h1

spreading of textual variation (experiment)

October 28, 2007

Anatole Pierre Fuksas invited me to participate in this experiment: Mutating Genre Meme (more likely: ‘ecology of emerging new memes’)

———————————————————-

EXPERIMENT
Copy the questions, and before answering them, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:

* You can leave them exactly as is.

* You can delete any one question.

* You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question. For instance, you could change “The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is…” to “The best time travel novel in Westerns is…”, or “The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is…”, or “The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is…”.

* You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form “The best [subgenre] in [genre] is…”.

* You must have at least one question in your set, or you’ve gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you’re not viable.

Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions. Please do include a link back to the blog you got them from, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions.

Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers. Remember, though, your success as a Darwinian replicator is going to be measured by the propagation of your variants, which is going to be a function of both the interest your well-honed questions generate and the number of successful attempts at reproducing them.

My great-grandparent is A Blog Around the Clock.

My grandparent is Belgrad and Beyond.

My parent is The Ecology of the Novel.
————————————————————————

The best abstract painting in european art is:
Black square by Kazimir Malevich

The best mindpushing novel in pseudoethnography is:
The Art of Dreaming by C.Castaneda.

The best psychological film in science fiction is:
Stalker by Andrei Tarkovski.

Passing it to:
Pirkko Hyvonen
George Siemens
Martin Lindner

————————————————————————–

R. Dawkins has written: people could view many cultural entities as replicators, generally replicating through exposure to humans, who have evolved as efficient (though not perfect) copiers of information and behaviour.

Does the information have to be molecular at all? Memes. This is not something that I’ve ever wanted to push as a theory of human culture, but I originally proposed it as a kind of… almost an anti-gene, to make the point that Darwinism requires accurate replicators with phenotypic power, but they don’t necessarily have to be genes.

Memes do not always get copied perfectly, and might indeed become refined, combined or otherwise modified with other ideas, resulting in new memes. These memes may themselves prove more (or less) efficient replicators than their predecessors, thus providing a framework for an hypothesis of cultural evolution, analogous to the theory of biological evolution based on genes.

Wikipedia says: The meme as a unit simply provides a convenient way of discussing “a piece of thought copied from person to person”.

Charles J. Lumsden and Edward Osborne Wilson published a theory of gene/culture co-evolution in the book Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process. They argued that the fundamental biological units of culture must correspond to neuronal networks that function as nodes of semantic memory. Wilson later adopted the term meme as the best existing name for the fundamental unit of cultural inheritance.

Memes spread by the behaviors that they generate in their hosts. Memes have as an important characteristic their propagation through imitation

Memetic drift refers to the process of a meme changing as it replicates between one person to another.
Memetic drift increases when meme transmission occurs with variations.
Generations of hosts pass on these changes in the phenotype. Folk tales and myths often become embellished in the retelling to make them more memorable or more appropriate and therefore more impressed listeners have a greater likelihood of retelling them, complete with accumulating embellishments that may serve to modify human behavior.
Memes can move from one propagation medium to another (more efficient) one.

Very few memes show strong memetic inertia (the characteristic of a meme to manifest in the same way and to have the same impact regardless of who receives or transmits the meme).

Cultures can retain memes that once served a purpose during one epoch or era as vestigial memes.

So basically the meme talk is about spreading neuronal networks that function as nodes of semantic memory through action variables we can observe in behavior, or narrative variables which convey the meme in phenotype? Basically, spreading happens through some viewed action, listened narration or artifact mediation, when ideas were made external, toolisized, embedded to the environment for deliberate spreadout or as a by-product of our own activities.
That is well in line with what i think happens at any of our action – in order to use part of the environment for our actions, we need to make it our own, by toolisizing some of its objects through identifying some of their existence as affording our actions and emotions (basically during the neural processing we internalize ‘part of the objects’ from the environment that we may then name affordances, however if we do so, these affordances may be viewed through our behaved actions, narrations and artifacts by other people evoking similar neural patterns mirroring actions and emotions they see).

Meme is a content or meaning part, while meme propagation happens by decoding the meaning from mediation tools/artifacts?

Anatole thinks that ‘memes’ have to be eventually defined as emergent features instead of units of information residing in the brain. Ramifications of descriptions based on multiple potential affordances of described features are responsible of massive textual variation. Textual plasticity found both in oral and in literary traditions, from papyri to manuscript, from print to digital media supporting shared meaning based on collaboration, corroborate the idea that narratives have to be addressed as emergent features, encoded by means of symbolic systems and referring to perceptual events, actions and emotional correlates.

Do i get it right that in narrated text or written artifact we represent a set of affordances that emerged in action/emotion activation for ourselves (we simultaneously embodied part of objects for ourselves and inevitably embedded these embodied perspectives to in these objects). But if someone picks these perspectives (affordances) up from narrated texts, they will see these embedded perspectives (affordances) as correlates of their own embodied action/emotion of the similar kind. Of course that may not be exactly the same perspective (set of affordances) at all, what they have embodied. So it changes the affordances as they propagate them.

Question is, if meme is more like the meaning, while propagation is more like the action potentiality (affordances), we can imagine that in each person the whole reconstruction of the meaning will take place (like diSessa and Hammer etc. have explained will happen when people build up self-explanations of phenomena) rather than the meaning framework (or meme) was transplanted in them (like there are ideas of Stella Vosiniadou). How will these affordances (that are action/emotion related only?) propagate complicated meanings like some Pythagoras school of thinking?
———————-
Ok..so much of trying to understand the background of the experiment.
It is not so easy to write those following the rule: The best [subgenre] in [genre] is…!
I got in trouble with the genre and medium, especially the medium definition 🙂 – i think the medium is the tool where we have defined its affordances (novel – mindpushing), the thing what we spread via this medium is the emotion, action or meaning. Why i need to define genre and subgenre..for me they feel like affordances and i cannot define them when i want to propagate my action potentials, emotions or meanings what relate with these action potentials. The classification has no sense for me in this case, it is something we humans do as a game – classification. I never saw any need for that to propagate my embedded action potentials and emotions. Maybe? for systematic meaning propagation it has some sense? Donno…

Advertisements

2 comments

  1. It has for marketing lol! Besides kidding, I think they are taking this “The best [subgenre] in [genre] is…” format as a sample meme. Still, mutations are limited by rules that have been designed so to ease gradual evolution rather than stasis and punctuated equilibria. In my understanding, memes hardly can be considered as mutagenous till the pattern “The best [subgenre] in [genre] is…” remains unchanged. Till then it’s all just about messing up and mixing the genetic pool of the very same species, basically enjoying stasis in Gould-Eldredge terms. Indeed, if mutation doesn’t actually happens after somebody breeding from this lineage, I may eventually get back some code i would be able to ‘couple with’, processing it by the same rules.

    >I got in trouble with the genre and medium, especially the medium definition 🙂 – i think the medium is the tool where we have defined its affordances (novel – mindpushing), the thing what we spread via this medium is the emotion, action or meaning. Why i need to define genre and subgenre..for me they feel like affordances and i cannot define them when i want to propagate my action potentials, emotions or meanings what relate with these action potentials. The classification has no sense for me in this case, it is something we humans do as a game – classification. I never saw any need for that to propagate my embedded action potentials and emotions. Maybe? for systematic meaning propagation it has some sense? Donno…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: