Re: MD What is a living being?

From: Elizaphanian (
Date: Mon Apr 28 2003 - 16:31:49 BST

  • Next message: Elizaphanian: "Re: MD FW: 'unmediated experience'"

    Hi Paul, others,

    A further response to bits of your post.

    : You see, I think that, in Lila, Pirsig is sometimes
    : guilty of taking concepts which are familiar and need
    : no explanation within a subject-object metaphysics and
    : transposing them undefined into the MoQ. You can't
    : create a metaphysics which completely up-ends the
    : metaphysics which has shaped our whole understanding
    : of our world including our language and concepts and
    : say that anything is 'obvious'. What is 'obvious' is,
    : like all things I would argue, relative to your
    : world-view or metaphysics.

    Completely agree with this.

    : However, the one I am really interested in is 'what is
    : it that perceives and adjusts to Dynamic Quality?'
    : (because it is the 'perceiving and adjusting to DQ'
    : that is central to the theory of evolution upon which
    : the levels and framework of morality is based) to
    : which the only answer I can find is 'a living being'.

    I don't think 'living being' is the best answer, whether it's specified in Lila or not. Is DNA a
    "living being"? I would say no, but it is something which perceives and adjusts to DQ (from level 1
    to level 2). I prefer 'choosing unit' but that has problems of its own; I'll stick with it until
    something better comes along.

    : So, I can pull them all together into a definition
    : something like this:
    : 'In the MoQ, a living being is the attempt to
    : integrate the 'subject' from SOM into the MoQ as the
    : cohesion of static patterns of Quality from all
    : current levels that perceives and adjusts to Dynamic
    : Quality through static patterns of the uppermost
    : level, currently Intellectual Quality'
    : Snappy :) Still sounds 'wrong', only human beings are
    : alive? And what's so special about a 'cohesion'?

    One of the problems with Pirsig's account of levels 3 and 4 is that (in Lila's Child I think) he
    says that there has never been a time in human history when levels 3 and 4 didn't co-exist. (I think
    he means recorded history) This definition could easily desribe a level 3 human being.

    : Another response is that, if the 'living being'
    : statement has to stay then a 'living being' is the
    : combination of both static and Dynamic Quality,
    : patterned and unpatterned value.

    That seems reasonable.

    : Pirsig: 'mechanisms in which a number of options are
    : so evenly balanced that a weak Dynamic force can tip
    : the balance one way or another' Ch 11
    : From the last solution, it does not follow that 'human
    : beings' are the only SPOQ that can be adjusted by DQ.
    : The Intellectual level may contain the weakest
    : patterns but new 'lifeforms' may be evolving from weak
    : patterns at the inorganic level at the bottom of the
    : ocean, new viruses may be evolving from weak
    : biological patterns in Hong Kong?

    I am uncomfortable with the idea that DQ is only operative at the intellectual level, which seems to
    be the position sometimes argued for. I agree that new 'lifeforms' can be evolving or emerging all
    the time.

     Anyway, I don't know which explanation fits best for
    : me right now. I do know that there are some of you
    : that can't see why I can't understand what is so
    : obvious to you. That's okay, it's not the first time -
    : and as promised, I'll drop the subject now.

    I think abandoning 'living being' as a useful term in the Moq might be the way forward. Which is
    fine if you're happy with Pirsig's idea that the MoQ needs to keep developing, less fine if you
    think that 'Lila' needs to be set in aspic as the sacred text....


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