Re: MD Lila's Child (SOM)

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Sun Aug 03 2003 - 13:30:38 BST

  • Next message: Platt Holden: "Re: MD Lila's Child"

    Hi Steve,

    > Hi Platt, (DMB, all)

    > I have been thinking about how the SOMist doesn't realize he has a
    > metaphysics and how it's difficult to nail him down on his position.
    > He'll generally argue the materialist side that what is really real is
    > that which has matter and energy, yet you can't pin materialism on him
    > because he'll deny that he excludes consciousness and ideas from
    > reality. He's content to live with such giant Platypi, hopping back and
    > forth between materialism and idealism--the SOM dance!
    > I sometimes think of SOM as substance-mind metaphysics. Does that make
    > sense to you?

    Yes. I also think of SOM as me/rest of the world. Or, me in here/you
    out there. No values anywhere, of course.

    > > First, where is it written that the MOQ replaces S/O?
    > I didn't mean to imply that the MOQ replaces SOM if that's what you mean
    > by "replaces S/O." I think it rather includes SOM as an intellectual
    > pattern or set of intellectual patterns, though S/O is replaced by
    > static/dynamic as the first cut of Quality. Would you agree?

    Absolutely. :-)

    > >Second, how can I
    > > determine the degree of my consistency of experience with others?
    > You can't in an "objective" way. But my experience is that others seem
    > to get the same 10 inches as I do when measuring the length of some
    > object, but they don't always seem to get the same enjoyment out of the
    > music I like.

    Excellent example. Measurement is the sine qua non of science and the
    basis for its self-proclaimed 'objectivity.' Without it, SOM would
    never have become dominant.

    > I just see this idea of consistency as an
    > answer to the ZAMM question about why all people don't experience
    > Quality the same way. The question is asked because what is considered
    > to be really real by most is that which we all seem to experience in the
    > same way, in other words, that which is "objective." The question turns
    > out not to be as simple as objective versus subjective experience. It
    > is not an either/or distinction but rather concerns a "forest" of static
    > patterns.
    Pirsig answered the question by pointing out everyone has a different
    life experience. But there's no doubting the premise that we 'all
    experience in the same way.' Our world models are built on that belief.
    > >Third,
    > > if I aspire to intellectual morality, why should I care much about
    > > what others experience, others being a social level concern?
    > Here we differ on our understanding of the MOQ. I don't think it makes
    > sense for a person to "aspire to intellectual morality." I think of the
    > levels as types of patterns of value rather than types of people. To me
    > intellectual morality refers to the values that holds ideas together
    > and, for example, applies to the moral superiority of 2+2=4 over 2+2=5.
    > (Social values are that which hold societies and families together,
    > biological values hold living things together, and inorganic values hold
    > materials together).

    I agree, but I don't rule out applying the levels to individuals. I'm
    dominated by intellectual values, my wife by social values. I don't
    love her the less for that. To know what a person values is most
    helpful in relationships as well as in understanding political
    differences. Would you agree?
    > What I aspire to and what I see as the moral of the story in Lila is to
    > not allow lower level patterns to dominate higher level ones while being
    > open to DQ and simultaneously respecting the lower level patterns' role
    > in the evolutionary process.

    Agree. But don't you also have to agree that intellectual level
    patterns are more moral than the lower? Otherwise, the hierarchy breaks

    > Though I think you and DMB will agree that
    > this is the type of morality that is recommended by Pirsig, I don't
    > think it makes sense to say that this is a description of the morality
    > of the intellectual type since most intellectuals are SOMists. The
    > intellectual will surely respect intellectual morality and the socialite
    > will respect social morality as the character Lila respected biological
    > morality, but the MOQist understands and respects the entire hierarchy!

    True. But understanding and respect are not the same as desire to be as
    moral as possible, i.e. to aspire to intellect's values.

    > As for why you should care about what others experience...I'm not sure
    > where to start. When you say it is a social level concern I take you to
    > mean it is a concern for social level people. (I'm beginning to wonder
    > about this intellectual superman type of yours and DMB's. If he doesn't
    > care what other's experience, I bet he's not much fun in bed ;-).)
    > Anyway, I was thinking of metaphysics rather than types of people,
    > dividing Quality rather than people.

    Since intellectual patterns have been the catalyst that brought mankind
    out of caves to state of civilization we enjoy today, I hesitate to
    knock them. These patterns, of course, were created by individual
    people, not collectives.

    > ..which reminds me of when I first thought about this. When Pirsig
    > began introducing his static/dynamic cut of Quality, he emphasized that
    > the first cut of any metaphysics is the most important. He said that
    > SOM was a metaphysics of quality where the first cut was between
    > subjects and objects. He also said that he thought of lots of ways of
    > dividing Quality other than into subjects and objects. I wondered if
    > anyone thought of any others or if other cuts have been discussed before
    > on this list. Do you recall? I thought of diving Quality into
    > 'experience that is consistent from person to person' and 'experience
    > that is not' as a possibility which led to the question I posed earlier
    > to Bo, Johnny, and Squonk.

    I don't recall any discussion about other ways to divide Quality. We
    did speculate when the idea of 'I' arose, separating the individual
    (subject) from the pack (objective) and the beginning of self-
    awareness. Pure speculation. I remember thinking at one time that
    friend-enemy was a good split, but quickly realized that this was the
    same as Pirsig's good dog-bad dog split. Once Quality is recognized as
    reality, there's no escape. Even if someone came up with a better
    split, the 'betterness' would throw him right back into Quality's arms.
    You can no more deny Quality than you can think yourself out of having
    a thought. That, of course, includes Lila and every other human,
    whether fictional or not. :-)



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