MF Intellectual definitions

From: Marco (
Date: Tue Jun 06 2000 - 23:04:42 BST

MOQ Foxes,

I enter this monthly discussion with a certain trepidation. Bo defied me for
a new chess contest, but this time he lets me the first move, reserving for
him the pleasure to attack me later:

> Marco and I went off on a thread about intellect at the end of the
> previous month so I'll use this as a pretext to challenge Marco to
> step on the soap box and tell how he defines intellect within this
> topic's frame.

It's a praise for me (I feel myself as an eternal newcomer), but there's the
risk that this credit can turn into a burden, too heavy to carry for my
small shoulders. Obviously I will not run the battle away, and I'll fight
with the same naive daring that every rookie owns when facing veterans.

> Actually that's seven questions. Please stick to them,
> and no wandering, waffling or walloping
> each other;-)

All right, these are the rules; I step on the soap box... I hope I will not
tumble down.


> In short, define the intellectual level.


A necessary preface. (Definition of "definition").

Definition (Latin: Finis=Border) is a typical intellectual activity, I
guess. To give a border to something that is infinite (reality), so that we
are able to handle it. This activity can be useful, but also a little

I want to stick to the questions, but I need firstly to offer a lot of
boring definitions.... These definitions are a summarize of my past
participation to the MF discussions. Something will sound obvious, but
probably useful for my colleague newcomers...


Part A - (My) Definition of level

We must always remember that when we refer to a "level", this is primarily a
level of (human) experience. We can experience everything as part of every
level. Bo explained it very well last 19 January talking about the
Leonardo's Monna Lisa: it can be seen Inorganic, Biological, Social or
Intellectual depending on the "Focus" of the observer. This leads me to
consider every "thing" (even myself) an individual, that is an infinite mix
of patterns of every level.

I want to repeat and complete my definition of level as I feel there are
sometimes misunderstandings when we refer to this term. This is a necessary
step to enter the definition of the "intellectual level".

A level is made of:

a) A class of static patterns of value.
In MOQ terms, patterns are a small piece of Dynamic Quality turned into a
Static form. The four levels are primarily a MOQish assumption of how we
can "define" our perception of reality: at one given level, all patterns
are similar, that means both "made of the same values" and that "we
(as -partly- patterns of that level) use the same set of tools to interact
with (perceive) them".

[In a Subject/Object world this could be seen as solipsism; the MOQ novelty
is to assume a primal reality (Quality Event) from which arise both subject
and object. And when subject can really perceive itself (like everything) as
a product of an infinite flow of quality events... well, that's

b) A basic value, AKA "Machine code"
A "very refined" pattern of the below level that is the basis for a new kind
of patterns. In this case, the dynamic side of the machine code is the
primal brick to build all the patterns of the new level (this explains what
means: "made of the same value"). Pirsig gives us the example of DNA, as the
inorganic "machine code" for the biological patterns. We had a great
proposal from Denis Poisson last September when he explained how language is
the social machine code for the intellectual patterns. Last month, with the
decisive help of Bo and Mark Butler, I suggested hormonal emotions as a
possible biological machine code for the social patterns.

The basic value is also the limit of the level: my biological self is
limited by the potentiality of DNA; my intellectual self is limited by the
potentiality of language.

c) Behavior - All patterns have an own behavior, partly derived from the
machine code (static), partly determined by the environment (dynamic). The
static goal of patterns is always to preserve their own existence, by
filling the environment and increasing their (static) value in competition
with others patterns. Dynamically they tend to create the conditions for new
evolutionary steps toward the Dynamic Quality.

d) Environment - The scenario of patterns interaction. It's important to
know how and where these interactions are possible to be able to sustain our
daily battles.

e) Era - It's the evolutionary step in which a class of patterns become
leader of the evolution. Intellectual patterns were already existing before
the beginning of the intellectual era.


Part B - (My) Definition of intellectual level

a) As class of intellectual patterns:

Magnus wrote:
> What's wrong with a definition like:
> An intellectual pattern is something that has a meaning.

Hmmm... meaning. But if a want to define "meaning" I can't find a better
way than "Intellectual value". So your sentence becomes: <<An intellectual
[static] pattern [of value] is something that has an intellectual value>>.
Sorry, I need more.

Does Lila have quality? No, "it's Quality that has Lila. [...] She's created
by it".
Does something have meaning? No: the "thing" is created by it's meaning.....

I'm reading Umberto Eco's "Kant and the platypus" (I think you all imagine
why did I purchase this book....), where I find an interesting topic about
meaning. Eco points out how this English term is derived from "Mind", so it
seems to refer to something that is contained in (or created by) mind,
while our Italian (Latin-derived) term is "Significato" (significance) that
is literally "Made of signs".

<<An intellectual pattern is made of signs>>. Good, but not enough.

Intellectual patterns are small pieces of Dynamic Quality turned into a
static intellectual form. When we take a small piece of DQ and put it into a
"made-of-signs" form we create an intellectual pattern. The tool we use to
create intellectual patterns is IMHO intelligence (Latin "Intelligere"=To
understand, from "In" and "legere"=to read ) that is the skill to "read
into". Intelligence is just a biologic function, that becomes really useful
when we need to analyze reality in a finer way than simply by sensation.

This is the first step. Then we need a tool to communicate (Latin again :
"Communicare"=to share, the same root of "Communis"=Common) our reading to
something else. So we use a set of signs, a code (language), to share these
Our social self asks us for it: it's always a great emotion to have really
something new to say. The intellectual level is impossible without a social
level, as it would be useless to read into reality without sharing the
resulting static values with someone else. And if our society is fair , and
our intuitions are good for our society, we can gain social goods for our
discoveries. Money, glory, celebrity, emotions.

In conclusion, my definition of intellectual pattern is:

<<Intellectual static patterns of value are small pieces of dynamic quality
turned by intelligence to a coded and shareable form >>.

b) The machine code for intellectual patterns.
As said, language is the machine code. But it doesn't mean that every things
made of language are intellectual. Social conversations like "Hello, How are
you? ...." are not intellectual. The difference is not in language, that is
always the same social pattern in all cases, but obviously in what's
communicated. If you communicate something that was created (turned to a
static form) by (your or someone else's) intelligence, I think that's an
intellectual conversation.

Language is also the limit of intellect. We could also grasp reality but if
we can't find a good code (spoken, mimic, graphic, chanted....) to
communicate it, primarily to ourselves, and then to someone else, there's no
intellectual improvement.

c) The intellectual behavior
The static side of intellectual behavior depends on the limits of language.
Language was created to share information's, and not to explain reality. But
the dynamic side of intellectual patterns tends to achieve new "pieces of
DQ", transforming and reinventing the language itself for this goal. New
codes have been created to explain the quantum physics, or to communicate
artistic inspirations. In the same time, intellectual patterns tend to fill
the intellectual environment, so we have philosophical disputes, political
discussions, ideological wars and so on.

One day they will probably find out that no code will be good anymore to
achieve new pieces of DQ and turn them to a static form. So they will use
something else. This will be IMHO the 5th level.

[Last month Bo and I had a great discussion about this "step". He goes on
identifying Intellect with Subject-Object Logic, so he believes in the
Quality idea as a possible machine code for the new level. For all what I've
said, I can't see why this assumption is necessary. The quality idea is
probably a step beyond, but I feel it as inhabitant of the same intellectual
house. The only fact that it's explained (shared) by a novel, and that MOQ
has been created using intelligence (observation and rational explanation of
reality), is enough for me].

d) The intellectual environment
I'm not very sure of what I'm going to say, but I suggest Public Opinion as
a possible intellectual environment. Where else do the intellectual patterns
interact? If we want to support the MOQ against the SOM, we must conquer
enough intellectual environment to be listened by people. If not, we are
just condemned to be another minor philosophical sept.

e) The intellectual era
Well, Pirsig suggests the end of first world war as the beginning. IMHO this
process is not completely won: the great part of the world is not still
under the intellectual control. But the way the USA lose the Vietnam war, or
the only fact that our western public opinion could never allow a classical
"war for conquest" is a good sign. And however I agree with the doubts of
David B. : our intellectual level is very young and fragile and full of
mistakes, so the risk of a devolution is really concrete.


In conclusion,

Horse's questions and Marco's answers.

> Of all the levels, the one that seems to create
> the most confusion or appear most obscure is
> the intellectual level.

> What exactly is it?
> What are its values?

This is only one question. Every thing is its (static patterns of) values.
As I said:
<<Intellectual static patterns of value are small pieces of dynamic quality
turned by intelligence to a coded and shareable form >>.

> How does it manifest itself?
The behavior of the intellectual patterns is that to search for explanations
of reality, and to fill the public opinion.

> What are its goals?
The RighT goal of an intellectual pattern must be to help the evolution of
universe toward the dynamic quality. The problem is that the most times
intellectual patterns are rather used for social goals. So we have bad
examples of "art" (the Spice Girls, for example :-) and of metaphysics:
Subject-Object Metaphysics today is surpassed as it was created more for
social purposes rather than for intellectual purposes. So it's useful to use
objective science to build houses or bridges, while it's useless to explain
the behavior of cultures and people.

> Why should intellectual level values prevail over social level values?
This is a good question. The MOQ assumes the intellectual values as morally
higher than social values: all Lila is about that. The evidence of that is
the good explanation of the twentieth century. You could also try to
override this assumption and tell that the social level is morally higher,
but you must write another novel: "ALIL". And I'm curious about the result
you will gain about the story of last century.
According to the Pirsig's point of view, the intellectual era begun when
people came to the conclusion that the social values weren't able anymore to
perform their mission to preserve the individuals. Too many wars, too many
dead. That has been really a collective intellectual position. This thread
conduced to all the intellectual Vs social struggles Pirsig describes. The
necessary conclusion of this process must be to achieve a good balance
between social goals and the intellectual freedom to search for DQ. So
intellectual patterns will have to go on with social goals, until in a
remote future they will reach the ultimate social solution: a situation in
which there will be almost no need for social evolution and in which the
intellectual/social struggle will be over (what a dream!).

> Are intelligence and intellectual value the same thing.
No. I suggested intelligence as the human intellectual tool to analyze
reality. With this tool humans were able to build both Auschwitz and the
Mother's Theresa hospital.

(After all , we are just talking about morality).




looking forward to Bo's next move.. -

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