Re: MD Making sense of it (levels)

From: Wim Nusselder (
Date: Mon Feb 10 2003 - 22:44:10 GMT

  • Next message: Platt Holden: "RE: MD NAZIs and Pragmatism"

    Dear Platt,

    You wrote 7 Feb 2003 10:17:27 -0500:
    'Thanks for a most in-depth and reasoned response to my query
    regarding your interpretation of the intellectual level. I can see now that
    we are not so far apart as I first thought. What follows is more in the
    way of nitpicks than any fundamental disagreement.'
    'A bike, like all man-made artifacts, is an intellectual pattern of value.
    Only man's artistic productions escape the intellectual level which is
    why the best intellectual artifacts (thoughts frozen as objects in
    inorganic, biological or social form, or in combination) also reflect the
    beauty of higher level art. (The U.S. Declaration of Independence being
    an example.)'

    If the last quote does not express fundamental disagreement, it at least
    expresses considerable misunderstanding of what I wrote:
    'We CAN interpret specific, individual 'things' to be patterns of value.
    Doing so doesn't bring us much advantages compared to Subject-Object
    Thinking. It is very hard to categorize this type of patterns of value.'

    Your answer to my questions whether a bike is an inorganic, a biological, a
    social or an intellectual pattern of values mistakes them for real
    questions, while I meant them only rhetorical. Their point was that the word
    'bike' can refer to inorganic, biological, social AND intellectual patterns
    of value. In my point of view there IS no 'bike' (somewhere in 'reality')
    that IS ONLY a pattern of value of ONLY ONE type. 'Bike' is just a word, a
    'symbol created in the brain that stands for patterns of experience'. Mind
    you: a symbol that can -in different contexts- stand for DIFFERENT patterns
    of experience.
    To some extent you recognize this by writing: 'intellectual artifacts
    (thoughts frozen as objects in inorganic, biological or social form, or in
    combination)'. In other words: you too recognize that these 'frozen objects'
    'are' intellectual patterns of value AND 'have' inorganic, biological and/or
    social 'form'. Doesn't 'having an inorganic form' mean that a bike is also
    an inorganic pattern of value? What's the difference between in intellectual
    pattern of value with an inorganic form and an inorganic pattern of value
    with an intellectual form?

    Do you really mean to say that all words that can stand for human artifacts
    always only stand for intellectual patterns of value (only artistic
    productions excepted, that -besides standing for intellectual patterns of
    value- 'also reflect the beauty of higher level art')? What about the (words
    for) human artifacts from before the first intellectual pattern of value
    (whenever you wish to date that)?

    You replied to my proposal
    'to reserve the term "pattern of value" for phenomena that are not linked to
    specific, individual "things", but that ... have "things" as elements.'
    'Sorry, I'm lost. All parts (elements) are also wholes (things) made up of
    other parts. I can't imagine a thing that isn't also an element of another
    thing. And whether you identify something as a thing or an element,
    they are both phenomena.'

    Yes, it is indeed difficult to find a word that doesn't stand for BOTH a
    part AND a whole. My proposal is to always choose the latter type of
    interpretation when we are trying to categorize our experience in terms of
    levels, so we can use the way these 'wholes' are held together to categorize
    A 'bike' does not stand for an intellectual pattern of value then, because
    it can hardly be understood as a whole consisting of 'symbols created in the
    mind that stand for patterns of experience'. It is much more obvious to
    understand it as a whole consisting of components held together by the
    properties of their materials (e.g. the specific resistance of the iron of
    its nuts and bolts).

    The pattern of value that gets me off a hot stove with relatively little
    delay is usually called a 'reflex'. Understood as a whole it is a series of
    nerve actions resulting in some muscular actions (with as characteristic
    that there are relatively few brain nerves involved). This whole is
    obviously held together by DNA codes and can thus be categorized as a
    biological pattern of value.

    I don't mind leaving out the word mechanism:
    'Such "patterns of value", repetitive experiences with "things" as elements,
    are much easier to categorize. We can ask why these elements form and
    re-form or maintain this repetition. The explanation for that repetition is
    different for each level.'
    I'm just as prejudiced against mechanistic science as you are.

    What meaning and importance do those ideas you never share with anyone have?
    They -obviously- cannot offer freedom to the next lower level, to social
    patterns of value, and help a society find food, detect danger and defeat
    enemies. They probably go off on (your) 'own purposes' that are not shared
    by others, therefore cannot be explained to others, who therefore will never
    agree with you about their being meaningful and important...?

    You wrote at last:
    'The social level undergirds the intellectual. The intellectual level could
    not exist without society'

    Yes, maybe that's the way my descriptions of the different levels should be
    I wrote:
    'how to categorize patterns of values: by the way they are
    maintained/latched. (inorganic: unequal probability distributions in the
    quantum behavior of subatomic particles; biological: DNA stabilized by
    protein structures around it; social: unconscious copying of behavior;
    intellectual: conscious motivation/justification of actions in a way that is
    acceptable to others).'
    Probabilistic quantum behavior of subatomic particles (= chance) undergirds
    inorganic patterns of value.
    Chemical reactions undergird biological patterns of value.
    Biological, instinctual (unconscious) behavior like curiosity and mimicry
    undergirds social patterns of value.
    Social interaction undergirds intellectual patterns of value.

    The distinctive 'latches' (explanations for repetitiveness) for each type of
    pattern of values are thus:
    The unequal probability of different quantum behaviors.
    The unequal stability of different chemicals (i.e. DNA and proteins)
    carrying the same information.
    The unequal status (copy worthiness) of different behaviors.
    The unequal 'success' (range of dissemination) of

    A definition of a level should contain a link with the next-lower level to
    reflect the evolutionary aspect of the MoQ.

    With friendly greetings,


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