March 1, 2009

the first order auto-dependence of cultural inheritence

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:30 pm by changisme

So for awhile I’ve been holding the strong view that our current culture, namely, value structure, foods, aesthetics, relationship common ground etc, only depends on a very near past. For instance, foods we eat and recipes we use were only discovered very recently, like potatoes and tomatoes and so on.

Nonetheless, there remains a complication and I think I have come to appreciate the dependence on the further past. 

Our culture has a time series structure. Each step depends only on the very near past, (in a first order structure, Y_t = f(x_t, x_t-1), ie, the currently situation depends on now and one generation back), we can probably extend this to 2nd order, and that’s really as far as I’d go. However, over time, present is still indirectly dependent on the very far past.

I guess this has always held true in my head, but not really in my mind. Or rather, I have under estimated the amount of influence that carries forward, or how slowly cultures actually evolves. One reason I saw it that way is because the dependence between one generation to the next is not always a positive correlation but rather a negative one, ie, if the mother generation is into pink, the daughter generation would detest pink. This is not always the case, especially in culinary. LOL

So these "back and forth" of cultural movement shows a canceling effect that fogs my eyes. It’s evertheless a dependence that can hardly be ignored.