Thursday, March 23, 2006


The difference between nations

The breaking news

Afghanistan, Islam, a man, Germany,
Memetics, semiotics, evolution,

On German TV breaking news was shown, a man from Afghanistan who used to live some time in Germany before, decided to change his religion, and went from Islam to Christianity. The state attorney in Kabul pleads for capital punishment for that man.

In simple words, one of the highest men in the Afghanistan justice wants death penalty for somebody who only changed the religion he wants to belong to.

This shows the level of “human thinking“which the Kabul state attorney is endowed with. It resembles the primitiveness of some totalitarian systems, like German nazi system or the communistic system, which mostly maintained the motto “who is not with us is against us”. This sentence is deeply stupid and deeply primitive.

No wonder that some German politicians said that it is difficult to pursue the goal of globalisation when there are some nations which are more the 500 years behind the development. The human development, including tolerance positive thinking and mutual help was meant.

Unfortunately, we do not have only highly developed nations on one end of the scale and the nations which are estimated to lack some 500 years behind, but we have also nations somewhere in between these two extremes.

Czechs seems to me to represent a good example of a nation “somewhere in between”. The bribery, overall crime and inability to punish crimes are huge in this nation. The human respect toward each other is not too highly developed either. People do not speak with each other as openly as is mostly done among members of a more developed nation.

Very often when they are forced to communicate their sentences are empty, there is no real content to that what they say. Very often they only pretend, and mostly they even do not know it, they consider their way of communicating with each other the best one in the universe.

They use the communication only at the level of semiotics, of signs but there is no or extremely little memetics, memes, contents to that what they say and how they say that.

A typical way of communication between the school management and the teachers and other school staff is, that one person from the school management places a sheet of paper with some requirements on a board and expects everyone to read it and behave accordingly. There is extremely little personal contact at the level of managing, coaching and leading the staff. Seldom are also appraisals of any kind.

It comes to a direct contact only when the school management believes someone deserves punishment for poor performance, which mostly is a mistake or even only misprint in some kind of a form. This kind of communication is mostly carried out in front of all the staff.

There is completely no coaching whatsoever, now systematic development of the school. No improvements in the overall philosophy of teaching and the school could have been observed in last 10 years.

This morning, March 23, 2006, I have read a Czech newspaper saying how important it is to have an experience working or studying abroad. I went nearly nuts, as this is what I have constantly saying to at least two school directors here. In one school I even succeeded in organizing such a study and working stay for Czech students in Germany, completely on private basis, with absolutely no help from whatever kind of local, state or European authority. Which then has been suspended as the respective Czech director was not able to bear the fact that it was work and something extra he had not made himself. I have written and published post to this topic on this BLOG including copies of German newspapers about this study stay of Czech students in Germany. Poor Czech students and poor Czech schools, and of course, poor Czech nation.

The problem is being able to see the small differences. The huge differences of nations at he other ends of developmental scale are easy to see and perceive as negative. If the difference is much smaller hardly anyone can see it and even fewer people are able to describe the difference. Nevertheless the difference between nations does exist, regardless what stupid politicians proclaim. They just do it to be re-elected and not to do their job.

There is extremely lot to this topic, the easiest way to get an idea is to read the article by Derek Gatherer in Journal of Memetics in the internet, and try to understand his model of passing information among people based on a model by Axelrod.

One of the ways how one can approach the problem is the combination of memetics and semiotics. Some people prefer content, memes in their speech and behaviour, and some prefer semiotics, signs, sometimes just only in order to mislead the others.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


memetics in normal life

Memetics, development, East Germans and Czechs compared

Comparison of the East Germans and Czechs as far as their developmental dislike to performance is concerned. Idea initiated by speech by Helmut Schmidt, former German Chancellor and my own experiences with East Germans as well as with Czechs

Today I have read another chapter from a book written by the former German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt. There are many of his public speeches he made shortly after the political turn over in Europe and the reunion of both German states.

He criticises a lot, but according to my understanding , and spite the fact that I think of Helmut Schmidt as the only good Chancellor in Germany in last 30 years, I see there some ideas which I cannot fully agree with. He is very often upset with the arrogance of the West Germens toward the East Germans.

He puts it that way that this arrogance was wrong. I myself am not so much sure. Arrogance comes from a certain feeling. Humans perform constantly one ritual, ritual of estimating their own hierarchy position relative to others, they meet. There is a whole bunch of aspects which are assessed, evaluated and compared.

If it happens that members of a certain group of humans usually perform worse, are nor friendly enough, or tolerant enough, know too little compared to the members of the other group, then, of course, the humans who perceive themselves as smarter, and over all better, at first try to help the others to catch up with them.

Unfortunately, the members of the group which perceive themselves, unconsciously, worse than the first group try at the beginning to catch up. But because it is really a lot to learn, these people do not see results of their efforts immediately and get upset, and start increasing their own worth relative to the better group by swindling, pretending and not by real effort.

Also it seems to me that Helmut Schmidt, maybe because of political reasons, did not find courage enough to tell the truth about the East Germans. This one aspect is that people who live a long time under a certain system which is hostile to high performance will need a lot of time, maybe generations to “recover”. This in turn would mean that for several next generations East Germans will not be prepared to perform as the western people are, with all the consequences.

This low preparedness to perform is common to most eastern people, they will only perform when the incentive is huge, they must be “over motivated, over stimulated” to perform. This can be seen especially at the lower level of each society.

This can be extremely easily observed at vocational schools in the Czech Republic. Most of teenagers attending such schools are not willing to perform, but they do it if they feel a lot of pressure, poor grades or even conditional expel from the school. Usually they do not react positively at positive incentives. Of course there are exceptions, as always, but the majority of the eastern people react and behave that way.

I have also heard complaints about similar states in the west school, and some will argue that this behaviour is not originally coming from the east. Well, I do not believe this; it is coming from the east. If similar reactions or behaviour is found in the west, then mostly in groups of people who originate from the east and stay in a sort of “their own subculture” outside off normal western community.

The group seems to me to be the important thing here, because in one group with a lot of similarities the members of the group are not willing to accept the new ideas, new way of thinking and get on purpose together to get reaffirmation that their thinking and acting is ok, which of course, the group will do.

On the other hand there are single persons coming from whatever other less developed society and when they take the decision to get “assimilated”, they on purpose seek the closeness of the new group and learn the new way of thinking and acting and get assimilated soon. Such people are prepared to perform even more than the original population in the new country.

So it depends if a person changing from one type of society into another one is prepared to get assimilated and activily helps and supports this process, or if a person is not able to do that and though being in the new society it seeks the closeness of its fellows coming from the same society.

This has been observed for decades in all countries with high numbers of immigrants, be it the USA, Germany or even The Czech Republic.

In the second half of the 70`s my American friend told me that some immigrants are extremely willing to perform in order to reach the standards of living of their new home country. He spoke of people of Asiatic and Hispanic origin.

In 80´s I have experienced this on my own as I escaped from Czechoslovakia to Germany, and I have seen that on many other immigrants there. Now I can see the same phenomenon in the Czech Republic. Many people of Vietnamese origin stayed in the Czech Republic after the turn over in 1990. Many of them are already successful businessmen and employ Czechs. Their children, some of them not all of them, are the best students at high schools and strive for some academic degree.

If somebody wants to understand this even better or confront my ideas with ideas of other people I would suggest to read the paper of Derek Gatherer about passing over information among groups of people. This can be found in Journal of Memetics, where Derek uses the SIM model of Axelrod and goes even more into detail.

Actually, this idea if correct would suggest that there are minimally two types of people those who are willing to work hard under new changed conditions and those who are not, and this is most probably valid not only for immigrants but for all the people. The case of immigrants just can serve as a good example as it is easily obvious. It also shows how people “domesticate” themselves by joining or not joining a certain subgroup of society.

So the study of memetics can help to understand the development of groups of people when properly applied to real situations in the world.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Totalitarian management systems in politics and at schools

Totalitarian systems in the developed world

This morning, March 20, 2006, I have seen a report on one German TV channel about election in White Russia, Lukashenko was elected and his opponents maintain the elections were faked. Lukashenko proclaimed that if somebody will be against him he might even be sentenced to death.

It is really strange that in 21st century we still have dictators like this man. Well, or is that not a surprise?? Actually, it is not, all over so called developed world, like USA, European Union and most probably Japan and China too, we have the same system governing our lives.

In the Czech Republic, at the schools I used to teach at this totalitarian and dictator-like system of management is performed the same way as Lukashenko is doing that in White Russia.

The phenomenon might be well called “ruling by fear”! This is the typical way of management in the schools in the Czech Republic as I have experienced that in last 10 years, between 1996 and 2006.

Many times I have had an excited exchange of ideas with the directors when I see that their performance is not good enough. When such exchange of opinions occurs publicly, in front of other teachers, then, occasionally, few of them come to me and say I was right. No one of them has ever shown the courage to express his/her opinion in front of the directors and colleagues. The reason is pretty simple: they are afraid of losing their jobs, and thus their income. This type of fear is misused always by extremely poor directors, managers or politicians.

Thus our “last dictator in Europe”, as Lukashenko is called in the west, is in reality not the last dictator; we have plenty of them on different levels of management of human society, in schools, in factories and in town halls etc.

We will have to pick up our courage and fight these primitive, low-level dictators whenever they might emerge. We need performance being achieved by willing workers, students, managers and teacher, nurses and clerks, and not the performance squeezed out of people by fear. This is extremely primitive way of managing the human society as the whole or its parts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This is a short remark to some statements and an example used by Dawkins with which I absolutely cannot agree. My explanation can you find below.

Genetics, memetics, semiotics, replicators, sheet of paper

Dawkins, Extended phenotype, the active germ-line replicator, page 83

Dawkins takes here a Xeroxed sheet of paper as an example for active replicator, as he says it might appear as a passive replicator but some could argue against that. Well, this is a huge mistake of Dawkins, a sheet of paper, surely might be copied many times and these copies might be again copied many times, but a sheet of paper can never be a replicator. That what is on the sheet is the replicator, but coded. I will explain later. What about an empty sheet of paper, where there is absolutely nothing on it, no text, no picture, just really empty. No one would feel the necessity to copy such a paper.

It is not the paper which is xeroxed, it is the message on the paper, and be it a text or any kind of graphics or picture. So the sheet of paper is only a carrier of the message, it is the vehicle, exactly as the humans are vehicles for the genes. I really am strongly surprised that Dawkins has made such a logical mistake. The comparison, the example with the sheet of paper is absolutely wrong.

Here I would like to show how important it is to link memetics and semiotics together, one cannot exist without the other. Memes are the immaterial contents and signs are the carrier of the memetic messages. This to understand seems so simple and self-explanatory that I cannot understand the opposition against this truth started by many promoters of memetics. I had an email quarrel about the link between semiotics and memetics with Susan Blackmore. Some of our emails are posted on my blog.

A sheet of paper is only a carrier of a message as a CD or a video tape or a book, it is not the book which is copied, it is the ideas printed in the book which are copied. No one would even try to copy and empty CD or empty video tape, this seems absolutely obvious to me. The reason for humans to go and copy some message carrier is the message not the carrier itself.

Actually this logical “misprint” of Dawkins brought me again to the idea to write about memetics and related subjects. Extremely interesting becomes to me epigenetics, as it shows some new discoveries and tries to explain them. I will try to write about epigenetics, genetics, semiotics, memetics, and linguistics as related together in some next article.

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