Re: MD Evolution of levels

From: David MOREY (
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 19:27:07 BST

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    Shouldn't mind be split into levels,
    biological -drives/instinct
    social-memory/conventional behaviour
    intellectual-also often conventional
    dynamic-possibly laying down change an any level.

    David M
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Paul Turner" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2003 1:25 PM
    Subject: RE: MD Evolution of levels

    > Bo
    > [Bo:]
    > You are an expert in throwing quotations at me, relevant no doubt, but
    > Pirsig has said many things. As you will see.
    > I just found a Pirsig letter from 1993 wherein I had asked
    > "As a matter of fact I have always been a little intrigued by this level
    > (intellect) You pinpoint its "breakthrough" (in the Western World at
    > least) to the end of the First World War, but its emergence has always
    > been a puzzle to me".
    > PIRSIG replied:
    > "The emergence of the intellectual level is most closely associated in
    > my mind with the ancient Greek philosophers and particularly
    > Socrates who continually pitted truth-seeking against social
    > conformity. This seems why they killed him
    > [Paul:]
    > Yes, I saw this in Lila's Child. Either he is using "emergence" to
    > describe a social pattern becoming an intellectual pattern, which is the
    > assumption that started this thread, or he is using "emergence" to
    > describe intellectual patterns beginning to become independent from the
    > restraint of social institutions in ancient Greece, culminating in the
    > intellectual domination of society after the first world war.
    > Either way, it is of little consequence. The intellectual level is
    > clearly defined by Pirsig as thinking, the collection and manipulation
    > of symbols that stand for patterns of experience. Whether thinking
    > started out as a social pattern or a discrete pattern in an evolutionary
    > level of its own does not change the definition that applies now, which
    > is when we are applying it to our experience. Pirsig is clear about this
    > in Lila's Child
    > "My statement that "Both 'the genius' and the mentally retarded person
    > are at the social level" is intended to refute the statement that "the
    > genius appears to be on a higher evolutionary level." A person who holds
    > an idea is a social entity, no matter what ideas he holds. The ideas he
    > holds are an intellectual entity, no matter who holds them." [Lila's
    > Child p.579]
    > This is a clear definition and I choose to accept it because it is
    > consistent with the discrete nature of the levels and all but a few
    > statements in Lila. You will no doubt choose to reject it because it
    > ruins your SOLAQI proposal, which, as you know, Pirsig also rejects.
    > [Bo:]
    > I see that you differentiate between a subjectivity relating to the
    > socio-
    > intellect aggregate and a "mind"-subjectivity at the intellectual level
    > Paul (the 15th in this thread)
    > > In the MOQ, "subjective" is social-intellectual patterns. Mind is
    > > intellectual patterns. Pirsig is talking about subject-object
    > > metaphysics equating subjective with mind, not the MOQ:
    > ...but do you think a living soul is able to understand the nature of
    > this
    > difference?
    > [Paul:]
    > Yes. People who understand the MOQ should see the difference easily. I
    > would say that you give thinking too much credit for your actions. When
    > you become aware of social forces, you wouldn't deny there is a
    > difference between society and thought. A school is a social pattern,
    > but it doesn't have a mind. Is the government a big mind? Do governments
    > exert influence only when you think about them? I think I don't want to
    > pay tax this month...
    > [Paul prev cited:]
    > > "A conventional subject-object metaphysics uses the same four static
    > > patterns as the Metaphysics of Quality, dividing them into two groups
    > of two: inorganic-biological patterns
    > > called "matter" and social-intellectual patterns called "mind". But
    > this division is the source of the
    > > problem." [Lila p.177]
    > [Bo:]
    > SOM's most "conventional" off-spring is the mind/matter schism,
    > if this is to be replaced by the MOQ it must be "devoured" properly, it
    > can't be kept (in one fashion) as an intellectual pattern, in another
    > fashion as the inorg+org=object ..etc.
    > [Paul:]
    > It can and is. You just don't accept the MOQ; it's as simple as that!
    > [Bo:]
    > and - above all - its "mind"
    > "component" can't be made into MOQ's intellect.
    > [Paul:]
    > It can and has been, but once we understand the MOQ, we can drop the
    > term "mind" and replace it with "static intellectual patterns of value"
    > when talking to others who also understand it.
    > [Bo:]
    > In the latter case
    > one automatically draws this "diagram" of the MOQ:
    > Inorg+Bio+Socio (=objective)/Intellect (=subjective).
    > [Paul:]
    > How can a social pattern be objective? Can you distinguish between an
    > elected government and a primitive tribe with scientific measuring
    > instruments?
    > Again, I accept Pirsig's definitions
    > "Yes, it's clear I've been of two minds on whether subjects and objects
    > should be included in the MOQ. My earlier view, when I was concentrating
    > on the confusion of subject-object thinking, was to get rid of them
    > entirely to help clarify things. Later I began to see it's not necessary
    > to get rid of them because the MOQ can encase them neatly within its
    > structure-the upper two levels being subjective, and the lower two,
    > objective. Still later I saw that the subject-object distinction is very
    > useful for sharply distinguishing between biological and social levels.
    > If I had been more careful in my editing, I would have eliminated or
    > modified the earlier statements to bring them into agreement with the
    > latter ones." [Lila's Child p.530]
    > [Bo quoted Paul:]
    > > He equates mind, thoughts and ideas with intellectual patterns >
    > several times:
    > [Bo:]
    > Yes, and also says that the "mind" term should be avoided ...which is
    > impossible, this is the knot that the SOL cuts through:
    > [Paul:]
    > "Mind" is a poor term because it used in many different ways both
    > generally and philosophically. "Static intellectual pattern of values"
    > describes the mind as the most evolved manifestation of assertions of
    > value. The mind does not need to be "cut through".
    > [Paul prev cited:]
    > > "In Lila, I never defined the intellectual level of the MOQ, since
    > > everyone who is up to reading Lila already knows what "intellectual"
    > > means.
    > [Bo:]
    > Right, but the dictionaries does not define intellect/intellectual as
    > "mind". My "Oxford Advanced" says: "Power of the mind to reason,
    > contrasted with feeling and instinct". Which means that there is an
    > emotional MIND as well as an instinctive MIND.
    > [Paul:]
    > As I said, "mind" is a poor term.
    > [Paul prev cited:]
    > > For purposes of MOQ precision, let's say that the intellectual
    > > level is the same as mind. It is the collection and manipulation of
    > > symbols, created in the brain, that stand for patterns of experience."
    > > [Lila's Child p.64]
    > [Bo:]
    > Yes, and it creates an intellectual level where experience is an
    > abstract variety of the real experience at the other levels ...exactly
    > as
    > the SOM.
    > [Paul:]
    > If you chop out the "real" from that statement then it reads:
    > "it creates an intellectual level where experience is an
    > abstract variety of the experience at the other levels"
    > Which I would say is correct. Intellectual patterns are as real as any
    > other experience. This is the difference between the MOQ and materialist
    > versions of SOM. Mind and matter are co-existing levels of value
    > patterns but neither is fundamental. He has never denied mind or matter
    > an existence; he just doesn't make it the primary division of
    > experience. This is basic MOQ.
    > > [Paul:]
    > > "Intellect is simply thinking, and one can think without involving the
    > > subject-object relationship." [Lila's Child p.289]
    > [Bo:]
    > Yes, one can "think", and that was/is done when we are at the social
    > level. But one cannot REASON without it and that is intellect defined
    > by dictionaries.
    > [Paul:]
    > There is no thinking required in assertions of value at the social
    > level. Again, you give thinking too much credit.
    > > refer to your interpretation of Pirsig as if it is what he
    > > secretly intended. I have no problem whatsoever with discussing
    > > interpretations, modifications, even pragmatist strong misreadings as
    > > long as we are clear on where we have knowingly changed the meaning of
    > > Pirsig's [or anyone else's] terms to suit our proposal. For example,
    > > your argument above could read:
    > > "It would be better if "thinking" was not the definition of the
    > > intellectual level because..."
    > [Bo:]
    > I stand corrected, but we would soon tire of such a "caveat" at the end
    > of each sentence.
    > [Paul:]
    > I guess I value maintaining integrity over avoiding being tiresome. It's
    > a personal choice though.
    > [Bo:]
    > And about Pirsig's intentions. Except for the cited
    > letter, there are many indications of an intellect that fits the S/O
    > interpretation, for example this from.
    > Lila Chapter 20:
    > > Perhaps in Homer's time, when evolution had not
    > > yet transcended the social level into the intellectual....
    > You have surely denied it before, but at Homer's time (4000 years
    > ago) the intellectual level had not been established and he wrote the
    > "Iliad" without having "symbol manipulation" at his disposal?
    > [Paul:]
    > This sentence [are there others?], with a certain meaning of
    > "transcended" being used, supports your interpretation that the
    > intellectual level did not emerge until Socrates, as stated by Pirsig in
    > his letter to you. There are quotes from Pirsig that don't support your
    > interpretation and are much less ambiguous
    > "A social pattern which would be unaware of the next higher level would
    > be found among prehistoric people and the higher primates when they
    > exhibit social learning that is not genetically hardwired but yet is not
    > symbolic." [Lila's Child p.546]
    > And in terms of "writing"
    > "Those aspects of a language that a microphone or camera can pick up are
    > objective and therefore biological. Those aspects of a language which a
    > microphone or camera cannot pick up (i.e., meaning) are subjective and
    > therefore social. If the gorilla understands what is meant in ways that
    > are socially learned, then the gorilla is acting socially. If the
    > gorilla can read and write and add and subtract then it is acting
    > intellectually." [Lila's Child p.576]
    > What this comes down to is that I find the MOQ makes perfect sense when
    > you take his definitions [as provided in Lila's Child, SODV, and letters
    > published in Ant McWatt's papers] and read ZMM and Lila with them in
    > mind. You don't.
    > You have only succeeded in demonstrating that Pirsig contradicts himself
    > at times. Well done. My response to that is to take the least ambiguous,
    > most direct and recent statements [such as those above] and iron out
    > inconsistencies in agreement with them.
    > Your approach is to take the inconsistencies and use them to demonstrate
    > that he has radically changed his vision from the original one that only
    > you have picked up on. You then build your interpretation from a few
    > inconsistent statements, ultimately requiring us to accept modifications
    > which Pirsig has refuted.
    > Nevertheless, by ironing out inconsistencies, you can argue that I am
    > also putting forward an interpretation. I accept that. I would simply
    > argue that I have taken into account all of his work in assembling my
    > interpretation with nothing like a "SOLAQI" of my own to force me to
    > exclude much of his later writing.
    > Anyway, I think I've devoted enough time to your project. Looking at the
    > archives I am just the latest in a long line of contributors to say the
    > same things to you so I am under no illusion that you would begin to
    > accept anything I say. It would be good if we could discuss Pirsig's
    > ideas without [just for once perhaps] having to bring your SOLAQI idea
    > into the debate.
    > I recently asked you to take the time to define just what it was about
    > Pirsig's MOQ that you find so objectionable and without reference to
    > your solution. You didn't take me up on that, other than saying that
    > "the difficulties have emerged with the mind-definition of the
    > intellectual
    > Level" without saying what those "difficulties" are. So I take it you
    > can't. Until you do, I take it you just like the sound of your own idea
    > and keep looking for ways to convince us it is better than anything
    > Pirsig has come up with. Keep trying if you wish, there are plenty of
    > people on this forum, but I'm afraid I've stopped listening for now.
    > Paul
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