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Inhaesio Zha (M, 42)
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I think we’re all coming unraveled from our blindness
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    The Evolution of Culture
    Suzanne was telling me the history of Argentine tango, a dance that “grew up” in the narrow urban clubs of Argentina, and how the reason they hold each other so close in that dance is that the dance was invented in the space between the bar and the wall of the nightclub…you had to hold your partner close to dance in that space.


    Video | Source

    I started thinking about how everything we do grows up in a certain space. Our ideas about what to do grew up in a space that only allowed us to do certain things, and many of the spaces our actions take place in were created by our ideas.

    The system pictured above is one of a set of systems I call teoc (the evolution of culture). Teoc systems are like our culture in that they support an exchange of ideas between creatures whose behavior is affected by their ideas…and whose exchange of ideas is affected by their behavior.

    Each red, green, blue, or white cell represents a creature. Black cells are empty space. Creatures don’t mate, give birth, or die; they move and they exchange ideas. Each creature has a genome, or a brain, or a memory—whatever you want to call it. The way that the creature acts (the way it moves and the way it exchanges ideas) is determined by its genome. The creature’s genome is, in turn, affected by the way the creature acts (because it is through action that the creature moves and meets other creatures).

    The red, green, blue, or white of a creature is a representation of a tiny part of that creature’s genome. It’s like your facial expression, or what brand of shoes you’re wearing: it’s one part of what the creature is. The genome for each of these creatures is somewhere from hundreds to thousands of bits long (the genome length varies across the systems shown; a “bit” is a one or a zero). The part of the genome that determines the creature’s color is twenty-four bits long. So, showing the creature by displaying the creature as one of four colors is like showing the tip of the iceberg of what the creature really is.

    The genome of each creature starts out random, but as the creatures move, meet, and exchange information, certain ideas and ways of acting become prevalent. Sometimes one idea conquers all others. Sometimes two ideas need each other in a symbiotic defense against the onslaught of a third. Sometimes two or more cultural ideas, or ways of being, stably exist together for a long time. In the examples shown, there is no mutation and random numbers are not used at any point after the start of the system run—these systems, though complex, are completely deterministic.

    Unlike the situation with Argentine tango, in these systems there is no difference between a creature and a wall. Creatures do form walls for each other because they take up space, but in these systems it’s as if the walls have ideas too, the walls are dancing too.

    Traits are linked in teoc systems, just as traits are linked in us, because of their proximity in the genetic code. So, in teoc, sometimes the trait for appearing red is linked to the trait for adopting a certain style of movement or using a certain method of information exchange during a meeting.

    This is my attempt to make simple systems that clearly show the evolution of culture.

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