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Re: Manifesto

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  • joaimone
    ... writing ... they ... In fact, poets could find an unlimited number of niches for their work outside this list, all of which would, one way or another,
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 10, 2005
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      --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "andy_morleyuk" <andy_morley@h...>
      wrote:
      >
      >
      > In a similar vein of Literary Darwinism, I would propose the
      > following which is the beginning of perhaps a more formal
      manifesto :
      >
      > 1. That those who would join us by posting their own creative
      writing
      > to a list such as this one should realise and agree that natural
      > selection applies to poems and other creative writings, whether
      they
      > are organisms or perhaps even memes.
      >

      In fact, poets could find an unlimited number of niches for their
      work outside this list, all of which would, one way or another,
      subject the survival and reproduction of their work to selection
      quite naturally.

      As a poet with interests I find well served on this list without any
      original poetry appearing on it, I concede that it might be useful
      for poets who are on this list to have workshop environment online.
      Perhaps one should be created by poets who are part of this group.
      It is not, however, obvious that the exchange of argument and data
      that is the ordinary business of this list will be importantly
      enhanced by unselected poetry appearing here begging for life
      support, corrective criticism or applause. So a separate venue seems
      in order.


      > 2. That the readers of the list should be encouraged to recognise
      > that they are an environment in which these poem-organisms and
      memes
      > live and may breed and multiply or go extinct. Therefore the list
      > members should apply pressures of natural selection by applying
      > vigorous brickbats of contempt or plaudits of admiration, as the
      mood
      > takes them.

      I believe this will all happen quite naturally, without any special
      encouragement. But it may be disappointing to the poets who post
      their poems here. On the other hand, it may make them better poets.
      I am not sure, however, that many participants in this group have
      much interest in helping poets improve their poems. Again, perhaps
      another adjacent site would serve better.

      >
      > 3. Accepting the nature of the environment, it is not anticipated
      > that it will be kind and nurturing, as might be expected of a
      > writer's group, nor ought it be subject to a particular political
      or
      > religious point of view as would be an ideological group of some
      > kind. The logical expectation of an environment such as this one
      is
      > that it would be rigorous, intelligent and scientific, but that it
      > would also appreciate the artistic dimension.

      There is some artistic dimension to any writing. So I would expect
      that certain judgments of taste will be among the issues raised in
      the ordinary course of discussion, and that any appetite for
      tasteful writing may be satisfied by well written correspondence
      containing arguments and information germane to the topics of
      discussion, without the posting of poetry. Is there a hunger in the
      hearts of the readers of this list for poetry written by other
      members of the group? I think it would be presumptuous to answer in
      the affirmative.



      >
      > 4. The next step in this voyage of discovery is likely to unfold
      > over the next few hours or days. It will consist of the
      revelation
      > as to whether a large natural predator of the genus moderator will
      > come and eat this emerging manifesto, or whether this list
      represents
      > an environment that is a niche waiting to be colonised.
      >
      > .
      >

      I have to agree that poets should be alert to the possibility of
      critics on this list who will eat them alive, or try. But poets can
      be pretty fierce themselves, when roused. They are often equipped
      with natural weaponry against which critics have no defense worthy
      of the name.

      But will this list be a happy hunting ground for poets, or a
      suitable place for breeding amongst themselves and birthing their
      offspring? They may find themselves wishing for a more sheltered
      environment, even if they outwit the critics and slip past the
      moderators.

      I am certainly not offering to create or manage any such sheltered
      environment friendly to poets friendly to evolutionary thinking. But
      I might like to visit there, take my ease, indulge my fancies,
      compete with my peers, criticize my friends, models and competitors,
      seduce my beloveds and wail my woes and generally act like a poet
      there, if nature would kindly oblige and produce such a niche nearby.
    • andy_morleyuk
      ... There once were two cats of Kilkenny, Each thought there was once cat too many, So they fought and they fit, And they scratched and they bit, Till
      Message 2 of 12 , Nov 11, 2005
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        --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "joaimone" <joaimone@y...> wrote:
        >
        > But poets can be pretty fierce themselves, when roused. They are
        > often equipped with natural weaponry against which critics have no
        > defense worthy of the name.
        >
        There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
        Each thought there was once cat too many,
        So they fought and they fit,
        And they scratched and they bit,
        Till excepting their tails,
        And the tips of their nails,
        Instead of two cats there weren't any.

        (anon)

        I fine example of Biopoetics wouldn't you say..?

        Cheers,

        Andy Morley

        .
      • joaimone
        ... It s a fine example of the survival of folk poetry, certainly, but hardly original work. Maybe that makes it a meme. And, an apparent product of the
        Message 3 of 12 , Nov 11, 2005
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          --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "andy_morleyuk" <andy_morley@h...> wrote:
          >
          > --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "joaimone" <joaimone@y...> wrote:
          > >
          > > But poets can be pretty fierce themselves, when roused. They are
          > > often equipped with natural weaponry against which critics have no
          > > defense worthy of the name.
          > >
          > There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
          > Each thought there was once cat too many,
          > So they fought and they fit,
          > And they scratched and they bit,
          > Till excepting their tails,
          > And the tips of their nails,
          > Instead of two cats there weren't any.
          >
          > (anon)
          >
          > I fine example of Biopoetics wouldn't you say..?
          >

          It's a fine example of the survival of folk poetry, certainly, but
          hardly original work. Maybe that makes it a meme. And, an apparent
          product of the nineteenth century, when it first appeared in scholarly
          discussion at any rate, it might be supposed to represent the work of
          a poet who knew of Darwin's dangerous idea, though it might be older
          and Darwin's influence only a deceptive appearance--if there were any
          such appearance. (The fitter here apparently did not survive any
          better than the fit.) The more tempting explanation for the meaning of
          the poem is that it is an oblique reference to the rivalry of
          Englishtown and Irishtown in the neighborhood of Kilkenny. But in all
          probability, the choice of Kilkenny was made because of the paucity of
          rhymes for many and any in English. So it would be an example of
          poetry constrained by the sensory channel in which it occurs,
          suggesting that signal selection may be involved. The survival of the
          archaic "fit" as a past tense of "fight" in this case also would seem
          to be an example of the same constraint, the need of rhyme at any cost
          itself providing the assurance of fidelity in the reproduction of the
          poem.
        • andy_morleyuk
          ... What do you mean by original ..? I quoted the story of Rindercella in the Yahoo Literature List, attributing it to Ronnie Barker. Someone told me that
          Message 4 of 12 , Nov 12, 2005
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            --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "joaimone" <joaimone@y...> wrote:
            >
            > --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "andy_morleyuk" <andy_morley@h...> wrote:
            > >
            > > --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "joaimone" <joaimone@y...> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > But poets can be pretty fierce themselves, when roused. They are
            > > > often equipped with natural weaponry against which critics have no
            > > > defense worthy of the name.
            > > >
            > > There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
            > > Each thought there was once cat too many,
            > > So they fought and they fit,
            > > And they scratched and they bit,
            > > Till excepting their tails,
            > > And the tips of their nails,
            > > Instead of two cats there weren't any.
            > >
            > > (anon)
            > >
            > > I fine example of Biopoetics wouldn't you say..?
            > >
            >
            > It's a fine example of the survival of folk poetry, certainly, but
            > hardly original work.

            What do you mean by 'original'..? I quoted the story of 'Rindercella'
            in the Yahoo Literature List, attributing it to Ronnie Barker. Someone
            told me that it was based on a piece by Archie Campbell. Which may
            well be true - I certainly found an example when I googled for it.
            But though the Campbell version is superficially similar, it has none of
            the wit, breadth of cultural allusions, clever use of language and general
            'originality' that Ronnie Barker gave it.

            > Maybe that makes it a meme.

            The evolution from 'Cinderella' to 'Rindercella' is analogous to a major
            mutation. At that stage it might have caused a few laughs and then
            died out. Then Fate in the rotund shape of Ronnie Barker whisked it
            up and transmogrified it. I would call Ronnie Barker's version
            'original' in all senses really.

            This makes me wonder about Intelligent Design.

            God clearly exists. There's hard evidence for that all around us.
            People get so heated on this question, when really it's a no-brainer.
            They let their emotions get in the way of their logic.

            The question they should be getting heated over is the nature of God.
            All the hard evidence indicates that his nature is akin to that of King
            Lear, Sherlock Holmes or any one of a number of other such cultural
            artifacts that you can talk to other people about, and they will have
            a strong, if sometimes fuzzy, concept of what the character in
            question represents.

            God is much bigger in scale and scope than Sherlock Holmes say.
            Holmes stands for the detached but flawed Human intellect. God
            represents a great many more things, ideas and issues that are
            intricately bound up with the Human Condion.

            If you take cruder examples, like the concept of magic, it seems to have
            an important function in encapsulating human aspirations at a stage in
            'evolution' of a society where the available science and manufacturing or
            communication techniques can't deliver them.

            So these days we can fly through the air, though we don't use broomsticks,
            we walk around the streets talking to our familiar spirits, though these are
            made manifest in mobile phones and bluetooth headsets rather than
            black cats and we can see through, around and beyond walls without the
            help of voodoo.

            Intelligent Design clearly exists too, just like God. Go to any farm or dog-
            show you like and you'll see plenty of evidence. But there's no hard evidence
            that I'm aware of that demonstrates any intelligent design that is non-human.
            Given the size of the Universe, the probability that other intelligent life forms.
            exist could be roughly quantified, though the probability of some over-arching
            intelligence à la Douglas Adams is much less easy to arrive at and I would peg
            it at a provisional level that is very, very low... But this is getting boring and
            predictable so :

            People intervene in nature to make choices. Sometimes these choices are
            largely governed by instinct, sometimes by intuition, sometimes emotion
            ans sometimes logic. But even when we are being logical, we are only
            aware of the bigger implications of our choices to a limited extent, if at all.
            Still, that aggregated effect is very real, behaves to an extent like evolution
            and natural selection but has some other dimensions because intelligence
            is involved at least to an extent. Ho hum...

            > And, an apparent
            > product of the nineteenth century, when it first appeared in scholarly
            > discussion at any rate, it might be supposed to represent the work of
            > a poet who knew of Darwin's dangerous idea, though it might be older
            > and Darwin's influence only a deceptive appearance--if there were any
            > such appearance. (The fitter here apparently did not survive any
            > better than the fit.) The more tempting explanation for the meaning of
            > the poem is that it is an oblique reference to the rivalry of
            > Englishtown and Irishtown in the neighborhood of Kilkenny.

            Or possibly a satirical allusion to events in contemporary national politics.
            Or both, and maybe other things too. Have you come across the concept
            of 'The Intentional Fallacy'..?

            > But in all
            > probability, the choice of Kilkenny was made because of the paucity of
            > rhymes for many and any in English.

            Occam's razor..? I think not.

            > So it would be an example of
            > poetry constrained by the sensory channel in which it occurs,
            > suggesting that signal selection may be involved. The survival of the
            > archaic "fit" as a past tense of "fight" in this case also would seem
            > to be an example of the same constraint, the need of rhyme at any cost
            > itself providing the assurance of fidelity in the reproduction of the
            > poem.

            My favourite analogy for this kind of argument is that of a fibre-optic
            cable carrying telephone conversations. Is what it going on down that
            pipe rapidly pulsating and highly structered emissions of light, or is the
            life, death, sex and tedium - conversation as a protocol carrying the
            stuff of life itself..? What IS going on here..?

            Andy Morley
          • joaimone
            I have to apologize for wasting your, and everybody else s, time in this exchange. I mistook your postings for wryly toned but ultimately serious dicsussion.
            Message 5 of 12 , Nov 12, 2005
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              I have to apologize for wasting your, and everybody else's, time in
              this exchange. I mistook your postings for wryly toned but ultimately
              serious dicsussion.
            • andy_morleyuk
              ... Why do you think they aren t serious..?
              Message 6 of 12 , Nov 12, 2005
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                --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "joaimone" <joaimone@y...> wrote:
                >
                > I have to apologize for wasting your, and everybody else's, time in
                > this exchange. I mistook your postings for wryly toned but ultimately
                > serious dicsussion.
                >
                Why do you think they aren't serious..?
              • joaimone
                ... Directe revelation from God.
                Message 7 of 12 , Nov 12, 2005
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                  --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "andy_morleyuk" <andy_morley@h...> wrote:
                  >
                  > --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "joaimone" <joaimone@y...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > I have to apologize for wasting your, and everybody else's, time in
                  > > this exchange. I mistook your postings for wryly toned but ultimately
                  > > serious dicsussion.
                  > >
                  > Why do you think they aren't serious..?
                  >

                  Directe revelation from God.
                • andy_morleyuk
                  ... Look, I can see from the way this correspondence is headed that it s likely to degenerate into a flame war. Rather than inflict that on the other members
                  Message 8 of 12 , Nov 12, 2005
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                    --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "joaimone" <joaimone@y...> wrote:
                    >
                    > --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "andy_morleyuk" <andy_morley@h...> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "joaimone" <joaimone@y...> wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > I have to apologize for wasting your, and everybody else's, time in
                    > > > this exchange. I mistook your postings for wryly toned but ultimately
                    > > > serious dicsussion.
                    > > >
                    > > Why do you think they aren't serious..?
                    > >
                    >
                    > Directe revelation from God.
                    >

                    Look, I can see from the way this correspondence is headed that it's likely to
                    degenerate into a flame war.

                    Rather than inflict that on the other members of this new list (you say that you
                    don't want to 'waste their time') can I suggest that you don't reply to my posts
                    and that I don't reply to yours..? That way, we will spare ourselves and everyone
                    else a large amount of tedium.

                    You are no doubt the sort of person who will want to have the last word.
                    Therefore, I will allow you to say one more stupid thing about me, which
                    I will ignore.

                    If after that you continue to interact with me, and if under those circumstances
                    the moderators don't intervene, I shall assume that they don't mind having a
                    free-for-all in their list and will proceed to act as I see fit.

                    Cheers,

                    Andy Morley

                    .
                  • eugenehalton
                    ... ultimately ... It seems to me to have been much more than that. It was humorous! In Testaments Betrayed, Milan Kundera describes the parallel rise of humor
                    Message 9 of 12 , Nov 12, 2005
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                      --- In biopoet@yahoogroups.com, "joaimone" <joaimone@y...> wrote:
                      >
                      > I have to apologize for wasting your, and everybody else's, time in
                      > this exchange. I mistook your postings for wryly toned but
                      ultimately
                      > serious dicsussion.
                      >

                      It seems to me to have been much more than that. It was
                      humorous!

                      In Testaments Betrayed, Milan Kundera describes the parallel
                      rise of humor and the novel, and how humor, like the realm of the
                      novel, "renders ambiguous everything it touches." Both are the realm
                      of the morally ambiguous. Kundera even goes so far as to suggest that
                      if you don't get humor, you can't get the novel. That is bad news for
                      the humor impaired litterateur.

                      Gene Halton

                      O you laughniks, laugh it out!
                      O you laughniks, laugh it forth!
                      You who laugh it up and down,
                      Laugh along so laughily,
                      Laugh it off belaughingly
                      Laughters of the laughing laughniks, overlaughs with
                      laughathons!
                      Laughiness of the laughish laughers, counterlaugh the Laughdom's
                      laughs!
                      Laughio! Laughio!
                      Dislaugh, relaugh, laughlets, laughlets,
                      Laughulets, laughulets.
                      O you laughniks, laugh it out!
                      O you laughniks, laugh it forth!

                      Velimir Khlebnikov, "Incantation by Laughter"


                      "Diabolum is characterized by the total lack of a sense of
                      humour. The comical, even if it still exists, has become invisible.
                      Joking no longer makes sense . . . This world takes everything
                      seriously. Even me. And that's the limit."
                      "I should rather think that nobody takes anything seriously!
                      They all just want to amuse themselves."
                      "That comes to the same thing."
                      Milan Kundera, Immortality, 372
                    • joaimone
                      ... likely to ... This is not necessarily so. I did originally propose an alterantive to allowing this discussion forum to become a workshop for original
                      Message 10 of 12 , Nov 13, 2005
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                        > Look, I can see from the way this correspondence is headed that it's
                        likely to
                        > degenerate into a flame war.

                        This is not necessarily so. I did originally propose an alterantive to
                        allowing this discussion forum to become a workshop for original
                        poetry, and no one rose to the occasion to offer to host and moderate
                        it, and in the meantime, I proposed, this is probably not a happy
                        place for poets to post their work.

                        This line of argument got rather lost when I rose to the bait of your
                        posting that traditional limerick about the mutually destructive cats,
                        which I (I thought wrly) analyzed as I would if I thought someone
                        serious wanted to consider it a bit of "biopoetics." I had thought
                        that by shifting to (admittedly tongue in cheek) scholarly critical
                        discussion of the poem, invoking themes often a part of discussions of
                        poetry invovling evolutionary thinking, that I might have hammered
                        home a couple of the points I had made in the course of my general
                        case on the use of this forum as a poetry workshop--that critical
                        writing can have its own literary virtues among them, as I hoped,
                        modestly to have exmplified in my explication of the limerick.

                        Your responses to the details of that ironic explication suggested to
                        me that you were not and had not been interested in the central
                        question I had thought (albeit obliquely) to address. Hence I
                        responded flippantly to the most egregious (relative to what I take to
                        be the focuse of this group) of your ideas. Heat of the moment and all
                        that, so I am sorry for being so sarcastic. But I do think that most
                        people here discussing ideas about evolution and culture do not take
                        intelligent design seriously. I could be wrong--perhaps we should take
                        a vote and find out what the norm is empirically. That worked in the
                        school board case in Pennsylvania recently.


                        > Rather than inflict that on the other members of this new list (you
                        say that you
                        > don't want to 'waste their time') can I suggest that you don't reply
                        to my posts
                        > and that I don't reply to yours..? That way, we will spare
                        ourselves and everyone
                        > else a large amount of tedium.

                        You may be right: such an entente might serve everyone best. I could
                        make an even more radical suggestion that would serve even better, but
                        it would be bad form for one member of a consitituted group to suggest
                        that the other simply avoid speaking altogether and let the other then
                        be free to follow his natural inclination to say nothing unless a
                        topic of interest arises.



                        >
                        > You are no doubt the sort of person who will want to have the last
                        word.

                        It's good to see another theme from evolutionary thinking at work.
                        "Theory of mind" deserves more attention than it has been given in
                        much application of evolutionary thinking to literature. Applying it
                        to email is a promising start. Your ability to anticipate how I think
                        is an example par excellence. A critical analysis of our exchange
                        might take into account whether I also have "theory of mind" and how
                        it will show up in my response to you.

                        > Therefore, I will allow you to say one more stupid thing about me,
                        which
                        > I will ignore.

                        Thank you for the opportunity to say one more stupid thing about you.
                        I am not sure I am up to the task, however. And shere would be the
                        acid test of using "theory of mind" to analyze our exchange. Did you
                        correctly anticipate what I would do? Have I, in my response,
                        confirmed your prediction that I will attempt to have the last word?
                        Clearly I have responded, so the evidence is partly suggestive that
                        you are right. But a crucial element will be whether it is apparent
                        that I do not expect you to answer therafter and will be satisfied if
                        you don't. Is it obvious that I do? Or not? And another will be
                        whether what I have said is 1) about you and 2) stupid. I think it may
                        be easier to make the case that what I have said is stupid than it
                        would be to be certain that it's about you. And franky, I don't have a
                        clear feeling about whether you will respond to this posting, nor am I
                        sure I will be satisfied if you don't.

                        Of course the broader interpretation of "stupid thing about me" is
                        that it would have to be not-very-clever insult. I hope you don't feel
                        insulted, as, if I am indeed insulting you, I do not do so seriously,
                        but only to display my own wit for the enjoyment of any reader,
                        including yourself, or accidentally, with no intention. There is no
                        hard core of animus, as far as I can tell, in anything I have written
                        in our entire exchange. As to how cleverly I may have expressed any
                        barb, well, I have done the best I could under the circumstances. One
                        is always embarrased when one's jokes fall flat, and I am not sure
                        every point of wit I have attempted has hit home at all, so I am sorry
                        on that account too.




                        >
                        > If after that you continue to interact with me,

                        I take it then, that if you respond to this posting, it means that you
                        do not think it is simply "one more stupid thing" I am saying simply
                        to have the last word, and that if you do not respond, I should assume
                        that you do classify what I have written here as just "one more stupid
                        thing" I have said about you. And so it is only if I respond to
                        something your write other than a response to this posting that I have
                        "continue[d] to intereact with [you]."

                        I will be mindful of that warning and judge carefully whether I want
                        to respond to anything you write in future, whether in response to
                        this posting or on some other thread.


                        >and if under those circumstances
                        > the moderators don't intervene, I shall assume that they don't mind
                        having a
                        > free-for-all in their list and will proceed to act as I see fit.
                        >

                        This seems like a fair warning to the moderators, and presumably they
                        will take heed.

                        So as long as you think I am trying to have the last word here, and
                        that what I have said is one more stupid thing about you, which you
                        should simply ignore, I have to agree with you that this thread is
                        exhausted, though I think that the thread from which it branched, over
                        whether poets ought to be posting their work on this list, may not be
                        equally settled.

                        But that is another matter entirely.
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