Re: MD Lila's Child (SOM)

From: Steve Peterson (
Date: Sun Aug 03 2003 - 17:47:55 BST

  • Next message: "Re: MD The Intellectual Level"

    Hi Platt,

    >>> 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?

    I don't rule out a types of people application. I agree with you, as long
    as you're willing to accept that a types of people application of the levels
    is entirely relative. It's impossible to say which patterns of value
    dominate a person in an absolute sense. One person may be more or less
    affected by intellectual value than another and we may therefore call one
    person intellectually dominated and another socially dominated, but let's
    not think that we can actually tell which patterns have the most influence
    over a person in an absolute sense. How would you know whether intellectual
    values are more dominant over inorganic values? Without inorganic patterns
    we literally couldn't even keep our feet on the ground or our atoms together
    to form a body for that matter.

    I think what we may really be talking about when we talk about dominance or
    types of people are which kind of values are reflected in our thought
    patterns which is why we would never even talk about a person being
    dominated by inorganic value.

    >> 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.

    Then let us aspire to applying the MOQ system of morality rather than merely
    focusing on "being on" a level within that system. I don't think it's a
    good idea to talk about different people being on particular levels of a
    metaphysical hierarchy. I would rather talk about dominance of
    metaphysically different patterns of value in each person's forest of static
    patterns than suggest that there are metaphysically different types of

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

    I agree that the intellectual level is a higher level than the social level
    and so on, but that doesn't mean that the point of the MOQ is that we should
    rid ourselves of all lower level values. If our atoms fly apart, we have no
    bodies, if our bodies fall apart, there are no social patterns, and with out
    social patterns there is no intellect.

    We should support intellect's True over society's Good and we should support
    society's law over the law of the jungle whenever a lower level threatens a
    higher one. I think the MOQ message runs far deeper than to suggest that we
    be more intellectual. It says that it's moral to take a break from
    philosophical discussion to have some lunch which violates favoring
    intellectual values over biological one. The MOQ says it's moral to do so
    because without biological health there is no brain to do the philosophical

    >> 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.

    To me being as moral as possible means aspiring to apply the MOQ system of
    morality. To aspire to intellectual values sounds empty to me in the way
    that I understand intellectual values. I can't imagine what it would mean
    to embody the value of the like of 2+2=4, though to live the MOQ system of
    morality would include defending moral status of "2+2=4"'s truth against
    some church of bad arithmetic.


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