Re: MD A bit of reasoning

From: Jim Ledbury (
Date: Sat Oct 16 2004 - 23:42:17 BST

  • Next message: Ian Glendinning: "Re: MD On Faith"

    Hi all,

    Platt Holden wrote:

    >>I can think of few better
    >>'simple' introductions to the quandries of these problems than the highly
    >>entertaining Vilayanur Ramachandran
    >Interesting guy, but devoted to a materialistic explanation of
    >consciousness from what I've read so far, i.e., mind emerges from physical
    >activity of the brain.

    Well, yes. He's a successful neurobiologist in the context of today's
    science, so I wouldn't expect much else :-) However I am also a
    materialist (so to a large extent I agree with him), although I think
    matter is capable of a lot more than we have been trained to accept by
    standard science (therefore I am not a conventional materialist). But I
    think we (Platt & I) have disagreed about this before.

    >Others have suggested that, like other body organs,
    >the brain mediates with the environment, and in the environment is a
    >universal sort of consciousness that the brain taps into to assure the
    >survival of its supporting organism. A novel idea, but one that makes a
    >certain degree of sense given the evolutionary function of other organs.
    >The brain, after all, is just a big bulb of nerve tissue.

    The brain is a lump of highly refined matter so its investigation of its
    environment doesn't go into how to form the most energetically stable
    crystalline structure (such as your typical lump of granite would) but
    rather does all sorts of visual, aural, olfactory, tactile and abstract
    processing and ends up writing this email. I don't have a problem with
    that. Neither I think does Pirsig (at least in Lila and ZMM although
    I've got to investigate some of the sites that have been quoted in
    moq-discuss lately). I think we have to fully appreciate the subtlety
    of matter before we go looking for explanations elsewhere - and that
    includes scientists and moqers.

    >>I think that MoQ can achieve the synthesis sought
    >>by the romantics c.1800 between the aesthetic and the analytical without
    >>recourse to being 'unscientific'. But then, I think this is what you are
    >Precisely. I've always been intrigued by Pirsig's suggestion that above
    >intellect is a "code of art." In Lila, 13, he wrote: "Finally there's a
    >fourth Dynamic morality which isn't a code. He supposed you could call it
    >a "code of Art" or something like that, but art is usually thought of as
    >such a frill that that title undercuts its importance. The morality of the
    >brujo in Zuni-that was Dynamic morality."

    I think the "code of art" transcends all quality levels. It is in
    essence a reason for breaking the (static) rules, i.e. it's where DQ
    finds fault in the SQ that has previously evolved. Sometimes it's
    intellectual "freedom of speech", sometimes it's social "privacy between
    consenting adults", sometimes it can't even be phrased intellectually
    except elliptically.

    >I suspect that to break its current limit, intellect will push more and
    >more to an aesthetic understanding--which is why I believe Pirsig put his
    >philosophy in novel form rather than an academic paper, and why I keep
    >pushing the notion of Beauty as the ultimate value.

    Certainly the novel form is one way of flying under the jargon radar.
    It also attracts a far wider readership. I think that both Spinoza and
    Cervantes had the same problem, but I bet more people have heard of Don
    Quijote than Tractatus Theologico-Politicus.

    Certainly I would agree that beauty is a synonym for quality - but we've
    a long way to go before we accept that beauty inheres in different
    things for different people. One aspect I would push is the the
    inherent beauty of the right of people to determine their own aesthetic
    as long as that obeys basic social considerations of others' pursuit.

    >>But MoQ does place intellect in a hierarchy of endeavour and so imbues it
    >>with a responsibility to respect the underlying layers which make it
    >>possible. Which gives real meaning to ethical considerations with respect
    >>to science.
    >Yes. But the MoQ suggests intellect (or more generally, mind) has yet to
    >reach its zenith (as noted above). I agree with you that at this point we
    >have a lot of static latching to do with the just the intellectual MoQ
    >metaphysical structure as described in Lila. To understand evolution as a
    >moral process has as yet few adherents. Our work is cut out for us, for

    Interesting point as to what mind should do if it ever does reach its
    zenith... But I think there is enough contention as to what is good to
    keep us occupied for a long while yet. Maybe enough to keep us occupied
    until have to deal with the lack of hydrogen in the sun.


    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Oct 16 2004 - 23:43:39 BST