RE: MD economics of want and greed 4

From: Ian Glendinning (
Date: Fri Aug 29 2003 - 00:12:48 BST

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    Maslow may indeed have thought "all behavior is determined", but I have to
    say when I say Maslow I mean the sum of all modern interpretations,
    synthesis and extensions of his output, not an analysis of how misguided his
    original thinking may have been, or whether he really used any credible
    metaphysics of any kind. (This is leading us back to nature / nurture and
    evolutionary psychology again)

    The discreteness of layers, whilst still being dependent, supporting (even
    conflicting) of each other is common to both Pirsig and Maslow I believe.
    Although the level are discrete (in the sense of defining prototypical
    aspects of each), that doesn't mean the boundaries don't get fuzzy
    sometimes, as you move to the interfaces and away from the central

    I used to worry about anthropomorphism too, particularly in the metaphorical
    use of active verbs like the examples you cite. Now however I feel it is
    just human nature to do so in conceptual as well as linguistic metaphors,
    and provided we never forget these are metaphors I think the model is
    workable. (It seems a truism that we can never have anything but a human
    perspective on the world, how ever arrogant our metaphysics gets. Better to
    know this than to ignore it - I say.)

    How do I see the relation between "patterns of value" and "needs" ? To be
    honest I simply see a close parallel between the two frameworks - which
    always leads me to suspect some underlying relation - more human nature to
    suspect / seek rationale. If I were a betting man, I'd say Pirsig was more
    fundamental (Foucault expresses a similar general philosophical framework
    too IMHO), and that Maslow was just an outcome, a corollary or evidence of
    Pirsig's patterns of value at work in the world.

    Ian Glendinning

    -----Original Message-----
    []On Behalf Of Wim Nusselder
    Sent: 28 August 2003 22:25
    Subject: Re: MD economics of want and greed 4

    Dear Ian,

    I see the parallel now between Maslow and Pirsig. Maslow seems to apply
    quite another metaphysics however (stating explicitly that all behavior is
    determined in the 1943 article I referred to).

    Pirsig wrote ('Lila' ch. 12):
    'This classification of patterns is not very original, but the Metaphysics
    of Quality allows an assertion about them that is unusual. It says they are
    not continuous. They are discrete. They have very little to do with one
    another. Although each higher level is built on a lower one it is not an
    extension of that lower level. Quite the contrary. The higher level can
    often be seen to be in opposition to the lower level, dominating it,
    controlling it where possible for its own purposes.'

    I don't particularly like the 'opposition', 'domination', 'controlling' and
    'purposes' sentence. It antropomorphizes the levels more than my
    understanding of them allows.
    Do you think Maslow's levels of needs are as discrete and discontinuous as
    Pirsig's levels? How do you see the relation between 'patterns of value' and

    With friendly greetings,


    ----- Oorspronkelijk bericht -----
    Van: "Ian Glendinning" <>
    Aan: <>
    Verzonden: donderdag 28 augustus 2003 20:00
    Onderwerp: RE: MD economics of want and greed 4

    > You're right Wim, I did just latch onto one point that already interested
    > me, rather than looking for what your point was. Sorry about that,perhaps
    > should have changed the thread title.
    > I'm surprised the parallel between Maslow and Pirsig isn't more obvious to
    > more people. It smacked me right between the eyes the first time I read
    > Pirsig.
    > Satisfaction of basic physical / biological needs at the lowest level
    > Satisfaction of social needs in the middle.
    > Satisfaction of individual self-fulfillment / intellectual needs at the
    > What I was trying to say is that there is a strong parallel, even if there
    > isn't a one to one mapping between specific levels, or any direct link
    > betwen the two.
    > (The evolutionary psychology bit is another story, as you say.)
    > Ian Glendinning

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