Spears or Mozart_”Consider, for instance, one of Mozart’s compositions, one that is retained stably in our concert repertoire… The persistence with which a Mozart symphony reappears in our concert programmes is solely a consequence of its high selection value. In order for this to retain the effect, the work must be played again and again, the public must take note of it, and it must be continually re-evaluated in competition with other compositions.”(Dennett, 348)
_The first thought to develop in my mind after digesting the above passage was this: Mozart achieved notability and longevity in the field of music, and so did pop queen Britney Spears. The thought continued to plague me. Use of the phrase “concert repertoire” is easily applicable to Britney. She performs music in a concert to an audience that adores her. They may be twelve-year-old girls and infatuated boys, but she keeps them as fans as her career progresses. Is this “solely a consequence of high selection value?” Britney’s public continues to “take note” of her, a requirement for “persistence.” The radio ensures that the work is repeatedly played to obtain the desired effect of inebriation and subsequently enforced pleasure.
_According to Dennett, permanency is acquired when “human conservators” prevent a piece of culture from a fate that means, “to dissolve in time.” We all long for immortality, do we not? If a genie appeared and informed us we had three wishes, would not one of them be for something like fame, fortune, or immortality? Mozart has been conserved because of his selection value, because people have enjoyed his music and continue to enjoy it and deem it worthy of reputable celebrity. Britney Spears has achieved a similar preservation because her public has deemed her in possession of a high selection value, but does she warrant the reputable celebrity we give to Mozart?
_Once her public turns away from her, Spears will dissolve in the mind’s eye. The same could someday occur to Mozart. Can we study Mozart and Spears under the same lens with the same rules? Dennett believes we have “competitions that rage through a human mind (359).” Competitions take place to achieve a high selection value, to gain longevity. There are memes that fight to occupy our attention, and somewhere inside of us there is something pulling on us to decide what we like or do not like, what we strive for or do not strive for.