RE: MF Discussion Topic for December 2003

Date: Wed Dec 17 2003 - 15:30:24 GMT

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    All Foci

    Sam said:
    > I take seriously RMP's comment in his letter to Paul Turner that
    > "When getting into a definition of the intellectual level much
    > clarity can be gained by recognizing a parallel with the lower
    > levels." So let us consider a hypothetical IQ test question set in,
    > say, 2050:
    > "As the atom is to the physical level, and the gene is to the
    > biological level, and the tribe is to the social level, so is X to
    > the intellectual level" - What is X?

    The Subject/Object divide naturally, what else?

    > RMP has variously defined what the intellectual level is; it is the
    > level of independently manipulable signs. So I think that RMP would
    > now say that X is an 'abstract sign (standing for a pattern of
    > experience)'.

    "Signs/Symbols" are useless as something characteristic for a
    static level. Charles Peirce made a sign-based metaphysics back
    in the early twentieth century much like the "trinity" version of the
    MOQ (Signs/Subjects and Objects), in other words "sign" (or
    symbol) is another QUALITY facet (sign-significance-value) thus
    saying that intellect is "manipulation of symbols" is as meaningful
    as saying it is "manipulation of values", i.e: saying nothing.

    > At the end of his letter to Paul Turner, however, he
    > retreats to a mystical perspective on the intellect: "for anyone who
    > really wants to know what intellect is I think definitions are not
    > the place to start.

    Intellect cannot define intellect; no level can define itself.

    > Since definitions are a part of the intellectual level
    > the only person who will understand a definition of intellect is a
    > person who already is intellectual and thus has the answer before he
    > ever asks."
    To define is to state the meaning of words and I do believe pre-
    intellectual people defined constantly. When meeting other
    languages telling what words meant. This reflects the notorious
    reverting to the speaking/thinking intellect

    > I think this is both a cop-out and primary evidence of incoherence.
    > Either we can talk about the intellectual level in comparison with
    > the other levels or we can't.

    Sure it is a cop-out and sure we can talk about intellect. As a
    static level of the MOQ it is defined from MOQ's perspective and
    from there it is plain going.

    > I believe that we can talk about the fourth level of the MoQ. I
    > believe that the interactions between the levels can be delineated
    > with more or less precision, and I believe that the characteristics
    > of the static fourth level patterns, and the way in which they
    > respond to Quality can be discerned. My concern is that RMP's
    > delineation lacks Quality, simple as that.

    The intellectual level is not delineated (in the definition sense) in
    LILA - nor is any other level and Pirsig says is some letter to
    someone that he did not see the need to define intellect, he took it
    to be obvious. I did so too in the beginning, but in this discusssion
    it dissolved completely, and I arrived at the S/O definition to shore
    it up.

    > Firstly, a response to something which David B raised partially, and
    > which Paul Turner has raised before in the MD forum. There is a
    > distinction between a person and an intellect (or, to use my
    > language, the 'choosing unit', ie the autonomous individual in level
    > 4). The person is the whole human being, ie including all the
    > different levels in more or less harmonious arrangement. The
    > intellect is that part of a person which is able to make decisions
    > in response to Quality - in other words, it is that element which
    > functions on the intellectual level in an analogous fashion to the
    > atom, gene and tribe on the other levels. So my hand is a part of my
    > person, but it is not part of my intellect. My intellect is that
    > part of my person which affects and is affected by intellectual
    > patterns of value - and is, indeed, a more or less rich static
    > accumulation of such patterns of value
    "My intellect the part of my person ...etc." translates to the social
    level as: "My tribe (community) the part of me which affects and is
    affected by social patterns." The tribe is in itself a social pattern
    and the atom is an inorganic pattern and the gene a biological
    pattern. It brings no more clarity.

    > As I said before, the principal problem I have had with using
    > 'intellect' as the description for level 4 is that it is too narrow.
    > Most importantly, I accept RMP's "We must all use terms as they are
    > described in the dictionary or we lose the ability to communicate
    > with each other." (Note 24 in Lila's Child).

    Intellectual is good enough IMO. Watch out Sam or you'll be
    accused of creating a different MOQ and asked to call it something
    else (which means "remove yourself") ;-)

    > My dictionary offers as the
    > definition of intellect "the capacity for understanding, thinking or
    > reasoning, as distinct from feeling or wishing" and I believe this
    > to be what RMP has in mind when he talks about intellect. (In
    > particular, from his letter to Paul Turner, he uses the word
    > 'abstract' to describe the signs of the intellectual level.)

    "The power of the mind to reason, contrasted with feelings and
    INSTINCTS". says my Oxford Advanced, but what is REASON
    other than the ability to distinguish between what is objective in
    contrast to mere subjective feelings. Look to my "interaction-
    sensation-emotion-reason" list! Intellect's value is that of rising
    above emotions, just as societys value was rising above instincts.
    Exactly as the dictionary says. No differences with dictionaries
    ...not regarding the S/O-definition.

    > This understanding, prevalent in our culture, is the one which gives
    > emotions no cognitive content, ie it precisely IS 'distinct from
    > feeling'.

    Our culture (SOM) gives emotions no cognitive content because
    SOM is MOQ's intellect! And it will not get any intellectual content
    in the MOQ either, but because the social level (emotions) is
    intellect's base things will change fundamentally.

    > (It derives ultimately, I would argue, from a particular
    > strand of neo-Platonism,

    Is "it" SOM? If so it derives from the whole Greek development as
    described in ZMM.

    > ironically enough using the interpretation of
    > the Phaedrus which RMP rejects in ZMM - but then that raises the
    > question of whether ZMM is consistent with Lila. perhaps another
    > month for that one.

    ZMM and LILA is badly out of sync. in the "orthodox" definition of

    > I note with interest that Ant McWatt confidently claims
    > that the thinker closest to RMP is Plotinus - something which I was
    > trying to argue for in the MD forum a while back, but which seemed
    > not to be accepted.)

    What RMP? Not the one who wrote ZMM! The author of LILA?
    Hardly. Maybe the annotating one.


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