Martin’s Weblog

Culture and Meaning – Introducing the Ceme

Culture can be considered as the circulation of meanings within a community. A culture can be considered through the nature of its community (members and connections), through the way meanings circulate and through the nature of its meanings (as manifest in ideas and behaviours). Community, connection and meaning are so interconnected that they have to be considered holistically – each defined through the others and each shaped through the others.

Memetics is a powerful theory with which to explore how meaning develops and evolves. In Memetics  there is a “unit” of culture called the Meme – an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices. In Memetics memes are analogous to genes in biology – memetics considers how memes develop and evolve through natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution through variation, mutation, competition and inheritance.

Connectivism considers meaning as emergent from the connections and associations in a network – it could be considered as the application of neuro-psychology associative memory and learning ideas to culture. For connectivism learning and the development of meaning are “the process of creating connections and developing a network”.

For me, Memetics alone doesn’t go quite far enough in considering the holistic connected nature of culture and meaning  – the way meaning, culture and the network (the medium) are one.

Connectivism sees the holistic nature of culture, meaning and the network but connectivism alone doesn’t go far enough in considering how they evolve.

A connectivist  perspective on memetics would view the meme as a network connection configuration – something emergent from the connectivity pattern in a network and something I would describe as a ceme (connectivist meme).

A Memetic perspective on connectivism would view the network through evolutionary terms – seeing variations and mutations competing for selection and inheritance – something I would describe as Cemetics.

What I am proposing is a concept that combines the memetic view with the connectivist view to get a holistic perspective on culture, connection and meaning – the ceme.

Ceme: connected emergent meaning evolution (Connectivist Meme) – a unit of culture which has evolved through the natural selection of emergent variations and mutations in network connectivity configurations.

Cemetics:
Cemetics considers how cemes develop and evolve through the natural selection and inheritance of emergent variations and mutations in network connectivity configurations.

Networks are central to meaning, culture and evolution. They define the community and the circulation of meaning within a community; from a connectivist perspective they define knowledge and meaning, from a memetic perspective they are the means through which memes are transmitted and from a cemetic perspective networks are culture – they are community, meaning and evolution.

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April 29, 2012 - Posted by | culture, media, society | ,

5 Comments »

  1. So interesting to come across your post this morning as a group of folks on twitter have been working on just the same thought model with the term “nemetics” To see the same metaphor emerge is very exciting to me and indicates that the idea has some usefulness to clarify system dynamics and most important to point to possible interventions in the service of positive change.

    You might want to follow @ TheDesignKata in particular as he is using the framework in the service of his work with manufacturing companies in India. He also brings to the table a deep understanding of the various mathematical models which can help make sense. This slide presentation gives a pretty good idea of the present state of our thinking http://ilnk.me/e447 although it seems to be evolving every day on twitter.

    Thank you for connecting Connectivism to Memetics. It helps link up the extant thought models to get to something that might be really helpful. I hope we will exchange either here or on twitter to articulate the model further.

    The folks most in tune with the evolving nemetics code on twitter are me, @TheDesignKata @ddrrnt @GraingerEd and @StevenPutter

    I look forward to further conversations.

    Comment by Michael Josefowicz (@toughLoveforx) | April 29, 2012 | Reply

  2. Michael,

    Thank you for your input and connections.

    I was working on another blog exploring “the network event horizon” with the ideas of Memetics and Connectivism and this just emerged in my mind – combining the two in some way to explore connected meaning and its evolution in some holistic way if possible. I looked to see if tere was anything similar with words like `neme and nemetics and found the slideshare you shared in your comment but found the ideas slightly different and then emerged (poped into consciousness) the idea of ceme and cemetics.

    While Ceme was to be Connectivist Meme I originally spelt it out Connected Emergent Meaning Event – this because this blog was just the first part of the “Network Event Horizon” I was writing – I decided to just treat the Culture and meaning ideas as a separate blog and rather than consider events focused on evolution.

    I plan to use these ideas in further blogs on the fractal nature of connected meaning from neuropsychology through to culture and on culture shocks and of course the “network event horizon” idea it came from.

    Comment by martinking | April 29, 2012 | Reply

  3. […] from a memetic perspective they are the means through which memes are transmitted and from a cemetic perspective networks are culture – they are community, meaning and […]

    Pingback by Apocalypse: The Network Event Horizon « Martin’s Weblog | May 6, 2012 | Reply

  4. […] shake signals the “Network Event horizon” a shift to a cemetic long-tail, maker – hacker economy of scope, creativity, non-linear, differentiated and […]

    Pingback by Harelm Shake: The Network Event horizon « Martin’s Weblog | February 17, 2013 | Reply

  5. […] shake signals the “Network Event horizon” a shift to a cemetic long-tail, maker – hacker economy of scope, creativity, non-linear, differentiated and […]

    Pingback by The Harlem Shake: The Network Event horizon « Martin’s Weblog | February 17, 2013 | Reply


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