From: Sam Norton (email@example.com)
Date: Wed May 19 2004 - 14:28:23 BST
Hi DMB, Mark, all,
Brief comments on the 'machine language interface' point, and some points for Mark.
> dmb replies:
> I think you've missed the point of Pirsig's computer analogy. He uses it to
> explain his "unusual" assertion; that the level are "discrete", "not
> continuous" and "have nothing whatsoever to do with each other". Immediately
> following this unusual assertion, he says "This observation is impossible in
> a substance-dominated metaphysics where everything has to be an extension of
> matter." and then moves directly to the analogy, telling us explicitly that
> it is intended to illustrate each level's independence. "An excellent
> analogy to the independence of the levels, Phaedrus thought, is the relation
> of hardware to software in a computer." This is where the "Machine Language
> Instruction Repertoire" comes into the picture. More below...
> Mark 18-5-04: I agree. I had to laugh at this point because Sam is here
> taking a literal reading of Pirsig. But Sam knows that a literal reading of the
> Bible is easier to avoid!
Well, if it is a case of my taking an analogy too seriously ("literally"), you'll need to do a bit
more explaining of a) how and where the analogy breaks down and b) describe how DNA operates (or
RNA?) in MoQ terms _without_ using Pirsig's language. After all, it is Pirsig, your guru, who writes
""the biological patterns of life and the molecular patterns of organic chemistry have a 'machine
language' interface called DNA." Perhaps Pirsig's "conclusions are the result of a literal reading
of an analogy" as well.
> So Pirsig writes, "A primary occupation of every level of evolution seems to
> be offering freedom to lower levels of evolution. But as the higher level gets
> more sophisticated it goes off on purposes of its own." I don't think Pirsig
> explicitly says this anywhere, but it seems to me that this 'purpose' can be
> expressed in terms of laws, eg the law of physics at the inorganic level; the
> law of natural selection at the biological level.
> Mark 15-5-04: This is just plain wrong Sam, for it is precisely the laws of
> the Inorganic that the Organic are moving away from. Pirsig uses the example of
> Birds escaping gravity and Humans going to the Moon.
You misunderstand my point. Can I suggest you read my original post more closely? (Or Lila)
> Mark 15-5-04: All this is in The edge of chaos but there has been no mention
> of it from you Sam? Why tell me something i already know about? Not only this,
> but as i say, the notion of coherence and SQ-SQ tension clears up your
> problems AND gives concrete examples of evolution in action on a mundane level. I am
> baffled. Please explain?
Well, I've read the Edge of Chaos properly once, and I just had another glance at it. I like the
analogy of the sweet spot, and thinking of it as SQ/SQ coherence, but I have to confess that some of
your more arcane language I find more confusing than helpful (in particular I wonder if you've
equated Quality with DQ - but that takes us back to the earlier argument.) Your attitude of
colonising all discussion and shoe-horning it into your arcana is hardly a generous one. Normally
people try to persuade others of the truth of their ideas rather than insisting on a change in
vocabulary; it's as if you've set yourself up as the one true disciple of Pirsig. No wonder you're
arguing with DMB - that's the niche he had cornered for himself.
Now that I've actually read one of his books, however, I do fully agree that "There is very clear
and deep blue sparkling water between the MOQ and Wilbur."
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