Re: MD liberals, conservatives & suffering

From: Steve Peterson (
Date: Thu Aug 21 2003 - 01:22:28 BST

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    Hi Wim,

    > Back for clearing up some old stuff.

    I'm glad you're back.

    > You wrote 20 May 2003 19:25:41 -0400:
    > 'Wilber suggests (and I agree) that the best distinguishing factor between
    > liberals and conservatives is answers to the question, "why is Joe
    > Anybody suffering?"
    > ...
    > Conservatives focus on internal causation of suffering and offer solutions
    > that focus on internal development.
    > ...
    > The liberals ... will suggest external solutions to alleviate the suffering
    > that was imposed upon Joe from the outside.
    > ...
    > This is obviously a SOM distinction, but it is silly to think that the MOQ
    > levels would do a better job than SOM in distinguishing the American
    > political camps than SOM since we are talking about how SOM thinking people
    > have divided themselves. This is no Platypus for the MOQ to clear up. The
    > difference between liberals and conservatives is a result of SOM thinking
    > and is thus easiest to understand in SOM terms.'
    > Not being an American, I have no idea about the best way to distinguish
    > liberals and conservatives in the USA. In the Netherlands those who call
    > themselves 'liberals' want to be as free as possible from government
    > interference (which seems to be a conservative position in the USA) and
    > 'conservative' is a label very few want to be associated with.

    In the US, conservatives claim to want smaller government but what they
    usually mean by that is simply 'lower taxes' (even with deficit spending).
    Conservatives want the government to involved in some things that liberals
    wouldn't want, e.g. What you can do in your bedroom, what drugs you can use
    recreationally, define marriage as between a man and a woman, while liberals
    want government involvement in some areas that conservatives don't, e.g.
    Public education, programs for the poor, gun control. Both major parties
    are far from libertarian.

    > It seems to me however, that IF a distinction between internal and external
    > causation of suffering is to be reconciled, a MoQ IS in a very good position
    > to do so. In a MoQ 'causation' is just a 4th level pattern of values
    > (reflecting patterns of experience on any level), with 'valuation' as a
    > preferred alternative. A MoQ inspired answer to the question 'Why is Joe
    > Anybody suffering?' (and 'What to do about it?') would not refer to 'causes'
    > at all, so the problem whether suffering is internally or externally caused
    > would not come up at all. In other words: a MoQ WOULD clear up this
    > platypus.
    > The observable (I hope) correlation between suffering on the one hand and
    > EITHER phenomena 'internal' to the sufferer OR phenomena 'external' to the
    > sufferer (which would have to decide in favour of EITHER the conservative OR
    > the liberal position) does not change at all whether we say
    > 'internal/external phenoma cause suffering' or 'the sufferer values
    > internal/external phenomena'. As in Pirsig's example ('Lila' chapter 8)
    > 'scientifically speaking neither statement is more true than the other'.
    > Does that mean that a MoQ inspired answer to the question 'Why is Joe
    > Anybody suffering?' would be twofold, 'a conservative sufferer values
    > internal phenomena, whereas a liberal one values external phenomena'? Not
    > really. A MoQ would draw attention to the pattern of experience of which
    > both the suffering and the internal phenoma AND/OR the external phenomena
    > are part. The MoQ inspired explanation of suffering is the type of pattern
    > that correlates suffering and internal AND/OR external phenomena PLUS the
    > way in which this (type of) pattern is latched.
    > Compare the inorganic pattern of value that explains iron filings moving
    > towards a magnet: One could say that the iron filings are somehow (internal
    > to them) 'aware' of a value of the magnet for them and behave accordingly.
    > Alternatively one could say that there is (external to the iron filings) a
    > degree of 'magnetism' in the magnet to which the iron filings react. We can
    > bicker endlessly whether the 'internal' or the 'external' description is
    > best, but this appears to me rather irrelevant to the MoQ explanation: that
    > it is an INORGANIC pattern of value that correlates the movement of the iron
    > filings and the presence of the magnet, implying a specific way of latching
    > of this pattern.
    > So let's ignore the bickering of liberals and conservatives and concentrate
    > on the question whether suffering is a part of inorganic, biological, social
    > and/or intellectual patterns of value and if so, which ones.

    Interesting thought. I bet this will merely spur a new way to bicker, but
    I'll try it. I would say that liberals tend to focus on fulfilling material
    (inorganic and biological) needs while conservatives focus on improving
    social quality for the suffering.


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