Re: MD The Individual Level

Date: Fri Apr 16 2004 - 22:40:40 BST

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    Dear Platt,
    The following may shed some light on your confusion regarding the individual
    in the MoQ:

    From Anthony McWatt's text book, An Introduction to the Metaphysics of
    As far as the MOQ conceptualises the self, it's seen as a combination of the
    four static levels (inorganic, biological, social and intellectual). In
    comparison with an SOM philosopher's viewpoint of the self such as Parfit's (1984),
    there is agreement that the intellectual level (i.e. what Pirsig means by
    mind)[215] is its most important component, at least from the Dynamic
    evolutionary viewpoint of the MOQ. However, the MOQ avoids Parfit's (1984, p.337)
    absolute equating of the self with just the intellect (what Parfit terms the
    'psychological')[216] so though the body (i.e. inorganic and biological patterns) are
    perceived as less Dynamic in the MOQ to the intellect, as far as the self's
    composition is concerned, they (together with social patterns) are still
    considered essential components.
    (My emphasis.)

    Mark: I assume you agree the terms, 'Individual' and 'self' are synonymous?
    The whole ensemble of patterns contributes to the self. This view is explored
    and expanded in The edge of Chaos (TEOC): patterns dominating overall
    coherence flavour the character of the self as an ensemble of patterns.
    Therefore, Dynamic freedom at the most advanced evolutionary stage is
    contributed by Intellectual patterns of value. The freedom of the self with regard to
    others is a coherence in which Intellectual patterns allow a 'sweet spot' of
    optimum freedom, while maintaining social cohesion.
    The self, at the sweet spot, is still a coherence between all value patterns
    and not a level of its own as you suggest.

    From Anthony McWatt's text book, An Introduction to the Metaphysics of
    A human individual may appear to have a specific and determinate nature (what
    can be referred to as their social or parikalpita nature). However, a person
    is essentially related to the rest of the world and is not apart from it.
    There are a tremendous number of inter-related chemical, biological, social and
    intellectual processes that operate within and around us (such as gravity, the
    pollination of flowers by insects, the production of oxygen by rainforests
    etc.). Remove or alter any one of these components and the 'individual' is
    affected. This is implied by Nagajuna who states:
    Nothing in the universe can stand by itself - no thing, no face, no being,
    and no event - and for this reason it is absurd to single anything out as the
    ideal to be grasped. (Watts, 1957, p.83)
    This recognition that everything (certainly on this planet) is interconnected
    seems to be gaining credence though possibly because, environmental and
    economic problems are, unfortunately, now tending to have noticeable and global

    Mark: Thus, a limiting of Freedom is a rational choice of a free self; to
    find that point on the edge of chaos where optimum balance and creativity
    accommodate each other in harmony.

    Moreover, instead of devaluing people McPartlin (2000) notes that mysticism
    actually reveals the value of other people (in its recognition that such things
    as pollution or capitalism have a global effect):
    Basically the mystic view does not accept a separation between 'I' and
    anything else. It sees everything as one. The stuff of the world and the stuff of
    the mind are the same. I am no one in particular, nor are you nor is anyone.
    If we all saw everything with this awareness then nobody would poison a river
    any more than they'd poison their own food.

    All the best,

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