Re: virus: Culture....

Alex Williams (
Sun, 22 Dec 1996 22:03:18 -0500 (EST)

> But what you imagine a certain species of chimps or dolphins to have is
> not culture, and that is all I am saying.


> So yes, I am limiting the definition of the word, to something usable and
> servicable, IMHO.

This just happens to hit one of my hot buttons, as I will now reveal.

Having been involved with the search for Artificial Intelligence, if
you will, since I was in High School, and this /exact/ argument has
been applied to the definition of `intelligence,' to stating that
animals do not exhibit intelligence because its not /human/
intelligence and that machines, thus, can never exhibit intelligence.

Those who really understand the subject, however, have taken to rating
intelligence as a /continum/, rather than a binary state. Humans are
more intelligent than chimpanzees are more intelligent than ants are
more intelligent than bacteria. But all of those things exhibit
aspects and degrees of intelligence as befits their scales.

Culture, as an /aspect of intelligence/ in my view is also measured on
a continum of complexity, in that human society is more complex than
the culture of the wolf pack which is actually less complex than the
hives of bees who communicate onto to another in a language about
things that are important to them. Its far, far too easy to say `this
is not culture' and to imply that culture itself is a binary thing and
that humanity are alone in its possession. As intelligence slips from
our grasp as the measure of our superiority over animals, now you'd
take up this `culture' of your own definition as a measure of your

A superiority that, clearly, is not of intrinsic nature but only

I've written before of the `relavatory' theory, theory that reveals
things to us to inquire further about and delve further into, as
opposed to theories that seal things away. Science, the religion of
the modern revealer of truths, is more `revealatory' than its
compeditors and so it reigns the memetic field of our culture with
impressive power. Your narrow view of culture seems to be to deny
`revealatory' knowledge, `thus far and no farther,' and so I find it
unacceptible for myself.