Outer Game Contribution

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Cultural Memory
Posted by Bo Newman on March 08, 1998 at 02:27:13:

The following in a bead string that grew out a discussion earlier this year of way different conditions effect group dynamics. At some point in time the conversation turned to how some conditions can serve to dampen the propagation of ideas in the same way that changes in viscosity can change the propagation patterns of waves in a liquid. This lead us to explore some analogies between wave mechanics, group dynamics, and organizational memory. The combination of the core wave and Andy's reflections on ripples and how events in the past causes our lives to differentiate seem to tie into that earlier conversation.

I would like to offer our thoughts for your consideration. In keeping with bead string thinking, I have tried to capture the key thoughts and the order in which one lead to the other. No value or insight is claimed other than there seems to be potential for further exploration.

The medium is the environment within which behaviors can be perceived

The environment for a given behavior exists only at the time of the behavior.

The environment for behaviors includes applicable conceptual spaces.

The medium includes conceptual spaces

Behaviors are actions which change the state of the medium

Behaviors cause ripples in a medium like pebbles in a pond

Ripples from multiple behaviors create interference patterns

An interference pattern is made up of the sum (or difference) of the original ripples

Interference patterns are records of conceptual space

Interference patterns can not exist without the medium

Observations are made in the context of medium (conceptual space)

Observation of interference patterns includes a direct observation of the medium

Observation of interference patterns includes the result of the behaviors

That which can be observed, they can be retained (remembered)

Interference patterns are Cultural artifacts

Cultural artifacts retain aspects of the original behaviors as well as the medium

Retention or memory results in persistence for that which is retained.

Cultural artifacts are records of conceptual states and the results of behavior

Cultural artifacts are retained via organizational memory

Organization memory transcends time

Organization memory contributes to current conceptual space and behaviors

Cultural artifacts are part of our current (or future) conceptual spaces (medium)

Characteristics of the medium effect wave propagation and interference patterns

i.e - organizational memory is the means by which current mediums inherit aspects of past behaviors and conceptual spaces thus allowing past conceptual spaces and behaviors to influence current (and future) conceptual spaces and behaviors.

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