From: David MOREY (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 19:27:07 BST
Shouldn't mind be split into levels,
intellectual-also often conventional
dynamic-possibly laying down change an any level.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Turner" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2003 1:25 PM
Subject: RE: MD Evolution of levels
> 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
> 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.
> I see that you differentiate between a subjectivity relating to the
> 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
> 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]
> 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.
> It can and is. You just don't accept the MOQ; it's as simple as that!
> and - above all - its "mind"
> "component" can't be made into MOQ's intellect.
> 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.
> In the latter case
> one automatically draws this "diagram" of the MOQ:
> Inorg+Bio+Socio (=objective)/Intellect (=subjective).
> How can a social pattern be objective? Can you distinguish between an
> elected government and a primitive tribe with scientific measuring
> 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:
> Yes, and also says that the "mind" term should be avoided ...which is
> impossible, this is the knot that the SOL cuts through:
> "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.
> 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.
> 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]
> Yes, and it creates an intellectual level where experience is an
> abstract variety of the real experience at the other levels ...exactly
> the SOM.
> 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]
> 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.
> There is no thinking required in assertions of value at the social
> level. Again, you give thinking too much credit.
> > ..you 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..."
> I stand corrected, but we would soon tire of such a "caveat" at the end
> of each sentence.
> I guess I value maintaining integrity over avoiding being tiresome. It's
> a personal choice though.
> 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?
> 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
> 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.
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