From: Wim Nusselder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 13 2003 - 22:21:15 BST
A reply to your essay (www.elizaphanian.v-2-1.net/Eudaimonic-moq.htm) as
copied to the list (by me) in 4
parts 9 Apr 2003 22:33:54 +0200, 9 Apr 2003 22:34:14 +0200, 10 Apr 2003
22:13:44 +0200 and 10 Apr 2003 22:13:57 +0200.
Just for the record (I think discussing 'the standard MoQ' is less fruitful
than discussing what you and I think the MoQ should be):
1) You write: 'The inorganic level is shaped by the laws of physics. These
laws are a codification of the value choices made by atoms and molecules.'
I would write: 'The inorganic level can be described by the laws of physics.
These laws codify the values inherent in the patterned behavior of
elementary particles, atoms, molecules or whatever else we suppose to be the
constituent elements of physical reality.'
I would likewise rewrite your consequent descriptions of laws at the other
2) I wouldn't include in the standard account the idea that only humans
experience social (and intellectual) quality.
3) I wouldn't write that 'The social level is the "subjective customs of
groups of people".' I would delete at least 'subjective' from such a
definition/description. That would make the definition of a term in the MoQ
dependent on Subject Object Metaphysics. For me individual customs/habits
(unthinking behavior not yet being part of a pattern among more people) that
CAN be copied by others are also part of the social level.
4) I don't consider 'language' (without further explanation) to be THE first
static latch of the social level. 'Language' can describe anything from
DNA-encoded, instinctual 'social' behavior of animals (and even plants!)
that communicates information between individuals of a species up to
communication employing abstract symbols.
Any sustained way of copying unthinking/habitual behavior can latch that
behavior (form a social pattern of value that holds together a
group/society). The first way of doing so can well have been nonverbal, even
if it was probably accompanied by a developmental leap in the development of
language from DNA-encoded communication behavior to 'socially encoded'
5) The values that are exemplified by celebrities are not necessarily the
values that are inherent in social patterns of value. E.g. the values that
are exemplified by a famous sportsman more often than not are quite absent
the patterns of behavior of his supporters... The stability of the social
pattern of value that holds together that group of supporters, their
'customs' if you want, has no obvious relation to the value of the
'celebrated' behavior of the 'celebrity'.
6) You write: 'The DQ innovation and static latch which enabled the
intellectual level to come into being has not been satisfactorily
determined.' and immediately after that: 'The intellectual level is shaped
by the notion of "truth"'.
Couldn't that 'notion of truth' be a satisfactory first intellectual latch
for the standard account of the MoQ? In chapter 30 of 'Lila' Pirsig quite
clearly suggests that the start of the intellectual level could have been
the first religious truths that were derived from religious rituals some
50.000 or 100.000 years ago (as we discussed before). That notion can be
redescribed as a notion of a distinction between experience and (more or
less 'true') explanations for that experience. These explanations were (I
think) first sought in animated things, wills different from one's own will,
wills that could be communicated with, placated, participated in,
surrendered to etc.. The idea of an objective reality as explanation of
subjective experience (implying subject-object thinking) was a second phase
of intellectual evolution that may have started with Socrates or Sophocles.
As Marco suggested 15 Mar 2002 23:41:15 +0100 the start of the intellectual
level may simply have been the question 'Why?' (implying the idea that there
should be an answer, an explanation).
7) About the intellectual level I would write: 'The intellectual level can
be described by intellectual "laws" like the laws of logic. These laws
codify the values inherent in the patterns of ideas used by people to
motivate their actions.' I see no need for the concepts of 'guardians of the
intellectual level' or 'contest between social and intellectual patterns of
value'. There can be a contest however between 'intellectual justification
of existing social patterns and .... [intellectual opposition of] the
existing social patterns' as Pirsig suggested in an annotation in 'Lila's
Child' (nr. 45 or somewhat later).
I don't see (or agree with) the problems you see with the standard account.
I will address them in a next e-mail.
With friendly greetings,
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