Re: MD Undeniable Facts

From: johnny moral (
Date: Mon Apr 21 2003 - 20:57:26 BST

  • Next message: Wim Nusselder: "Re: MD Philosophy and Theology"

    Hi Platt,

    Steve asked
    >You said an animal will defy the laws of physics. (Could you explain what
    >you meant? I'll continue assuming this is true.)

    You replied:

    "A simple example: birds fly, defying the law of gravity. All progress in
    evolution is towards greater freedom from the demands of lower levels.
    All great creation is likewise a freeing up of something formerly locked
    in a static pattern."

    Why do you have to imply that the lower levels are just like chains, locking
    things up and impinging on freedom? Isn't there a way you can get your
    point across without demeaning "lower" levels and static patterns? Why
    can't we think of static patterns of all levels more like ground, like a
    foundation from which (and within which) we can act?

    Birds do not defy the law of gravity. To fly, they use static patterns such
    as wings and air pressure, and they rely on the law of gravity without
    trying to thwart or undermine it. Gravity isn't demanding that nothing fly.
      The evolution of flying birds is the result of static patterns building on
    earlier static patterns, always doing what they should. Artists likewise
    evolved their art by building on static patterns, applying patterns to other
    patterns. True, they regulary throw out conventions that have gotten tired
    and confining and try new compositions and colors and methods, but that
    evolution is called for by the static pattern, the code of art, that says
    that they shouldn't just copy everything all the time, they should try and
    innovate and impress and excite people with art that inspires.

    Someone asked recently how you can discern evolution from degeneracy, good
    change from bad. Someone else offered an answer that it is by looking to
    see if a "good" static pattern is left in its wake. (I think it was Wim and
    Sam?). I agree with that, but you can tell in advance too: you can look at
    existing static patterns (what else is there to look at?) and predict what
    would be a good change. We take a pattern we like and try to make it
    stronger. Sometimes a change is made without predicting what will happen,
    just applying one pattern to another pattern to see what happens, and we
    don't see if it is better or worse until afterwards, but I think most of the
    time we push in the direction that static patterns suggest to us is
    "forward". We may not be right all the time, often we will decide that what
    we thought was going to be good was actually bad, but most of the time we
    can tell.

    To me, you seem like the person who is advocating an "anything goes"
    morality, by maligning static patterns as something to be defied. When I
    deny that there is an absolute good or truth, I am not saying that there is
    no good or truth, I am saying that they are found in our shared static
    patterns, which are not all shared by everyone (hence not absolute). But
    they are mostly shared. The more shared they are, the more absolute they
    are. Doesn't "absolute" just mean "static"? A truth that was dynamic
    wouldn't be very absolute, though I certainly believe that as static
    patterns change, truth changes. This is why I feel static patterns need
    more respect, and not maligned as being chains that bind our freedom. By
    respecting them, we treat them as absolutes so we can build on them.


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