RE: MD Can Only Humans Respond to DQ?

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Nov 17 2002 - 23:46:45 GMT

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    Platt said:
    Come now. He doesn't say she's "devoid" of intellectual patterns. He
    says: "Biologically she's fine, socially she's pretty far down the scale,
    intellectually she's nowhere." (13)

    DMB says:
    I was citing Lila as an example, not quoting Pirsig. On top of that, you
    seem to suggest that saying "she's devoid of intellectual patterns" is
    somehow different than saying that "intellectually she's nowhere". It means
    the same thing. Nowhere. Nada. Zip Zero. No matter how you slice it, she
    ain't got none. And yet she's dynamic. Which answers your question, in the
    negative. Intellectual patterns are not required for dynamism. Let's keep
    our eye on the ball, shall we?It seems to have gotten lost somewhere just
    after you said, "Come now."? So what's the beef with actual issue and my
    answer to your question? Isn't an "intellectually nowhere" dynamic woman a
    solid example? Or are you going to dispute Pirsig on the descriptions of his
    own characters to make it go away? You've changed the subject and gotten
    that wrong too. Sheesh.

    Platt said:
    He's speaking here in relative terms, not absolutes. Besides, if Lila were
    devoid of intellectual patterns, she couldn't think. In Lila's Child, Pirsig

    writes: "Intellect is simply thinking, and one can think without involving
    subject-object relationship."

    DMB says:
    In terms of intellectual values, Lila CAN'T think. Its not that she was born
    with out a brain or doesn't now which way is up. But clearly Pirsig drew her
    character to show what dynamism looks like on the biological level. (Not too
    good, she's sleazy, rude, tacky and on the brink of insanity.) The quote
    doesn't have anything to do with this, however. It only says that Intellect
    is larger than subject object thinking. It shatters Bo's SOLAQI and I very
    much agree with it, but it has nothing to do with Lila's dynamism or lack of
    intellect. Again, you're taking your eye off the ball.

    Platt said:
    My interpretation of sex and such is that they were all Dynamic
    responses that happened in the past but are now simply repetitions of
    firmly ensconced static (unchanging) patterns of behavior. Admittedly,
    Pirsig isn't absolutely clear on this question. That's why I raised it.

    DMB says:
    I think there's some truth to this. The sex organs, for example, are encoded
    in the DNA and are certainly static biological patterns. Its the choosing
    and the act itself that can be dynamic. Either you know about the dynamic
    quality of this from your own personal experience or you have my deepest

    Platt quoted:
    Again, a passage from Lila's Child appears to confirm the view that only
    humans can respond to DQ:
    "Since the MOQ states that consciousness (i.e. intellectual patterns) is
    the collection and manipulation of symbols, created in the brain, that
    stand for patterns of experience, then artificial intelligence would be the

    collection and manipulation of symbols, created in a machine, that
    stand for patterns of experience. If one agrees that experience exists at
    the inorganic level, then it is clear that computers already have artificial

    intelligence. A question arises if the term "consciousness" is expanded
    to mean "intuition" or "mystic awareness." Then computers are shut
    out by the fact that static patterns do not create Dynamic quality or
    respond to it." If intuition and mystical awareness as well as intellect are
    required to respond to DQ, then only humans are eligible.

    DMB says:
    I can see how you'd draw your conclusion from this quote, but I think its
    too much of a reach. I don't yet have a copy of Lila's Child, but it easy to
    see that pirsig is answering a question about computers and artifical
    intelligence. Two recent quotes spring to mind as much more clear and simple
    with respect to the issue. The one from LC defining the self as "a
    collection of static patterns capable of responding to DQ" and from Lila
    which defines a person as something like"a forrest of static patterns
    migrating toward DQ". These two describe us as static quality in a
    relationship Dynamic Quality. Also, Since there are humans without
    intellect, the question of whether intellectual values are necessary is
    slightly different than whether or not humans are necessary. Think of the
    creative activities of Heisenburg and Bohr. Certainly that would require
    intellectual values. But the Brujo was no intellectual. His dynamism was of
    a social level variety. And Lila's biological dynamism seems more degenerate
    than evolutionary, but she's able to respond to DQ at that level
    nonetheless. The quote about a computer's ability to have mystical awareness
    answers a different question and shouldn't be used to undo all these quotes
    and examples, which only support each other in a coherent picture. I don't
    see how the universe could have ever evolved beyond the inorganic level
    unless static patterns even at the lowest level didn't have SOME capability
    to respond to DQ.


    Then there's the famous passage in Lila regarding capital punishment
    where Pirsig says it's wrong for society to kill someone who is not a
    threat to social patterns because he, as a "living being" is capable of
    responding to DQ and thus might change society for the better.
    Whether a "living being" is restricted to mean "human being" is not
    clear, but in that context it would seem so.

    Anyway, the issue is debatable, and I wonder what others think. Can
    lower patterns respond to DQ to create something better or just a
    collection of patterns able to think like us?


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