RE: MD Disastrously naive indeed!

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Feb 16 2003 - 01:02:58 GMT

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    DMB said:
    The quote is about one of the central problems of SOM, namely its blindness
    to the power and necessity of the social level. ...

    "What the Metaphysics of Quality indicates is that the twentieth-century
    faith in man's basic goodness as spontaneous and natural is disastrously
    naive. The ideal of a harmonious society in which everyone without coercion
    cooperates happily with everyone else for the mutual good of all is a
    devastating fiction."

    Can I ask what - in your view - constitutes the "necessity of the social

    DMB says:
    Aren't you interested in its power too? ;-) If memory serves, the quote
    comes from a discussion of the social level's role in keeping biological
    values under control. Its about crime and punishment. More specifically its
    a criticism of the ideal of the Noble Savage, that "spontaneous and natural"
    man, unoppressed and uncorrupted by society. To the contrary, Pirsig says
    the law of the jungle is much more oppressive and that social values make us
    free. There are many more choices even in a regimented civilization than
    there are in the wilderness. Pirsig says cops and soldiers have always been
    around to make sure we don't have to live in the wilderness. (I like the
    ancient penalty of exile. If you can't be civilized, they put you back into
    the jungle.)You get the idea. But this in only part of the necessity of the
    social level. It shapes us in every way. Its what makes us human, more than
    animals. Its what allows us to think and talk, gives us our desires and
    conceptual categories, ideas of rights and wrong. Its most of what we are.
    Its as necessary as the body.

    In particular, what social institutions, customs - rituals?? - etc
    etc are needed in order to preserve or develop a functioning intellectual

    DMB says:
    I think we have to work it from the top down because the social level
    doesn't know about or care about intellectual values. The same way that
    social level values control biology, the intellect is supposed to guide
    society. Here, society is the middle term. Laws are laws, but this MOQ
    distinction allows us to see two different kinds. The laws that prevent
    murder, robbery and adultery are the proper domain of society. But laws that
    try to control offensive or subversive ideas strike are out of bounds.
    Instead we write laws to insure that we minimizes society's traditional
    retraints on intellectual freedom. Thus the seperation of church and state,
    the first amendment, the fifth amendment, etc. They don't burn people at the
    stake anymore, but there are still restraints coming from the social level.
    Its a force of nature, like the wind. If the social level is like a
    superorganism, like a giant, we could say that he wants you to be "with the
    program" and not off thinking about your own seperate goals. You could say
    the giant get very angry at certain kinds of "independent" thinkers,
    especially the ones that criticize the giant.

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