Re: MF Intellectual Level & SOLAQI

From: Marco (
Date: Thu Jun 29 2000 - 22:51:33 BST

Mark, JoVo, and Bo



> I spend a rainy Saturday morning reading "SOLAQI: An Inquiry into
> Meaning". This is a compilation of some of Bo's contributions to The Lila
> Squad:

Well done!

> 1. What is the Intellectual level?
> The intellectual level is Subject Object Logic as Quality(Q-) Intellect
> (SOLAQI). (ME)

That's an assumption.

> "Q-Intellect (generally) is the ability of an individual (biological
> organism) to view itself as different from other (society) and thereby
> give rise to the subject-object intuition which in time grew into the
> S-O-METAPHYSICS. [...] According to this idea are "consciousness",
> "awareness", "intelligence" and all other mind-evoking expressions
> (sedimented from the primordial S-O abstraction) collectively the
> Q-Intellect."
> (Bodvar Skutvik (Bo) to Lila Squad (LS), June 10, 1998)

I note that bracketed "generally". That term is more similar to "usually"
than "always" so this could be a good point. This ability is usual but not
necessarily it's the only one q-intellectual ability.

> "The static intellectual level (Q-Intellect) is NOT the intellect
> of SOM. The former is subject-object logic while the latter is
> "thinking itself" or "mind". The razor-cut is made in the MOQ
> by replacing the S-O division with the DQ-SQ one. After that
> everything is changed, no more cutting is needed!!!"
> (Bo to LS, December 11, 1998)

Effectively Q-Intellect is not the intellect of SOM. I agree that the latter
is that "thinking" or "mind" Bo always describes; but saying the former is
only subject-object logic is again the same assumption and does not satisfy

This SOLAQI assumption seems to eliminate those terms ("thinking" and
"mind") to avoid the problem to explain them. IMO it's at the contrary
necessary to provide a better explanation of what's "Thinking". SOM
describes it as an individual action of the "subject" which elaborates an
"object". I suggest a "Q-thinking" as the relation of Q-intellect with
reality. In this broader sense, Q-thinking is not seen as an individual
intellectual action or property, rather a broader interaction
of Q-Intellect with DQ.

I try to explain myself:

If I'd suggest a new scientific theory of Gravitation (without quotation
marks), SOM would say there is a MIND (me) which THINKS and elaborates
logically this theory, using precedent theories and new observations as

In a MOQ sense this "I" suggesting that theory is not an isolated subject.
It's a part of the Q-Intellect itself, that is residing in a static form
(intPov) partly in me, in you, in all the books I've read, in my auditors,
and once resided in all the thinkers before me... and even in that
proverbial apple of Newton which has been for a while the intellectual
bearer of a small piece of DQ when Newton observed
it and had the intuition of "Gravity" (within quotation marks).

This is what I mean for Q-Thinking.

Saying that the Newton's apple is not a mere biological object is probably a
blasphemy from a SOM viewpoint where an apple (object) is a fruit
(taxonomy). That apple, that was obviously also a biological pattern, was
(and in some way is as we are still here talking about it) an intellectual
value: that's what I meant, repeating a Bo's concept, in my first post when
I talked about the "Focus" of the observer. Note that I write "is" an
intellectual value, not "has": it's not the apple that has quality, rather
is DQ that in some way gave to that special apple an
intellectual static value.

> 2. What are its values?
> "Doesn't Pirsig indicate that Intellectual patterns = logical, rigorous,
> systematic thinking, like science and philosophy?" (Donny Palmgren)
> "He does, and those patterns are Intellectual value, but it will be
> tiresome to list every conceivable InPoV individually so with my
> SAIOM idea I try to define ALL intellectual patterns as S-O thinking
> itself. (perhaps SAIOM should be renamed SOTAQI? (S-O thinking as
> Q-intellect)). Can you imagine science without a more fundamental
> subject-observing-objects notion, or philosophy without an individual
> mind thinking about eternal truth?"
> (Bo to LS, May 25, 1998)

It's very interesting to see how the SOLAQI idea developed. In that stage
"thinking" was still present, then has been substituted by "Logic". I wonder
if is it possible for SOLAQI to develop further on :-)

Actually, it's difficult to imagine a science without a Subject-Object
Logic. So I could agree with a "SOLAS" (Subject-Object Logic As Science). I
don't think Pirsig limits the intellectual patterns to "logical, rigorous,
systematic thinking..."

This is Pirsig
(from SODAV paper).

"The blocks are organized in the order of evolution, with each higher block
more recent and more Dynamic than the lower ones. The block at the top
contains such static intellectual patterns as theology, science, philosophy,
mathematics. The placement of the intellect in this position makes it
superior to society, biology and inorganic patterns but still inferior to
Dynamic Quality" .

(It's not from Lila, but SODAV paper is posterior and contains a good
explanation of what is the MOQ).

Not all philosophies are so rigorous, I guess. And theology also.
IMO SOM has been the most developed intellectual application in last 2500
years, but not the only one. If you take for example theology, it seems to
act in an inverse sense if confronted to science: there's a principle that
is not discussible (as the existence of GOD), and observations must be
firstly conducted to that principle. At the contrary modern science has the
inner value to be always discussible on the basis on new experiences.

So I enlarge my vision of Q-Intellect to all the manifestations in which an
explanation of reality, a meaning, a CODED AND SHAREABLE QUALITY, is created
and shared. In the SOLAQI view I can't find the place for arts, for
theology, for Eastern philosophies, for my beloved Sophists ... and for the
MOQ itself.

> 3. What are its goals?
> " spite of being the highest static value, Q-intellect is
> subordinate to Dynamic Quality, demonstrated in moments of
> ecstasy when self vanishes. Our great fear - losing ourselves -
> becomes the highest goal; a strange contradiction that has no
> explanation in SOM, but is the most natural thing in the MOQ
> (Dynamic Quality is identical to religious mysticism. LILA
> p.381)"
> (Bo to LS, September 30, 1998)

Firstly, the whole goal is to evolve toward DQ. Doing it, intellect must not
forget the below values, so a good intellectual application must be
intellectually innovative and at the same time socially and biologically at
least sustainable, or, better, ameliorative.

Secondly, I totally agree that Q-Intellect is subordinate to DQ. This point
is not contradicted by my view of Q-Intellect, that is broader than in the
SOLAQI assumption, however clearly static and of course subordinate to DQ.

For those about religious mysticism ( that has always been a big problem
also for theology and not only for science), it's the destruction of all
static patterns. It's not explainable by SOM, but MOQ also can't describe
it. In fact when MOQ says that mysticism is identical to DQ, says also that
it's impossible to define, as it's impossible to define DQ.

On lunedĪ 26 giugno you added:

> .. I'm also going to revise my previous answer
> to question #4, "What are the goals of the Intellectual Level?"

Actually it was #3 :-)

> Jonathan's trinity- Intellectualization-Conceptualization-Realization is
> IMO a feasible (intellectual) formulation of the process in which the
> human brain constructs static patterns of value from the "undifferentiated
> seamless continuum" (thanks, Rog, for this phrase).

I think this "human brain" will not make Bo very glad. :-)

> The highest qualityt intellectual pattern (HQIP) which recognizes that all
> intellectual patterns precede reality is different from SO intellectual
> patterns: SO-intellect constructs static patterns of value by
> conceptualizing reality, whereas the HIP is constructed by
> intellectualizing about the intellectual process. It is the recursive
> ability of language that allows for 'thinking about thinking'. One of the
> MOQ's values is that it creates a SO-free space within which to construct
> this quality pattern. Because the HQIP exposes the fallacy of SO-thinking-
> that language adequately can contain reality, the q-human's perception of
> reality can potentially become externalized to the point whereat reality
> is, as it was at birth, a undifferentiated seamless continuum.
> So the goal of the Intellectual Level IMHO is escape from SO thinking into
> an as yet undefined quietism.

Isn't "Quietism" something like mysticism? hmmm... the MOQ surpasses and
contains SO thinking, I guess, but I don't see in the MOQ an escape to

> 4. How does it manifest itself?
> ""There is intellect outside of language" you state. Hmmm. Perception,
> experience, yes. Even intelligence, but the (Quality) Intellect is
> dependent upon symbolic language. It IS language in my opinion."
> (Bo to LS, September 30, 1997)

Here I agree. Q-Intellect is dependent upon language. Language (I
used "Code" this month, just to enlarge the vision to different form of
communications) is the very refined social pattern able to become the basis
for Intellectual patterns.

> "There must have been a time, millions of years ago,
> when the proto-humans were little more than animals; living in tribes
> and/or families, but without language as we know it, which is to say:
> Q-intellect had not emerged! After aeons (for reasons that is a
> mystery in itself) the brain's neural complexity had grown to
> proportions that enabled them to use abstract symbols that could be
> manipulated by rules of grammar. At first it wasn't much, nothing
> like SOM's "awakening to consciousness" or the biblical "eating of
> the tree of knowledge". Language was wholly "in the service" of
> Society."
> [...]
> "And over the millennia the Social level made use of this new tool to
> grow ever more complex structures cemented by the common language
> mediated mythology of divine origin and guidance. Yet, language was
> like the sorcerer's apprentice; it knew the start formula, but not
> how to stop. It facilitated improvements by spreading of knowledge
> and thereby prosperity but also something unheard of before: thinkers
> who used language to see themselves as independent of their
> community's strictures; the IDEA of a subject self of more value than
> society (other) was born. If we call it objectivization or
> subjectivization is the same; the two are always in step...and the
> rest is history."
> (Bo to LS, October 2, 1998)

This is a great description of the story of Q-Intellect: from a mere social
pattern (language) to self-awareness. One limit of SOLAQI is IMO to avoid
what's in the middle between the birth of the first language-based
patterns (confront the Andrew Bowen post of June 16 about the birth of
alphabet) and the Descartes' "Cogito, ergo sum". Is mythology a SOL
expression? No, I guess. But it's not merely social, as it's not made of
pure emotions, rather is a primitive form of intellectual sharing of coded
values. The story of intellect is a progressive development from a slavish
condition in the name of social goals to a complete freedom in the name of
knowledge. SOL has been the passage: at its birth it was slave of social
goals (science has been created to help the society to be more competitive),
then it had the great worth to become free up to candidate itself to the
leading role in the evolution game.

And another limit of SOLAQI is to exclude from the possibility of
Q-Intellect what
will come after SOL. SOL failed the mission to control the society through
scientific methods. MOQ is IMO the new "map" (as Pirsig defines it in Lila)
of reality that is maybe able to give a new better method to understand the
social needs and at the same time to explore reality from a better

> 5. Why should Intellectual Level values prevail over Social Level values?
> "I would say that consciousness is always SELF-CONSCIOUS and awareness
> always SELF-AWARE (a subject different from objective environment) so
> if my SOTAQI holds that is Intellect. And it's obvious; Q-intellect always
> holds up the worth of individual self (against the diffuse many of
> Q-society) and as intellect is our usual point of view; no wonder that
> personal worth and integrity ranks high."
> (Bo to LS, September 30, 1998)

If we assume that Q-Intellect is something wider than simply "self", I would
correct this point by saying that the individual can necessarily be only
self-aware, while this extended Q-intellect I'm suggesting is more than
self-awareness. I don't deny the self-awareness of Newton, but his "gravity"
(quoted) is still existing after him.

> 6. Are intelligence and Intellectual Value the same thing?
> "Principally the MOQ's static Intellectual 'dimension' has nothing to do
> with smartness, intelligence or ability to think. There are calculating
> prodigies who can come up with the most amazing results in seconds, so
> their "thinking" is not the least affected even if they are intellectual
> AND SOCIAL nitwits."
> (Bo to LS, September 17, 1997)

I think that on this point we generally accept that the answer is No.


> My initial view to Bo's SOLAQI idea is that it clearly meets Pirsig's (?)
> criteria that "The tests of truth are logical consistency, agreement with
> experience, and economy of explanation." But I'll need more time to weigh
> it against the opposition. Either way, I feel that my whole understanding
> of the MOQ has suddenly shifted to another level, thanks Bo!

Trying to understand SOLAQI, I also had a great leap in my MOQist view. As
Bo and me noted a lot of times, we are really close. The great worth of
SOLAQI is to clarify the SOL limitations but, as I told in the past, it's a
great step in a wrong direction.

I see a great lack of "agreement with experience" in the assumption that ALL
Q-Intellect is SOL. In fact these points show that MOQ is an intellectual

1) the MOQ is made of language
2) the MOQ is a philosophy
3) the MOQ offers a logic explanation of reality
4) Pirsig himself says that the MOQ is a different map of the same reality:

"...saying that a Metaphysics of Quality is false and a subject-object
metaphysics is true is like saying that rectangular coordinates are true and
polar coordinates are false. A map with the North Pole at the center is
confusing at first, but it's every bit as correct as a Mercator map. [...]
Both are simply intellectual patterns for interpreting reality e and one
can only say that in some circumstances rectangular coordinates provide a
better, simpler interpretation.
The Metaphysics of Quality provides a better set of coordinates with which
to interpret the world [...] because it's more inclusive. The Metaphysics of
Quality can explain subject-object relationships beautifully but [...] a
subject-object metaphysics can't explain values worth a damn." Lila, ch. 8.

This paragraph says that the MOQ is more inclusive, not that is at a
different level. At the contrary, SOLAQI assumption has the natural
consequence to put the MOQ outside from the Q-Intellect (that is SOL), so it
becomes necessary a new level.

That's the lack of "economy of explanation" that I see: SOLAQI evokes the
5th level phantom, as a sort of "Deus ex machina" to put the MOQ somewhere
else. IMO this hypothesis of MOQ as an arising 5th level is very romantic
but useless.

At the contrary if we simply assume the idea that SOL has been the prevalent
intellectual application of last 2500 years, during which it has worked
mostly at the service of social goals, and that today the Quality Idea is
taking a clear path as a pure intellectual pattern, we don't need to invent
any new intellectual "box" to put the MOQ in. This way I see a bigger
economy of explanation.

(Or, when I will find a good acronym for my idea, will you forced me to say
that my idea is the 6th level as it's more inclusive than SOLAQI? :-)



> Johannes asks: (to Bo or Mark)
 (may I answer? :-)

> In what way exactly is the Q-intellect different from the so-called
> 'SOL'-intellect?

Well, SOLAQI says there's no difference. And as you have seen, I don't

> Where exactly does it let DQ in and how can one achieve to develop one's
> intellect to be aware of Quality? If I got you right in that, you say that
> everybody has this Q-intellect originally. For me is intellect a kind of
> changeable complex of intellectual patterns, a kind of 'software', which
> on the culture and myth you've been growing up in. And how is this
> being differentiated from the social patterns that are also trying to rule
> thinking?

If you have read my points above, I tried a description of how Q-intellect
has been serving social goals for millennia, and only recently became free.

> Johannes asks:
> The 'thinking itself' notion your putting up here, sounds as if it's
similar to
> what I would call 'social value patterns are corresponding to intellect
> pattern' and vice versa. I regard the social value pattern everybody has,
as the
> 'sensing-unit' (sensing DQ) for the intellect value pattern. Or do you
state by
> this, that the 'thinking itself' is something belonging clearly to the
> and what we have to learn again?

See above my description of Q-Thinking: it has a lot of social, as it's in
some way a collective (asynchronous) process. IMO SOLAQI refuses to explain
what is thinking seen through MOQ lenses.

> Johannes asks: (his last question)
> Well but how it is then different from our usual way of thinking?

SOLAQI states that our "usual way of thinking" (logic, self-awareness...) is
Q-Intellect. IMO the step beyond of the MOQ is that we become able to
understand that logic and self-awareness can be surpassed. The SOLAQI
assumption puts this chance on a new level, while IMO there's no need.


Have a good summer.

Marco. -

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Aug 17 2002 - 16:03:24 BST