RE: MF Discussion Topic for May 2004

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Mon May 10 2004 - 02:44:49 BST

  • Next message: "Re: MF Discussion Topic for May 2004"

    Howdy focs:

    Please look at this Pirsig quote again. I think it says quite a lot about
    the levels...

    "The MOQ resolves the relationship between intellect and society, subject
    and object, mind and matter, by embedding all of them in a larger system of
    understanding. Objects are inorganic and biological values; subjects are
    social and intellectual values. They are not two mysterious universes that
    go floating around in some subject-object dream that allows them no real
    contact with one another. They have a matter-of-fact evolutionary
    relationship. That evolutionary relationship is also a moral one."

    This passage works as a handy conversion table when switching from SOM to
    the MOQ. Subjects and objects are re-concieved as the four levels in the
    larger system, but I think the evolutionary relationship that really does
    the heavy lifting here. SOM creates a gap between subjects and objects that
    leads to all kinds of problems. Among these is the gulf between mind and
    matter, which creates the fictional little man looking out from behind the
    eyeballs and the terrible secret loneliness and alienation of our isolated
    egos. Even the battle between Modernity's correspondance theory and
    postmodernism's anti-foundationalists is a result of this fictional gulf.
    But by embedding subjects and objects in an evolutionary relationship, this
    gap is bridged. (In the MOQ, the social level is like the connecting link
    between mind and matter.) This is why, I think, Pirsig has made a point of
    saying that they are connected to each other in this larger system of
    understanding and are no longer "two mysterious universes that go floating
    around in some subject-object dream that allows them no real contact with
    one another". The levels allow us to retain important distinctions, but
    without creating these unwanted disconnections. The evolutionary
    relationship Pirsig describes shows that they are very much in contact with
    each other and are tied together in a series of evolutionary struggles.

    "...what the larger intellectual structure of the MOQ makes clear is that
    this political battle of science to free itself from domimation by social
    moral codes was in fact a MORAL battle! It was the battle of a higher,
    intellectual level of evolution to keep itself from being devoured by a
    lower, social level of evolution."

    In the MOQ, the social level has a relationship with both biology and
    intellect, but they are very different kinds of relationships. This is a
    central point of confusion for SOM, which does not make a distinction
    between the social and intellectual levels of "mind". The MOQ insists that a
    lot of problems can be solved by sorting out those two different
    relationships. The moral codes of the social level are designed to keep
    biology under control, but in its relationship with intellect the social
    level is the junior partner and its considered immoral to exercise control
    in that upward direction. As the authors says, "that evolutionary
    relationship is also a moral one."


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