Re: MD levels

From: Wim Nusselder (
Date: Sun Nov 17 2002 - 21:35:15 GMT

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    Dear Platt,

    You wrote 7/11 11:51 -0500:
    'The meaning of "consciousness" is flexible ... experience exists at all
    levels. I take this to mean that awareness exists at all levels. Further, I
    believe that awareness expands with each succeeding level ... A major factor
    that distinguishes the intellectual level from those below is the
    "emergence" of self-awareness at that level. ... your restriction of
    consciousness thus defined to the intellectual level would be correct.'

    I agree that the meaning of 'consciousness' is too flexible to make it very
    useful in defining the intellectual level.

    In the quote from Pirsig you provided (from 'Lila's child') he doesn't use
    'consciousness' to define 'intellectual patterns of values'. He equates them
    and then defines them both as 'the collection and manipulation of symbols,
    created in the brain, that stand for patterns of experience'. This
    is/implies only one of the possible (flexible) definitions of consciousness.

    Defining consciousness as 'the collection and manipulation of symbols,
    created in the brain, that stand for patterns of experience' is not
    logically equivalent with defining consciousness as 'self-awareness'.
    Combining them implies an -interesting and attractive- explanation of
    'self-awareness' as resulting from collecting and manipulating symbols.

    How would you define the consciousness-interpreted-as-awareness that
    operates across levels and expands with each succeeding level? 'Value'
    interpreted as 'that without which we don't experience anything' is the main
    phenomenon present across levels according to the MoQ (even if 'the "value"
    that holds a glass of water together and the "value" that holds a nation
    together ... are completely different from each other'). What additional
    meaning does your 'awareness' have compared to this 'value'? Why is this
    statement 'that awareness expands with each succeeding level' important for

    For me it adds little but the connotation that 'something is aware of
    something else', in other words it implies a subject-object split. After the
    pains Pirsig took to remove this connotation from the term 'value', this
    seems undesirable to me. ('Value' for Pirsig is not the result of a subject
    valuing an object, but subjects and objects are deductions from values, from
    the pre-intellectual essence of experience. 'Values are more empirical ...
    than subjects or objects.' according to 'Lila' ch. 5)

    With friendly greetings,


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