Re: MD novel/computer heirarchy

From: Steve Peterson (
Date: Tue Aug 05 2003 - 20:50:26 BST

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

    Hi Johnny, Platt, Bo, Rick, all,

    Platt said:
    >> In the MOQ there are no animal, vegetable or mineral "social patterns."
    >> Pirsig makes this clear in Lila's Child, Note 49:
    >> "'Societies' is used figuratively here as a more colorful word meaning
    >> 'groups.' If I had known it would be taken literally as evidence that
    >> cells belong in the social level I would not have used it. Maybe in a
    >> future edition it can be struck out. One can also call ants and bees
    >> "social" insects, but for purposes of precision in the MOQ social
    >> patterns should be defined as HUMAN and subjective." (emphasis added)

    Johnny said:
    > OK. It's just that he doesn't want us to mix the ant social level in with
    > the human social level. He's worried that we will think ants and "cells
    > belong in the social level", so he arrives at the solution of just saying
    > "for purposes of precision, in the MOQ social patterns should be defined as
    > HUMAN and subjective." I agree that ants and bees do not belong in the
    > HUMAN social level, but to say that dogs and chimps have no social patterns
    > is almost as silly as saying that they do not have brains and do not think.

    I'd just like to interject with my understanding of the social level which
    Bo finds so distasteful.

    Johnny may be thinking of social patterns as the same as groups which is
    exactly the misconception that Pirsig was clearing up. More than one person
    is required for the emergence of a social pattern, but if there is no
    unconscious copying of behavior, there is no social pattern formation.

    Insects form groups, but an ant's behavior is not influenced by other ant's
    behavior in the way humans influence one another. Everything they do is
    genetically hardwired or rather in participation in the biological patterns
    that result from that wiring and interaction with their environment. There
    is no ant culture that is passed down from generation to generation that
    influences behavior. There are only ant genes to do that.

    There is no celebrity effect by which one ant recognizes the undefined
    quality in another's behavior and then copies that other ant. Their little
    brains aren't set up for that.

    Whether dogs or apes are capable of learning is this social way and passing
    on a culture is an interesting question. I don't rule it out based on
    Pirsig's quote because I don't see him as speaking ex cathedra on this
    matter since he is presumably not an expert in zoology. I suspect the
    biological requirements for developing social patterns depends in part on
    "the mammalian brain" which includes a capacity for emotions which I'm sure
    that dog's have.


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