Re: MD Making sense of it (levels)

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Fri Feb 28 2003 - 15:56:43 GMT

  • Next message: Platt Holden: "Re: MD Making sense of it (levels)"

    Hi Johnny:
    > >We seem to have different ideas of what an idea is. I'll go along with
    > >Pirsig's idea that it "is the collection and manipulation of symbols,
    > >created in the brain, that stand for patterns of experience," an ability
    > >not evident in bees or sunflowers.
    > But do you put all manipulations by the brain in the intellectual level? I
    > think ideas that operate within society, that formed society, are social
    > ideas. They are personal scale ideas like 'let's stick together' and 'this
    > is mine' - monagomy and property - but as actually practiced, not as they
    > are thought about. Ideas like 'i'm hungry' or 'i'm horny' are biological
    > ideas. Ideas like 'I will bond with that hydrogen atom' are inorganic
    > ideas (a speculative notion). Ideas ABOUT society, like 'all people should
    > marry so as to create fairness and equality for men and women', or 'the
    > workers create the capital' are intellectual ideas. So I maintain that
    > ideas and intellectual patterns are not synonymous, it depends on what the
    > idea applies to, what scale of pattern it applies to.

    Here's where Pirsig contradicts your "idea" about ideas:

    "A human being is a collection of ideas, and these ideas take moral
    precedence over a society. Ideas are patterns of value. They are at a
    higher level of evolution than social patterns of value. Just as it is more
    moral for a doctor to kill a germ than a patient, so it is more moral for an
    idea to kill a society than it is for a society to kill an idea." (13)

    Perhaps you can find a quote or two from Pirsig that supports your view.

    > Intellectual patterns MAY have started out as an idea, and we can conceive
    > of them as ideas (should we conceive of them at all, which is not necessary
    > for them to exist as patterns, we notice and name them afterwards in many
    > cases), but they have a life of their own, living on top of the lower
    > levels and are ultimately indifferent to them. They live off society like
    > animals live on chemical reactions, replicating and evolving according to
    > their own patterns. Technology is an intellectual pattern that is now an
    > evolving life form or meme that could care less if humans lose their
    > freedom or even die off completely, as long as it continues to evolve.

    When you say "technology" what are you referring to? Computers?

    > It treats humans the way we treat natural resources, we are only worried about
    > losing them for our own sake, because we want or need them in order to
    > exist or just like looking at them. But if they get in our way, we get rid
    > of them. Pirsig would say it is absolutely moral for Technology to wipe
    > out humanity, and absolutely immoral for humans to arrest Technology, but I
    > vehemently disagree.

    Pirsig would say what? I'm baffled by what you mean by "technology."

    > >But drunk or sober, I would be hard pressed to object to the idea that
    > >bees and sunflowers are aware, even if they don't know it.
    > It all comes down to what we mean by aware, I guess. I don't think
    > technology is aware, but I do see it as a replicating and evolving set of
    > patterns that adapts as a pattern to changing conditions, so it must be
    > aware in some sense. It isn't any one group of people who are aware for
    > it, it is aware as a pattern of stuff that the people who work for it
    > aren't aware of. But I attribute real dignified "awareness" only to humans
    > and dogs, because I am one (woof).

    Pirsig had something to say about computer awareness in his notes to
    "Lila"s Child," but I'll await your answer to what you mean by
    "technology" before looking up Pirsig's remarks.


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