwanese vs.mainlander and North Taiwanese vs. South) and of course,
    foreign barbarians paid the highest price of all. That attitude has changed
    in the last couple of decades and haggling for small stuff has pretty much
    gone out of style. But there is a residual bias reflecting those attudes
    that still pops up now and then.

    I believe that there is a mapable code, which can
    >be read into every cultural artefact. It is the basis of the 'Social
    >Contract' to which members of a society mutually subscribe. It is what
    >makes members of a 'civilisation' believe that they are 'civilised'.
    >Conversely, our memeticly created sociality (being based on a binary
    >linguistic system) has difficulty in defining 'Others' as being civilised
    >at all. Herein lies the basis of conflict.

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