RE: MD Making sense of it (levels)

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Sun Feb 02 2003 - 13:59:56 GMT

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    A high quality explanation of Descartes and SOM vs MOQ. Descartes
    sought and found a place where he could put his foot down and
    say, "Regardless of the context, practicality or belief of the group, this I
    know to be true." In effect he said, "The buck stops here." Compare this
    to postmodern philosophy where there are no footholds on the slippery
    slopes of text, utility and fashion.


    > DMB continues:
    > Descartes arrived at his famous line by engaging is some pretty radical
    > skepticism. He dreamed up a scenario wherein his own senses could not be
    > trusted at all and were in fact the illusions forced upon him by an evil
    > demon. This evil demon fooled the philosopher into believeing that there
    > were things in the world to see and hear and smell, but he was actually
    > just a disembodied brain kept in a jar, in the evil lab of the evil demon.
    > T'was a very interesting thought experiment. Descartes came to the
    > conclusion that we can never know for sure what is outside the mind, can
    > never really even know if there is a world outside the mind, but that he
    > could know for sure that he had a mind. He might be totally wrong in all
    > his thoughts and beliefs about everything, but at least he knew that he
    > could think. And since he has to have some kind of existence in order to
    > think, he concluded " I think, therefore I am." (Or something like that.
    > I'm trying to make a long story short here.) The intended effect of this
    > conclusion is to give us some kind of certainty. We know consciousness
    > exists for sure, but our bodies and the world are less reliable. We don't
    > need to get into the many, many issues that this view raises, but what we
    > see in it is a radical seperation between mind and body. This is the
    > mind/body problem, or at least a very conspicuous feature of the problem.
    > SOM does not offer a solution, but turns the problem upside down.
    > Scientific objectivity says that bodies and brains are real, but
    > consciousness is unreliable and untrustworthy. I know. It gets really
    > confusing and outside of the MOQ this has never been resolved. Today's
    > thinkers have abandon the issue and given the problem over to brain doctors
    > and such. That approach mostly ends up with some kind of materialistic
    > reductionism whereby things like philosophy and love are reduced to neurons
    > and synapses and chemicals and other "stuff". Are you getting a feel for
    > this mind/body problem yet? I hope so. In any case let's keep moving....

    > DMB says:
    > An elaboration or extention of SOM? No. Quite the opposite. The MOQ cuts
    > SOM down to size. The MOQ is a bigger thing that takes SOM within itself.
    > It takes SOM out of the driver's seat and makes it just another piece of
    > cargo, if you will. I only meant that the nature of rocks and trees is
    > relatively simple and we don't tend to get into major disputes about them.
    > I mean, the MOQ was designed to solve problems that appear only at the
    > higher levels, such as the mind/body problem, the relationship between
    > science and society, between religion and philosophy and the other
    > third/fouth level distinctions.
    > DMB says:
    > I think you have fallen under the influence of some misconceptions, of
    > mistaken notions voiced by particpants. Let me put this in the sim;eest of
    > terms. Subject and objects are not the problem. SOM is not the same as
    > merely recognizing such things, it is the metaphysical assertion that only
    > objects are really real. Pirsig's MOQ posits a value-centered metaphysical
    > assertion and insists that subjects are just as real as objects. He's also
    > saying that subjects and objects are secondary, that reality preceeds such
    > distinctions, that primary reality is neither physical or mental, but is
    > something from which these distinctions are later derived. He's saying
    > reality is something that happens before you have a chance to think about
    > it or put things into categories or classes. But this is really a different
    > topic. Sorting out the distinctions between levels is about handleing
    > static reality, while the primary reality is Dynamic and can't be
    > categorized at all.

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