Yes, I agree with your 14/9 23:12 +0200 'suggestion of analyzing intellect
according to a basic split: "Intellect serving society" vs "Intellect that
is not serving society"'
It conforms more or less to my distinction between primary and secondary
intellectual progress in my 'methodology of progress' as described in my
4/4/02 23:00 +0200 post to Roger in the 'Is society making progress?'
thread. (I copy the relevant part of that post underneath. The post as a
whole was even longer and the preceding bit probably put off everyone else
'This split, in facts, is not made to classify people, but single ideas.'
I am not sure if I wouldn't also want to leave open the possibility that an
idea BOTH serves society AND serves own purposes of intellect.
E.g. the ideas
- that there exists an 'Reality' (consisting of 'objects') independent of
our (subjective) experience and
- that Science has (i.e. that the methods of science give) privileged access
to Truth (defined as 'objective knowledge' or 'knowledge of that Reality')
NOT ONLY serve an intellectual purpose
of founding, developing in ever growing detail and maintaining the
scientific worldview aka the world as we know it
BUT ALSO serve a social purpose
of keeping Church, State and other would-be sources of authoritative
statements off the backs of scientists.
With friendly greetings,
from a post of 4/4/02 23:00 +0200 from Wim to Roger in the 'Is society
making progress?' thread:
'I am glad you continue (24/3 8:36 -0500) to write that you are 'fine at
starting with intellectual hypotheses, and seeing how they work'.
Your suggestion to 'start with proven solutions that lead to the current
best results', reminds me of what I wrote 9/2 21:04 +0500 about social
patterns of values:
'A social pattern of values is reproduced by people copying behavior of
other people over generations; its
static latch is reproduced behavior or "culture", "accumulated ways to do
things" ... that have proven conducive to survival.'
To me it seems essential to distinguish between different types of 'best
1) biological best results: more survival chances for species and ecosystems
by offering more freedom from want (the primary purpose of social patterns
2) the 'purposes of its own' social patterns of values 'go off on' when they
'get more sophisticated' (see 'Lila' ch. 12): survival of the social pattern
of values itself by balancing stability and versatility in harmony with an
intellectual pattern of values (the secondary purpose of social patterns of
3) social best results: more survival chances for groups and societies by
offering them more freedom from social evils (the primary purpose of
intellectual patterns of values)
4) the 'purposes of its own' intellectual patterns of values 'go off on'
when they 'get more sophisticated': survival of the intellectual pattern of
values itself by balancing stability and versatility in harmony with Dynamic
Quality (the secondary purpose of social patterns of values).
The results you suggest 24/3 8:36 -0500 ('the best combination of health,
wealth, opportunity, freedom, self determination, environmental harmony,
fairness, and ... a strong foundation for intellectual progress') are a
mixture of these different types of results. Consequently these results have
to be accomplished by a mixture of primary social progress (when it is still
subservient to biological patterns of values), secondary social progress
(when it goes off on purposes of its own), primary intellectual progress
(when it is still subservient to social patterns of values) and secondary
intellectual progress (when it goes off
on purposes of its own). These types of progress coexist; they don't only
succeed each other.
Depending on interpretation a word like 'health' can indicate results of all
four types. (See John B.'s 17/3 14:03 +1000 posting for a very broad
interpretation of 'health'. The most common interpretation in everyday
parlance indicates only results of the first type.)
'Wealth' too allows quite diverse interpretations (somewhat less than
'health' however: types 1,
2 and 3 I'd say).
'Opportunity' seems to me to indicate results of type 2 and 3.
'Freedom' can again be interpreted as indicating results of all four types.
I would interpret 'self determination' mainly as results of type 3 and 4,
but type 2 may also be possible.
'Environmental harmony' is a strange mixture of results of type 1 and 4, I'd
'Fairness', being a typical intellectual value (a 'reflection' on social
level results), can only be a result of type 3 and 4.
'Founding intellectual progress' is a mixture of results of type 1 and 3.
What are the 'proven solutions that lead to the current best results' of
1) The primary purpose of social patterns of values, more survival chances
for species and ecosystems by offering more freedom from want, is served by
technology, accumulated ways to do things that have proven conducive to
survival. ('Technology' can be used in a social or an intellectual sense:
the actual ways in which we do things or the reflection on and description
of the best ways to do things. I use it in the social sense here.)
Primary social progress, which is subservient to biological patterns of
values, is closely related to technological progress. It is not identical
however. Technological progress is not always conducive to survival. Some
types of technological 'progress' unbalance ecosystems or represent a kind
of 'stagnation' in the sense that they don't address urgent survival
problems. Technological 'progress' can represent primary social regression
rather than progress ... This should be kept in mind, even if I use
'technological progress' hereafter as more or less synonymous with primary
Without an intellectual level (or while intellect was still primitive)
technological progress only proceeds by trial and error. Primary
intellectual progress (subservient to social patterns of values)
'turbo-charges' technological progress.
The current best results of type 1 available to humanity, to global society,
are more than sufficient to safeguard survival of homo sapiens and of all
mother earth's ecosystems. If these methods of biological survival would be
freely available to all societies, further technological progress would be
unnecessary. The fact that these means of biological survival are
distributed unequally among different groups of people (social patterns of
values) corresponds to unequal opportunities for social patterns of values
to 'go off on purposes of [their] own'. If a society does not have the
technological means to safeguard its own survival and that of its ecosystem
(its environment), the survival of the social pattern of values holding that
society together is severely threatened.
Primary social progress implies competition of social patterns of values
with the forces of nature and of growing cooperation to support technology
of increasing complexity. Primary social progress is finite. It ends when a
society has guaranteed its survival to the extent that it has created a
technology that is in harmony with the biological patterns of values that
sustain it, its ecosystem.
2) The secondary purpose of social patterns of values, their own survival,
is served by 'creative status management': creation of new status symbols,
reapportioning status symbols etc. in order to prevent opting out and
stimulate opting in and in order to motivate development of practices that
serve collective interests. (I use 'status' in the sense of a common
denominator of all sorts of rewards and incentives.)
Secondary social progress implies competition between societies (fuelling
their evolution) and growing inclusiveness (scale; yielding more competitive
strength) combined with growing complexity and internal diversity
(offsetting the reduction of competition implied by decreasing numbers of
more inclusive societies). We already identified stability, versatility and
harmony with an intellectual pattern of values as success factors for that
type of progress. ('Success isn't theoretical, it is directly observable.'
as you wrote 16/3 13:09 -0500. For me that is implied by talking about
social progress as distinguished from intellectual progress.)
Without intellectual level secondary social progress too proceeds by trial
and error and is 'turbo-charged' by primary intellectual progress.
Secondary social progress is infinite. A society can always go on becoming
more competitive, inclusive, complex and internally diverse. You identified
this 12/1 13:47 -0500 as 'the Red Queen effect -- you run faster and faster
just to stay in the same place' ('the same place' implying to me that the
society stays just as guaranteed of its survival as before in terms of its
harmony with the biological patterns of values that sustain it).
>From my point of view you were mixing primary and secondary social progress
when you wrote 12/1 13:47 -0500:
'social quality CAN lead to progress along various dimensions while relative
social rankings/status are always zero sum. People and nations strive for
status and power and though any relative gain comes only at the cost of
relative losses, at an absolute level, quality marches forward. The Red
Queen effect leads to constant striving in a zero sum game that creates
valuable, positive sum aspects of social quality.'
3) The primary purpose of intellectual patterns of values, more survival
chances for groups and societies by offering more freedom from social evils,
is served by science and by technology in its intellectual sense,
accumulated knowledge ('know-how'). Note that it has a component enhancing
biological results (turbo-charging primary social progress) AND a component
enhancing social results (turbo-charging secondary social progress).
Primary intellectual progress is not identical with increasing knowledge.
Knowledge is not always conducive to group survival. Some types unbalance
societies or don't address urgent social problems. This should be kept in
A 5th level of values, whenever it occurs, will be recognizable by the
'turbo-charging' of intellectual progress. One component of this will be
that it will become much easier to guarantee survival for groups and
societies. The current best results of type 3 (knowledge in the
intellectually progressive sense) available to humanity, to global society,
are not yet sufficient to safeguard survival of groups and societies that
want to survive. What's primarily needed for that is collective rights and
expertise, the right and the ability of any group and any society not to be
pushed back (by social competition) into a situation in which it does not
have the technological means to safeguard its own survival and that of its
Primary intellectual progress implies competition of intellectual patterns
of values with social forces and of growing integration of systems of ideas.
Primary intellectual progress is finite. It ends when individuals have
guaranteed their survival to the extent that they have gained rights and
expertise that are in harmony with the social patterns of values that
sustain them, their culture.
4) The secondary purpose of intellectual patterns of values, their own
survival, is served by 'creative management of truth': creation of new
'realities' (like mythology, all kinds of 'laws', cyberspace...),
rearranging relations of 'meaning' and 'abstraction' between these realities
etc. in order to the right mix of stability and dispute and in order to
motivate development of ideas that serve individual interests.
Secondary intellectual progress implies competition between individual
values and sets of ideas (fuelling their evolution) and growing unification
(growing sets of ideas and patterns of intellectual values with ever more
adherents) combined with growing complexity and internal diversity
(offsetting the reduction of competition implied by decreasing numbers of
sets of ideas and patterns of intellectual values). Stability, versatility
harmony with Dynamic Quality are the success factors for this type of
Secondary intellectual progress is -like secondary social progress-
infinite. Individual values and sets of ideas can always go on becoming more
competitive (more successful in claiming to be 'true'), inclusive, complex
and internally diverse.
What's needed besides collective rights to safeguard survival of groups and
societies that want to survive is individual rights (to life, freedom,
happiness and a say in government). Just as the social level 'turbo-charges'
homo sapiens' ability to survive biologically by gaining group survival,
similarly the intellectual level 'turbo-charges' the ability of groups to
survive socially by gaining the survival of individuals and their personal
intellectual values. When groups have gained in primary social progress the
technological means to survive in specific circumstances and competition
between groups for secondary social progress guarantees technological
flexibility, homo sapiens as a whole will always be able to adapt to (even
very adverse) biological or inorganic circumstances (like an ice age, global
warming or a meteor impact like the one that may have 'valued' the
extinction of dinosaurs). Similarly when individuals have gained in primary
intellectual progress the knowledge to uphold their dignity in specific
social conditions and competition between individuals (or rather their
intellectual values) for secondary intellectual progress guarantees
flexibility of ideas, the group of which they are a member will always be
able to adapt to (even very adverse) social or biological circumstances
(like terrorist attacks, invasion by a superior military power or internal
decadence and degeneration like that eroding the defenses of the Roman
empire against barbaric invasions in the 4th and 5th centuries AD).
How's that for a METHODOLOGY of progress (as distinguished from
MOQ.ORG - http://www.moq.org
Mail Archive - http://alt.venus.co.uk/hypermail/moq_discuss/
MD Queries - email@example.com
To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 25 2002 - 16:06:33 BST