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culture Philosophy

Cultural Replication is Error-Prone

Context: What Misspellings Reveal About Cultural Evolution

Copying errors represent a broken logical symmetry of system self-containment that provides momentum to effective information-processing and encoding self-propagation. Just as errors in DNA encoding invoke as many useful changes as redundant ones, cultural systems possess and manifest implicit and distributed, endemic information-encoding discontinuities.

The underlying logic is that system unity is differential through the presence of absence as error or – through an entropic looking glass – as novelty. Notice that the reproduction of error takes a particular kind of shape and form – there is no autonomous aspiration to closure or certainty and beyond that this fact itself represents a kind of inverse certainty, closure and improbable (perhaps – impossible) teleological truth; the engagement with this is the only plausible way to negotiate the complexities and turbulence of “massively multiplayer” cultural systems.

Further, the fault lies not in the stars but in the data and (abstract) assumptions of measurement as well. Encoding systems, languages, cognitive narratives; these are all at base the same form of axiomatic ontological fact as the utility of open systems in thinking, research and organisational analysis.

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