Memes and Electronic Irony

Just a thought that occurred to me in a number of e-mail discussions.

We all probably notice the value of humour (irony or otherwise) in communications, and we’ve probably all seen the pitfalls of misplaced / misunderstood humour in electronic communications, even with emoticons.

I can’t see any equivalent of negative irony. No concept of a statement that literally means less than it literally says. Deeper meaning that means a net reduction in literal meaning.

Misunderstanding is easier to spread than enhanced understanding. Memes must tend to reverse quality of knowledge unless they are able to spread important forms of tacit and hidden meaning as well as literal content. Lowest common denominators of “media” in mediated communications.

A statement of the obvious I guess.

You Tube Phenomenon

It’s fascinating what video clips you can find on-line, somehow much more interesting than the music download thing. Rivets keeps linking to eclectic, downright bizarre and genuinely interesting examples. A great collection of piano players here at White Man Stew.

And whilst we’re linking from Rivets …

Da Vinci turning in his grave ? One of Leonardo’s more far-sighted inventions, from the Nonist.

Will Get Fooled Again, and again, and again … ? Charles Pierce of the Boston Globe, writing in The American Prospect

De Bono’s new Religion of Humour ?

Zen Stories – Long before there was television, movies, radio, and even books, storytelling was as important to prehistoric cave-dwellers eating antelope around a fire as it is to corporate executives doing lunch. Apart from “caveman” phrasing spookily close to my essay on the effect of technology on society – this is Douglas Adams – interactive story-telling, not just the power of narrative, which TV can do well too.

And Rivets Hmmmm link on 4th June. Funny, but you didn’t get the link from me, OK 😉 Not to mention the Essence of Rabbit, and many, many more … Rivets is more fun than an evening in front of the telly.

Internet Saves The Enlightenment

Interestingly that’s more or less a Douglas “DNA” Adams view, from his 1999 piece “How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet“. (Post No.2 back in 2001 at the very start of Psybertron, that link.)

DNA and Dawkins were of course a mutual admiration society, but the link here is in fact to the next Simonyi Oxford lecture hosted by Dawkins, featuring Harry Kroto. (16th June)

Harry Kroto is quoted by Ant McWatt as citing Pirsig’s ZMM as being “what it’s all about”. It’s that loopy convergence again.

Cognitive Edge

I see (via Anecdote) that Dave Snowden’s “Cynefin” is now “Cognitive Edge” to continue the Cynefin work originating at IBM, but avoiding a trademark issue.

Interesting I mentioned Dave in correspondence earlier this week concerning Dr Robert Harris of Paradigm Research International, and in that correspondence Robert mentioned “SNA” (Social Networks Architecture) as a “hot topic” in anti-terrorist security circles. The original reason to connect Dave and Robert was Robert Pirsig’s ZMM, quoted by both of them. In fact looking at Dave’s reading list I see Emergent Information Technologies and Enabling Policies for Counter-Terrorism, Robert L. Popp (Editor), John Yen (Editor). Small loopy world.

Also, Steve Johnson’s “Emergence”, P Cilliers “Complexity and Post-Modernism” and K Pearson’s “Viroid Life : Perspectives on Nietzsche and the transhuman condition.” Interesting list.

before I go must also point out the “blog meme” post at Anecdote.

“I hate paper and would never recommend my organisation use it because so many people just write absolute drivel using paper.” Sounds ridiculous?

Good stuff from the Aussie’s at Anecdote as usual.
From it’s Welsh “Cynefin” origins, Cognitive Edge is Singapore-based.

Twelve Hours of Sunset

A meta-meme at work here ?

I was just making some comments elsewhere about my earlier reference to J S Mill setting of the Pythons’ Philosphers’ Song in my head, and being easily set-off again and again by even oblique references – any mention of will, freedom or liberty so far – it’ll be tennis, elbow, foot next – anything subconsciously connected or explicitly unconnected with either Mill or Python or …. it goes on for ever. It’s worse than five degrees of separation – nothing is free from immediately being linked.

Anyway, I noticed I was silently humming “Twelve Hours of Sunset” a 70’s number from Roy Harper – about the surreal experience of flying west – a song I heard a lot at the time, mainly thanks to John Peel. It was moment before I realised what had set it off. I had been scanning a couple of my own blog references that had mentioned the common theme of my reading various books on west-bound transatlantic flights, and on Asia to Europe flights. But until I noticed I was humming the tune, I hadn’t brought to consciousness the common theme of the posts I’d just read. And I doubt I’ve heard (or consciously hummed) that song for 20 years or more.

Did the explicit conscious thought of the catchy Python song meme create a subconscious link to another subconscious tune meme by some subconscious association with the concept of a meme, with something else I’d only subconsiously just experienced. The power of memes. Is there any escape ?