Re: virus: Discoveries and Inventions

Wade T. Smith (
Wed, 5 Feb 97 19:11:50 -0500

>But the typewriter is more inspiring to me than most visual art...this
>isn't a denigration, but if you really LOOK at an old Underwood...

Having spent a good deal of my time in an industrial design curriculum, I
would have to agree. Very often the sheer craftmanship of an object is a
very great part of its intrinsic beauty.

>>John Cage certainly 'invented' aleatory notation, but 'created' the music...
>I wonder, which do you think was the more significant contribution? Lets
>say I switched 'invented' and 'created' above. In what way do you percieve
>that construction as less appropriate?

Well, he invented the notation which others may use (and this is true of
any invention). But the performer is very much necessary for a creation.
In fact, with the music of Cage, the uniqueness of the performer's
creation was a functional member of the piece.

>So I agree: Reality (including the sub-set we are discussing) is not
>irreal. I disagree: "electrons" are not irreal. Electrons are a very
>useful invention allowing us to explain, manipulate and predict. The
>signified is real, the signifier is a fabrication.

I don't know quite where you ended up there.... I also am saying there is
a reality to each, the item and the model. I think we agree here....

>How do you intend to _enforce_ definitions? There exists no word or symbol
>which has the same meaning for all people. Language is ambigious; this is
>a faculty, not a problem.

It's not a problem? Lordy, lordy....

Well, of course it is probably futile to enforce anything with language,
but in many ways, the definition of community is a group of like
speakers. And of course there are symbols which reach a great number of
cultures, so maybe there is a way. But not yet. We can hope. But it is
most definitely a problem. Is memetics an approach to universalize these
meanings, to enforce them? Is this not philosophy's great failing?

>Is mathematics a less ambigious invention than poetry?

Interesting question. I am wont to say that they are separate but equal
facets of expression, in the traditional way of both supplying their own
truths, but in this memetic context, I would say poetry is far more
ambiguous- it uses far more memetic structures.

I would even be wont to say that mathematics is the most anti-memetic of
human inventions.... And as such, may be the truest.

But semantic/meaning problems are very real problems. I have no clue
where any solutions may come from. That is one of the reasons I am here.

Wade T. Smith |'There ain't nothin' you | shouldn't do to a god.' |'Theism is mental inbreeding.'
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