RE: Abstractism

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 09:29:05 GMT

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    > Vincent Campbell <> "''" <> RE: AbstractismDate: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 12:31:38 -0000
    >Hi Joe,
    > <And it does that because it was engineered to do that by the
    >writer. Not just any meaning. Specifically intended meanings.>
    > And you of all people on this list should be aware that the intended
    >meaning is not necessarily the meaning taken by the user. Indeed, one would
    >have to look for memes in texts not in terms of particular meanings, but in
    >the potential for meaning, with the things that persist most being those
    >that successfully offer a multitude of interpretations. There's a really
    >good book by John Turney that explores the relationship between the
    >Frankenstein story and the development of medical science, and public
    >attitudes to such (it's called 'Frankenstein's Footsteps'). Whatever the
    >original intent of Shelley, "Frankenstein" has been co-opted time and again,
    >most recently in the 'Frankenstein foods' term used to denote GMOs.
    > I don't know who originated the phrase, perhaps you do, but there's
    >this idea of the 'semiotic machine' of texts (and ambiguous events) that
    >enable multiple interpretations that, in memetic terms, enhances their
    >transmission- Frankenstein, Dracula, Jack the Ripper, the Roswell Incident
    >etc. etc.
    The fact that a reader may extract a different meaning from a text than the writer intended to imbue it with does not change the fact that the writer specifically intended a meaning. Also, the very fact that the text can be READ, that is, that a person can DECODE a meaningful message at all according to a shared linguistic system, entails that a meaningful message was CODED there by a WRITER in that system, even if it does not communicate with high fidelity.
    > Vincent
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    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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