Foundation of Culture

20-22 Jan ’16 ~QofDay~ Foundation of Culture

Is communication the foundation of culture?

It seems clear that communication is an essential aspect of culture.

In so far as culture is to be understood as an evolutionary entity, a collection of memes transmitted from mind to mind, competing with each other within individual minds for expression through action or words, then communication is a fundamental part of the process.
The other fundamental parts of the process are the individual minds through which culture is expressed and given existence, and the factors that lead to variation.
The evolutionary part is the effect of competition between the variations that result for expression in new individuals (or at different frequencies in old individuals).

So in this sense, culture is always an evolving entity, even in cultures that individuals believe to have hard rules, because the interpretation of what those rules mean can undergo variation, and new rules can be added and old ones deleted.

So even in cultures where adherence to rules is venerated (and to be clear I do not belong to such a culture, the closest thing to a rule in my culture is “question everything, and use a combination of best evidence, best intuition, and best tools, to produce the best outcomes possible; repeat recursively”) variation does occur over time and place – so we see schools and sects develop and splinter off.

So it is much as Bhatta wrote.

And everything is very context dependent. The more shared context individuals have, the greater the likelihood of achieving communication. To give an example, if someone is trying to develop the concept of a sphere, and says it is like the abstract thing that is common to all balls, that may or may not work. If the individual hearing that had an experience of playing ball games, like cricket, golf, tennis, croquet, soccer,squash, hockey, volley ball, bowls etc, or playing with beach balls on the beach in summer, or taking ball bearings apart, or playing with marbles etc, then the communication might work. If however, that person had grown up in a society where the only balls were collections of people assembled for dance, public display of prestige and power, etc – then there is likely to be confusions rather than communication.
Such things happen to a lesser extent very commonly.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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