Musical Selection

The BBC Radio program Discovery asks this question. Does Darwin’s theory of natural selection apply to more than just the evolution of life? It’s been extended from genes to memes and now from memes to artistic production. And why not? The feedback loops which drive natural selection and the spread of cultural information could easily be applied to the interaction between maker and beholder of art, design, literature, and music.

The ideas this program raise are slippery. There is an elusive blur between cause and effect—the old chicken and the egg conundrum that can easily have us jumping to erroneous conclusions. Feedback loops are circles with no beginning, no end. Nevertheless, interesting notions are stirred. It turns on its head the belief that great creativity comes from inborn genius. Great art and artists may be made by external selection rather than by their own talent. Go take a listen. BBC World Service Discovery [Darwin’s Tunes]

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