Re: MD Code of Art - Levels

From: Ian Glendinning (
Date: Thu Dec 16 2004 - 09:35:14 GMT

  • Next message: Ian Glendinning: "MD Socratic Mysticism and Pirsig"


    Zen and the Art of Bus-Driving - I like it.
    Art in everything - not a shadow of a doubt in my mind.
    (But that could just turn into a debate about the semantics and etymology of
    the word "Art" "Rta" "Rt" "Rite" Right" "Good" "Value" "Moral" "Quality",
    etc, as Pirsig has shown.)

    I (like you ?) do not see Art as a separate level, but part of the
    relationship between levels, and furthermore I cannot conceive of Art
    without Intellect anywhere ? I see Art as evidence of Intellect in fact,
    though I guess when I say that I'm using a pretty wide defintion of
    intellect. The MoQ cannot exist without Intellect (and Art and Quality).

    What is interesting here is the idea of abandoning the 4 levels as some kind
    of absolute - that is real progress. One new thing I want to say about the
    levels is,

    The levels chosen to represent the continuum of Quality, are just the
    currently stable metaphors for the world we see - some VERY Static SQ's.
    They are just imposed by our current thinking and understanding (of the
    world), and like anything, will evolve. I also have an adage which I throw
    in to ever discussion about "levels", not just MoQ, but Maslow, Software
    Architectures, any procedures, system designs of any kind ...

    By axiomatic (mathematical / topological) definition of the words "level" or
    "layer" ...
    Everything has three levels / layers,
    (including each level / layer).

    Each level (of anything) has a region within itself, but is also has a layer
    interfacing with each of the levels above and below it, making three layers.
    Everything dissolves into onion skins if you're being analytic - 3 levels,
    (5) (7) 9 levels, (...) 27, 81, etc ... - so the levels we actually choose
    to work with are, well, chosen. An issue I have with the MoQ is that the
    Social and Intellectual levels draw much debate about how to understand
    their distinction.

    I personally see only three (coarse) levels
    * Physical
    * Biological
    * Socio-Intellectual

    But as I say, each level is analysable in its own right.
    What most of our (human) debate is about is how to characterise "Morals" in
    the Socio-Intellectual Level itself.
    My view is we'll have more success, if we divide it (the socio-intellectual
    level) into three, not two.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Mark Steven Heyman" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Monday, December 13, 2004 3:04 AM
    Subject: RE: MD Code of Art

    > dmb and all,
    > Nice post, David. Thanks.
    > On 12 Dec 2004 at 17:27, David Buchanan wrote:
    > Mark said:
    > Of course Pirsig himself said there's no reason to limit the number
    > of levels to four; and I kind of like the idea of an Art level, maybe
    > between the Social and Intellectual, just ti irk my friend Platt.
    > OTOH, as you reminded us, Quality is Realty and everything we do is
    > art: philosophy, motorcycle maintenance, kicking stones and raking
    > leaves; so a separate Art level becomes redundant.
    > dmb says:
    > Well, we would hope that all our doings are artful, but I definately
    > get the impression that this idea has been widely underestimated.
    > msh says:
    > Yeah, I should have said everything we do is art, but some of our
    > doin's are more artful than others. Driving back from breakfast this
    > morning, my LTC and I discussed this very idea. I suggested there's
    > art in everything we do, as long as we do everything as if God was
    > watching over our shoulder. She laughed a little, because she knows
    > I don't believe in God, per se.
    > She drives buses for Seattle Metro, so when she realized I was sort
    > of serious, she asked what's artistic about driving a bus? I said
    > think of the driver who slides smoothly in and out of traffic, who
    > starts and stops without a jerk, never misses a stop, opens and
    > closes the door at the perfect moment, who arrives and departs never
    > an instant too early or too late. When you drive like that you have
    > a sense that it's not you who's doing the driving, and you're right.
    > Now compare that driver to one who accelerates rapidly and breaks
    > sharply, jerking passengers out of their seats, who's always off-
    > schedule and so is rushing or waiting, who fumes at other drivers and
    > his own passengers. The first is in tune with his environment, and
    > has God at his shoulder; the other is alone and at odds with
    > everything. The first is performing his task more artfully than the
    > second.
    > I finished with "It doesn't matter whether you stack cans in a
    > grocery aisle, or drive a bus, or pound a dent out of a fender, or
    > fight fires or raise children. Everything is as artful as you make
    > it." The rest of the way home she was silent but smiling.
    > Best to all,
    > Mark Steven Heyman (msh)
    > --
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