RE: MD The Individual Level

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Apr 25 2004 - 19:39:55 BST

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    Steve asked:
    How can they the intellectual level be at war with the social level if it
    includes it?

    dmb replies:
    Think of the way biological organisms must fight against inorganic forces
    even while they include them. The atoms in their muscles are used to resist
    gravity, for example. Think of the way social codes conflict with biological
    impulses. Both are included in the whole person and yet they are at odds.
    Social codes put a harness and bridle upon that beast. We all eat and have
    sex and otherwise honor the demands of biology, as is necessary, but we also
    have table manners and marriage vows. So it is with the social level and
    intellectual levels. We may have heart-warming feelings of patriotism, for
    example, but sometimes the intellect will conflict with this most natural
    feeling. Suppose the policies and practices of one's nation were
    intellectually contemptible. Suppose one's nation were led my a messianic
    militarist who identifies the Divine Will with his own policies and who
    sought to re-make the world in his own image? Wouldn't it be wrong, then, to
    let patriotic feelings get in the way of responding to the outrageousness of
    such a situation? This is a rhetorical question. The point is that all
    levels include and transcend the ones below.

    Steve said:
    I agree, so long as you don't *equate* the MOQ types of static patterns
    with levels of development. I have no problem with the "idea of
    talking about people in terms of the level of values that dominate
    them." My problem is with defining the levels in terms of types of
    people, i.e. the individual level, rather than understanding people in
    terms of types of patterns of value. I tend to bring it up whenever we
    come to a disagreement in this discussion group where I think clarity
    can be gained by making that distinction.

    dmb replies:
    Don't equate MOQ static patterns as levels of development?! What!? The MOQ
    is an evolutionary metaphysics, so the levels ARE levels of development.
    That's EXACTLY what the levels are, EVOLUTIONARY STEPS. You lost me after
    the first sentence there. I can't make any sense of what you see as a
    problem "with defining the levels in terms of types of people". What does
    that mean and who is doing it? I don't see what distinction you're talking
    about. Do you have any examples or explanations to offer on this?

    Steve said:
    By the way, when you say so and so is "on the ____ level," do you mean
    it like Platt that the person is dominated by that level rather than
    literally that type of pattern of value?

    dmb replies:
    Rather that literally that type of pattern? I honestly don't know what you
    mean? Oddly, I can see that its related to the distinction that I don't see.
    And I can see that you're asking about the phase, "on the x level", but
    beyond that I'm lost. Let me just say that I think each person exhibits
    their values in ways we can detect and that, roughly, we can make a call
    about what makes a person tick. Its not any more complicated than that.

    Steve asked:
    What do you want me to confess?
    dmb says:
    your unspoken reasons, the ones that will allow your objections to make

    I am objecting to Platt's idea of renaming of the fourth level. What do you
    think about that?

    dmb says:
    I think "renaming" parts of the MOQ is, in general, a very bad idea. And
    this specific proposal is particularly objectionable. Insofar as the MOQ
    seeks to be a remedy for the modern isolated ego, renaming the highest level
    of morality after this nightmare only mocks Pirsig's efforts. It re-inforces
    the problem Pirsig is trying to solve, props up that fictional man behind
    the eyeballs. And it puts Platt's ego at the center of the universe.


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