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907Re: [biopoet] Re: Revolution - and: a Science of Memetic Culturology

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  • JT Velikovsky
    Dec 13, 2013
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      Hi Mike,

      Always great to chat with you about this stuff...
      Replies below -- (Hope they're not too cheeky!)

      On 13/12/2013 11:24 PM, tintner michael wrote:
      Oh jeez, JT, your heart is in a good place here, but your mind is confused.'

      Well - I agree with the middle part of the sentence; but totally disagree with the last part.
      And - I see you're confused, and, I raise your `confused' to a: bumfuzzled.
      ie - I think your mind is all *bumfuzzled* about all this.
      (And Yes - that is a real word. It went out of `mainstream circulation' years ago, but - I am trying to bring it back, as a meme)
      I also dig how, it sort of rhymes with `bamboozled.'
      And - to be honest, I tend to think you are: that, too.

      Ideas are indeed incredibly important, but they are fundamentally different from, and the OPPOSITE of programs/algos AND memes as defined by memetics.

      Ok -so: first of all:
      Almost nothing in Memetics so far (ie for the last 30 years) is worth trusting, as: true, reliable, and real.
      Sadly - It almost-all has to be thrown out...

      To see why - please read: (in full, and in this order)
      - Koestler, The Act of Creation (1964) 
      - Csikzentmihalyi Creativity (1996),
      - Simonton Creativity in Science  (2004) 
      - Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)

      ie -
      What has been the case, in Memetics - for over 30 years - since Dawkins (1976) proposed the idea - is that:

      ...Nobody has yet defined/identified - the structure of the meme. (The unit of: Culture)

      Therefore, before now - nobody has known (precisely, scientifically, empirically, objectively) what `Culture' actually, is.

      I also know how ridiculous that sounds - but: it's true.
      - Here we all are for millennia - all `swimming' in Culture:
      in - Bibles, and Films, Novels, Songs, Words, Gestures, funny slogans on bumper stickers, inventions, scientific theories
      and it was all just: Noise...
      ie We were like fishes in water. We can;t see the structure of the water. (Also as a fish - we don't have a microscope to look at the structure of the water, eg H2o)

      But - if this *new* (and improved, and very very different) theory of Memetics is correct - that's now changed.
      ie - We may now finally have: the Structure of the meme.
      (The unit of culture; the units of - all Culture. Science and the Arts. All ideas, processes, products.)

      We now - therefore - can: Create a proper Scientific paradigm... for Memetics-!
      (and -- for the definition/specifications of those (Scientific Paradigms) -- pls see:
      Chalmers 2000, What Is This Thing Called Science?)
      (as per: Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, etc)

      So - Mike, I guess, what you are not realizing is --

      We really do have to `throw out' almost everything that has been done in the Domain of Memetics so far.

      Sorry - but - that is what always happens, in these exact situations.
      When: a new scientific discovery comes along that: changes things.
      ...The Reason?
      Nobody before, knew exactly what the meme was. (Seriously.)
      So - everyone was fumbling around in the dark -
      Much like - those 3 crazy blind-guys with the elephant. "It's like a rope, it's like a wall, it's like a snake"
      (eg "What is a meme?" "Er - It's like - a song..." "No, it's a word..." "A song-word!" "um - It's sort of like a virus, or - something, vaguely...? ")

      Note - even those `3 blind guys and the elephant' is itself a meme... A viral idea (and: phrase) in culture.

      So, I reckon - what you need to realize, is:
      I have probably just: `wiped the slate clean' in Memetics.
      It's: a reboot.
      - It all `starts afresh' now - with those 2 x posts.

      (1) Scientific Definition of the Meme - the unit of culture
      (2) A Proper Scientific Paradigm for Memetics.

      Now, we all (ie - anyone) can go back - and can sift through, all the last 30 years of `findings'/ `writings' in Memetics,
      And we can check - which exact bits - are actually still correct/fit with this new reality. (this new: scientific paradigm)

      So - please - don't talk to me about "How Memetics is defined"... :)

      As - anything that has so far happened in Memetics... (eg about 100 x prior `definitions' of memes) before now was just: random guesses.
      It probably: mostly, all no longer applies.

      And - if any of it was, actually *right* after all, that's because mainly it was a lucky guess, or was just sort of based on good hunches/intuition.
      - Don't get me wrong, Dawkins, Dennett and Blackmore (etc) have all done a lot of truly amazing work. I love what they did.
      But for example - at least half of Blackmore's book `The Meme Machine' is totally wrong. Empirically.
      (I am going to blog on why, soon.)

      Er - so you just sent me a link with "ideas are what you make of them" ?
      Er... yes, but also: "The nuns run naked in Capistrano."
      ie You just threw a random meme at me.
      So, there - have one back. :)

      - You are giving me: random folk philosophy.
      - I am giving you: Science.

      - Here is another random proverb:
      "A bird in the hand - is worth two - dissected, on the scientific operating table."

      See what I did there.
      I selected a meme (ie "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush") - and I then varied it (ie - combined it - as an idea - with another idea, ie: an idea from Science, eg dissecting dead animals) and then - I transmitted it (into, this email - and back over to you.)

      That, my friend, is: the evolutionary algorithm at work.
      That - is How All Culture Works.
      Science - and the Arts.
      The whole, darn, shootin-match.

      (1) Selection (2) Variation (eg combination, and/or mutation) and (3) Transmission-with-heredity
      (The `heredity' there, was, that: the new `child'-meme inherited `traits'/elements/content from the 2 x parent-memes.)
      ie "A bird in the hand is worth -" ---- and ---- [insert that other science idea about the dissection]

      That - is how: All Culture happens.
      - That is all.

      It's all just memes, and genes and: the evolutionary algorithm - ie (Selection, Variation, Transmission)

      And - please don't tell me again, that this is wrong. (About: algorithms)
      If you really think that - you are probably in denial...

      whereas programs/algos/formulae and memes are specific, hard and meant to have only one "interpretation"/execution at any given point.

      Yeah - but - I also reckon you have made a massive category-error here:

      in - "programs/algos/formulae and memes are specific,"

      (1) Yes, memes are indeed: specific.
      (See my blog-post #100 - where I define them - incredibly specifically.)

      BUT --

      (2) Memes can also be ambiguous.
      eg Check my definition - on that Post #100.
      ie - A letter is a meme. A word is a meme. A sentence is a meme. A paragraph is a meme. A chapter is a meme. A novel is a meme.
      And a film is a meme. A scientific theory is a meme. (Memes are ideas, processes or products (or - various combinations, thereof). )

      So - These things (words, letters, novels, films) are all memes -- and: memes are all holons and holarchies -
      And - they (memes in culture) operate under: the 3 Laws of Holarchies.
      (Read: Koestler 1964.)

      But - I note: a word can be ambiguous. So can a sentence. So can a film. (ie - On purpose. Writers are tricky, like that.)

      So - you have said: "memes are specific, hard and meant to have only one "interpretation"/execution at any given point."
      But then - so - How would you explain words/sentences/paragraphs/films/novels with: double-meanings...? Or even triple-meanings? etc

      ie They are clearly meant to have: more than one "interpretation"/execution at any given point."

      So - Mike - I don't know where you are getting these ideas from but: I say, you need to go get your money back. :)

      Also I don't know that you can really make this assertion - and, expect to get away with it:
      "memes are specific, hard and meant to have only one "interpretation"/execution at any given point."
      ...How can you possibly know that?
      That's a very bold conjecture/assumption - that: doesn't stand up to experiment in/observation of, Reality.

      Also - before now - you didn't even know for sure, what a meme, was.
      ie - Nobody did.
      - It hadn't been properly (ie scientifically) defined.
      And in fact - I still think you dont `get' exactly - and precisely - what they are. (Forgive me if that's wrong, but that's the impression that I get)

      In Memetics - up to now - like any pre-paradigm Science, there were: about as many theories/definitions on `memes' - as there were, theorists.
      Hundreds of 'em...
      And all of them - pretty-random guesses.
      (See: Kuhn 1962. That's `the pattern' in the history of: all Scientific Domains.
      That's how: scientific/cultural evolution works...

      ie - Until we get the right tools to measure things, its just like Aristotle making very random (and pretty inaccurate) guesses -
      eg That everything's made of: earth wind and fire)
      (ie Maybe try using an electron-microscope next time, Ari-baby. Good try though.)

      So - The Domain of Memetics before now was: a complete mess.
      - All sorts of crazy theories floating around - and - nothing that anyone could really `pin down'.
      ie - Rafferty's Rules.
      A free-for-all.
      Anything Goes.
      (Note - those last 3 also were 3 x memes.)
      See what I did there...

      What I suggest you need to do now is stop general theorising for a while
      Very bad suggestion. I am on fire with the theorizing right now. And also with the practice. So - I am not stopping while this is all working like a charm. That would be silly.

      and do some detailed studies of the transmission of particular kinds of ideas -

      take a particular concept - any word in the language - and look at how its meanings/scope of reference have changed over centuries
      No - here is a better idea - You take my new paradigm for Memetics and you do that. Im busy with my 100,000 word thesis on all of this.

      take a law of a society -   and look how its interpretations have changed over time

      No - again, here is a better idea - YOU go do that. And use my new scientific paradigm, to do it. Seriously.

      take a classic story - like Romeo and Juliet - and look at how its interpretations by different authors have changed, and how the reinterpretations of just one particular interpretation like Shakespeare's Romeo & J, have changed. ,

      No - you go do that. And use my new Theory. It's awesome (its the latest and greatest technology in Memetics, seriously) -
      and it will work much better for you, than: just doing all of that -- with, no scientific theoretical paradigm behind/informing it all...

      Do that and your ideas about ideas will change radically.

      No they won't.
      How d I know this?
      - I have done all that stuff already.
      Using my new (and: awesome) Scientific Paradigm of Mememtics.

      So - Mike -
      (Just to select and vary and re-transmit your own meme from above)

      What I suggest you do now - is realize, that -- in those 2 posts, I have just suggested a Scientific way - of doing: all of the above.
      And - also - note it provides the tools to do it. (Tools that were not there, before, in the previously-chaotic Domain of: Memetics.)
      ie Note - Holons and holarchies - and their 3 Laws - were not ever in there before.
      Note how - that changes things now. Seriously!

      And - besides, I have also just done it all, with the 40 x films in my doctoral study.
      (You seem to be: missing that...?)

      And - in my "list of things for Memetics to now investigate" (in Post #101) I listed out many more examples than you just did, (eg like: look at Romeo and Juliet, and look at the history and evolution over time of certain words, etc)
      but - mine (my suggestions for Memetics `research tasks'/experiments, like those) were all better.
      Go check them, and compare.
      (aw man I am so cheeky, I can never believe it myself)

      But - thing is (and - this troubles me a little) - you clearly, have not really understood - at all - what you read, if you did indeed read, those 2 posts.
      (ie -- Is it not super-clear, what I have said, in those 2 x posts? - I really thought that it was all super-clear.)

      So - What I'd suggest you maybe do -- is - read both again:
      (and, note how - They do exactly what you just suggested above, but: actually, with Science.)

      #100 - Holonic Structure of the Meme: the unit of culture
      #101 - A Science of Memetic Culturology

      And if you can see any specific flaws - please, point them out.

      So far, you are not providing any specific feedback,
      You are just giving me general, and only very-vaguely-related, pretty non-useful ideas.

      ie - You're suggesting that I: go and do what I just did, but - your suggestions are all much vaguer than -- What I just did, in those 2 posts..?.
      That's all too vague and fluffy.
      I am not going to be taking your suggestion. At all. I am going to keep pushing ahead what I just started to its logical end.
      (Which by some coincidence - includes, over time - doing what you suggest, but doing it all in: a scientific way.)

      Ideas (not algos) generate human actions both individually and socially - and creativity. But it is their *openness to interpretation* that makes them so powerful.

      The evolutionary algorithm (selection, variation, transmission) generates: new ideas (memes) and new life (organisms).
      Ideas can certainly generate actions. Sometimes.
      eg "Why don't I go to the shop, and get some milk...?"

      But the evolutionary algorithm drives people (all organisms) to have sex (and - to survive, and reproduce.)
      So - that is clearly an algorithm - `generating' human (and animal) actions...?

      Sure, ideas can sometimes generate some actions too. Why not.
      But - many ideas don't generate any actions at all:
      eg Here is an idea: "a big fat nothing."
      What actions did it generate?
      (Answer: a big fat nothing)

      Look - so, here it is again:
      Both Biology and Culture works via: gene - and meme -- selection, variation (e.g. combination) and transmission.
      That is all.

      That is: both Biological, and Cultural Evolution.
      - If you want to truly understand it, then please read those 2 posts...

      If not, that's fine, but from everything you say here - I don't think, you're understanding the potentially-far-reaching implications of all this.
      ie - It is possible (even: probable, given the odds) that - we just had our `Watson & Crick 1953' moment - in Culture.
      (ie If you have hundreds of people - over 30 years - all trying to crack a hard problem in a domain - eg "Define the meme" - then sooner or later, given probability - one of them will probably crack it.) Its just: the law of large numbers. Probability.
      Then everyone congratulates that `one random guy' and suddenly he's: a genius.
      (Side note - People have now started Congratulating me, on those 2 posts. It's all a bit scary frankly.)

      And so - Mike - if you still can't come at these ideas, What I would suggest you really need to do - is read Koestler 1964 (The Act of Creation.)
      That's all I can really suggest at this point...
      - It will unconfuse you. (Just my own view... of course.)

      Then - read Creativity, 1996. (Csikszentmihalyi)
      Then - all those other Science books, above.
      And: ignore everything to date in - what was - The `pre-scientific-paradigm' Domain of Memetics...
      All that was said/postulated about Memes, and Memetics in the past - It is now, all - shadows and dust.
      ...SHADOWS AND DUST!!!!

      (Note: a Gladiator meme)

      Their study - my first thought - really belongs to semiotics.  

      Sorry - but Semiotics is: ridiculous.
      Just in my own view.
      It solves nothing (solves: no problems) - and is just individual people interpreting stuff.
      A novelist or screenwriter cannot use semiotics and then writer a better novel/film.
      ie One that is more likely to go viral in culture.

      - To my disgust, I note - It's also called "A Science of Signs" and yet - could hardly be further from: a Science.
      It doesn't generate falsifiable hypotheses, nor: scientific predictions - about: anything.
      So I note: a meme (like say: "A Science Of Signs") does not have to be true, to: spread in culture.
      See also: Religion.
      See also: Conspiracy theories,
      And - all of Hitler's stupid/evil ideas about `race', etc

      The dramatic and narrative arts OTOH, scientifically, are mainly complementary to the social sciences, incl. psychology and sociology. I have yet to see a serious argument that they have anything much to do with evolutionary science at all - their timespan is much too short.

      Well - Then you clearly haven't read much literary Darwinism. (I reckon: you are missing out!)
      ...It's the only paradigm that really `explains' them.
      (The dramatic - and narrative arts)
      Just in my view, anyway.
      Or, that means - that we can extract any Scientific info, from them...!

      And - I also am not sure, what you mean by "their timespan is much too short."
      - Can you maybe clarify?
      Anyway - thanks, for the feedback and thoughts -- even though -- I'm pretty deeply frustrated that, you currently, don't seem to "get it"...

      ie Maybe you could try and prove to me that: memes are NOT holons.
      eg Pick any meme you like - and then, demonstrate that.
      ie Go ahead and falsify that.

      PS - Here is a good question for you --

      So Mike - How do YOU define a meme, if not: exactly like that `post #100' above...?

      ie - I still say - a meme - It's an idea, process or product. And - it's a holon. And a holarchy. And a memeplex.

      And - also: Whatever your definition of the meme - Can you pls include a diagram?

      (ie - Science just prefers: diagrams, wherever possible. See: Geometry, and, Feynman diagrams, etc).
      It's just way clearer that way, than with: words.
      (See: Koestler 1964 on - why words are so `loose'/fluffy)

      One reason for that is - every word is a meme - and, their meaning evolves over time.
      (I note - this is also something you were apparently trying to tell me, above, but I also note - you haven't read Koestler 1964 - and you don't really get `the details' of: Why words change over time, due to Cultural Evolution - which, as he shows, is due to - the evolutionary algorithm in: Culture)

      And is also due to the fact: Everyone already has a memeplex in their head, so when you say: "dog" - everyone has a slightly-different memeplex relating to `dog' based on their own idiosyncratic: personal experience/knowledge/reading/TV viewing/what their parents, teachers and peers told them about dogs,  etc
      (eg Some people were bitten by a dog once; other people have never even seen a real dog; some cultures eat dogs and salivate when they hear the word, etc)

      Koestler explains all this in The Act of Creation, (1964) BTW. (especially - using dogs as an example)
      Including: holons and holarchies.
      Which - is also - what memes/memeplexes are.



      JT Velikovsky
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