Re: MD SQ-SQ coherence and the Biosphere.

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Tue Apr 20 2004 - 17:25:02 BST

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    Hi Jim,

    > Deepest apologies for the tardiness of this response - I had
    > "connectivity problems" ... and now I have 200+ postings to ponder!!!
    > (Naturally I don't assume that these are in response to me :-), but as
    > yours in direct response to mine I will answer this (mostly) irrespective
    > of other postings)

    Delighted you're back!

    > Platt Holden wrote:
    > >Pirsig says the city is a static pattern. "This city is another static
    > >pattern left behind by the creative force." (Lila-17) (Note his
    > >description of DQ as the "creative force.")
    > >
    > >Further, Pirsig says individuals responding to DQ are responsible for
    > >bringing about change at the social level:
    > >
    > >"The strongest moral argument against capital punishment is that it
    > >weakens a society's Dynamic capability-its capability for change and
    > >evolution. It's not the "nice" guys who bring about real social change.
    > >"Nice" guys look nice because they're conforming. It's the "bad" guys, who
    > > only look nice a hundred years later, that are the real Dynamic force in
    > >social evolution. That was the real moral lesson of the brujo in Zuni. If
    > >those priests had killed him they would have done great harm to their
    > >society's ability to grow and change." (Lila-13)

    > It is accepted as "fact" (and think in the spirit of strong empiricism
    > that we should accept it) that at least one transition from collective to
    > individual existed - the transition from single cellular entities to
    > multicellular creatures. My opinion of the city is that it is a "pre-self
    > collective" - i.e. it is a coral skeleton rather than a human skeleton, as
    > yet. I can imagine certain technological advances that will change the
    > distinction of self. As yet the city is not self aware. In 20 years, I am
    > not so sure.

    A most interesting idea. Would love to hear how a city can become self-
    aware, regardless of the time it might take. I presume you begin by
    positing some sort of collective consciousness?

    > >An interesting comment by Pirsig about artificial intelligence, from his
    > >Notes to the book, 'Lila's Child:"
    > >
    > >"Since the MOQ states that consciousness (i.e. intellectual patterns) is
    > >the collection and manipulation of symbols, created in the brain, that
    > >stand for patterns of experience, then artificial intelligence would be
    > >the collection and manipulation of symbols, created in a machine, that
    > >stand for patterns of experience. If one agrees that experience exists at
    > > the inorganic level, then it is clear that computers already have
    > >artificial intelligence. A question arises if the term "consciousness" is
    > >expanded to mean "intuition" or "mystic awareness." Then computers are
    > >shut out by the fact that static patterns do not create Dynamic quality."
    > >(Note 32)
    > >
    > I agree with this interpretation. I do not think that symbolic
    > manipulation, however fast, equals intelligence. I.e. I do not think that
    > (stupid)^(lots) == (clever) (^ means "to the power of" - I am precluded use
    > of superscipt in a text only posting). IMO it is the dynamic quality that
    > exists at the molecular inoganic level (i.e. the DQ to which the static
    > inorganic level(s) are capable of responding) that generates the set of
    > static molecular patterns we know as biochemistry. And so on.

    You put this in the present tense. I would put it in the past tense. DQ
    generated those static molecular patterns a long time ago and has moved up
    so that now ''only a living (individual) being" can respond to DQ. (Parens

    > The fact
    > that human intellectual awareness can appreciate eternal concepts like
    > prime numbers does not mean that prime numbers are DQ perceptive entities -
    > and a similar argument applies to electrons. In order to achieve
    > awareness, I would argue that computer hardware must in some way access DQ
    > at the atomic/molecular level and amplify it. Naturally current orthodoxy
    > has no way of doing this as it does not acknowledge anything other than
    > static patterns of inorganic quality and has great difficulty in dealing
    > with the existence of intellectual quality in association to them, let
    > alone other patterns or DQ.

    How true!
    > However it is clear that much of the dynamic of people is related to an
    > awful lot of simple information processing and the generation of a fiction
    > of consciousness upon which DQ appears to act - this is empirically
    > demonstrable - and deserves a thread of its own.

    Consciousness is a fiction? The MOQ begins with the premise that reality
    is "a direct experience independent of and prior to intellectual
    abstractions." (Lila, 5) It will be interesting to see the distinctions
    you make, if any, between consciousness, awareness and experience

    > >> This what I think he means by "only a
    > >>living being can do that": it's a de facto situation referring to those
    > >>levels which he's given a rhetorical slant, not a statement of a
    > >>theoretical absolute.

    > >I take Pirsig at his word. To suggest, "Well, he didn't really mean it"
    > >seems speculative.

    > Pirsig is a rhetoritician. I think he did "mean it" but only in certain
    > circumstances which he doesn't quote all the time. And short of direct
    > statements by the man, we have to interpolate. But even *if* Pirsig
    > disagrees with me, both he, you and I are humans. He has introduced a
    > useful concept and we are running with it from there: his vetos are to be
    > respected, but should not be considered gospel.

    In principle we agree as opposed to others who would have us toe the line
    as only they interpret the MOQ.

    > >Chemical reactions occur in predictable static patterns. I see no dynamic
    > >aspect in mere changes.

    > I think I have seen other postings directing you at the work of the
    > Nobel prize winning chemist Ilya Prigogine and I will do the same.
    > Whilst his verbose, arty style may not be to your taste (i.e. hardly
    > plain English), he does give an excellent description of the
    > adaptability evinced in inorganic chemistry - this description is
    > available in the English translation of his work, entitled "Order Out Of
    > Chaos".
    > Suffice to say that one perspective observes randomness, another
    > observes volition.

    Interesting point. I've always thought that the scientific appeal to randomness
    was a cop out, comparable in explanatory power to "The devil made me do it."
    Volition, even at the subatomic level, makes more sense to me even though
    at the lower levels, choices are limited by overriding static patterns. An
    worm cannot choose to suddenly become an elephant.

    > >>I'm not sure what you mean when you say "consciousness emerging from
    > >>bundle of nerve tissue". Current thinking (backed up by reproducible
    > >>research I hasten to add) tends to indicate that "common sense" ideas
    > >>involving consciousness are misleading and that consciousness is very
    > >>much a set of post-hoc adjustments to try and maintain an illusion of
    > >>self. But you might mean something completely different... ...and I need
    > >>to read up on a lot of that stuff anyway.
    > >>
    > >>
    > >
    > >All I meant was the brain consists of nerve tissue which mysteriously
    > >'creates' awareness, experience, memory. I put 'creates' in parens because
    > > even that notion is far from settled. The brain, like other bodily organs
    > > that respond to outside influences, may tap into a pre-existing field of
    > >consciousness as some have suggested. As a physicist you must have
    > >wondered why human observation appears to effect a particle's behavior.
    > >Much still to be figured out when it comes to consciousness.
    > >

    > From a physicist's PoV, I doubt the collapse of a particle's
    > wavfunction has to do with "consciousness" (whatever that is) rather the
    > sharing of information across diverse systems which becomes irreversible.
    > And the brain would be one of those systems. AFAIC all systems are static
    > patterns of quality interacting with DQ, whether we are talking electrons
    > or elections. From a MoQ PoV I would speculate that the collapse of a
    > quantum state is to do with the ability of the associated SQ patterns to
    > reform the quantum state. But that sort of speculation is going to
    > degenerate into gobbledegook unless backed up by some serious mathematics.
    > A good book on Quantum Physics and speculation on that domain is "Quantum
    > Physics: Illusion or Reality" by A.I.M. Rae, a lecturer at Birmingham
    > University, England. I think he takes this to the closest possible
    > description to quality in the absence of quality and tends to a MoQ PoV,
    > but of course can't go there because he lacks, or can't use, a MoQ.

    Science has yet to solve the mystery of consciousness. Pirsig attributes
    Quality (reality) to it, or at least "direct experience" which, IMO,
    presumes consciousness.

    > >True enough. Have you any thoughts at what might evolve at the inorganic
    > >level in the future if indeed evolution can occur there?

    > I don't think that inorganic (read pre-biological) evolution stands a
    > chance where biological or equivalent evolution exists. We are constrained
    > to the 2+ hours of the Huygens probe and whatever the Mars landers turn up
    > in that respect. A pity (well it was on a shoestring budget) that Beagle 2
    > didn't make it because it had some experiments specifically tuned to these
    > sort of investigations. The conditions of Venus and the Moon I would think
    > preclude inorganic DQ to make the jump to something analogous to biology -
    > I could be wrong with respect to core planetary conditions, but these are
    > not testable in the lab. I would speculate quite freely that "life" could
    > exist on the giant planets and even within the Sun - but we have as yet no
    > means of investigating or simulating such situations, except by asymptotic
    > mathematical modelling. All I would state is a "faith" if you will that DQ
    > is much more adaptable than the intellectual study of the conditions of DQ
    > in our immediate circumstances currently asserts. DQ will latch onto *any*
    > static encoding method to make itself more flexible if not swamped by
    > impossible odds.

    Speculation about other worlds is always fun. But not being a fan of
    science fiction, I'm far out of my element in that regard.

    Best regards,

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