Re: MF Discussion Topic for May 2004

Date: Tue May 18 2004 - 21:29:52 BST

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

    Mark, Sam, Rick and all MFers:

    dmb says:
    The idea of levels in Pirsig's thinking goes back to ZAMM, at least.

    Mark had asked:
    Is there textual support for this?

    dmb replies:
    Yes, I think there is "textual support." I don't think that I'm trying to
    intergrate the idea of levels into the MOQ because they are already there.

    Mark 18-5-04: Hello dmb, you answer the topic question, "What is a level" by
    telling us, "there are levels in the MOQ." This is anodyne.

    dmb: I suspect its part of the "oldest idea known to man".

    Mark 18-5-04:
    Quality is the oldest idea known to man.
    You suspect levels are part of the oldest idea known to man.
    Therefore, you suspect levels are part of Quality.
    I feel you may be confusing 'level' with 'differentiation' here dmb?
    I feel you are also confusing 'value differentiation' with 'rational
    differentiation'. Value differentiation's are found in all Human cultures, Rational
    differentiation's are not.
    'Level' and 'Hierarchy' are Rational differentiation's and therefore cannot
    be part of the oldest idea known to man, just as evolutionary theory and
    Quantum physics are not part of the oldest idea known to man. (We may still wish to
    argue that evolution and Quantum physics were at work in early Human history
    Value differentiation's predate rationality: All theory is born from
    intuition of the undivided.
    This is why i asked if there were textual support for, "The idea of levels in
    Pirsig's thinking goes back to ZAMM, at least" because the Way or Tao
    eliminates differentiation. That is to say, enlightenment is a view point or 'highest
    level' (mountain simile) from which it is understood all differentiation's
    are imposed.

    I responded:
    Mark 12-5-04: Quality is the oldest idea known to man. Levels are
    intellectual postulations and as such may be termed intellectual Quality. Of
    intellectual Quality is part of evolution theory.
    Mark 12-5-04: The MOQ unites the theory of evolution with Quality. ZMM is
    concerned with Quality. Lila is concerned with the MOQ.

    Mark 18-5-04: dmb, you totally pass over evidence which explains the
    difference between:
    1. The Way (tat tvam asi) and the MoQ's account of the Way (coherence).
    2. Hierarchy as rational art.
    tat tvam asi is coherence in the MOQ.
    tat tvam asi is value quietness in ZMM.
    Coherence links the MOQ with ZMM in this way.

    I continued:
    Mark 12-5-04: This is the Way - the Tao. Remember the butcher's knife in The
    edge of Chaos? The Tao is equated with Quality in ZMM. Lila unites Quality
    with evolution theory.
    Mark 12-5-04: The highest level is the viewpoint of the Buddha - the Dynamic
    view point - enlightenment. Here there are no differentiation's, because it
    recognised that all (value) differentiation's are imposed. Evolution theory
    is a product of differentiated thought. The MOQ unites differentiated thought

    with Dynamic Quality.

    Mark 18-5-04: dmb, you choose to ignore all this and pass immediately on to
    Sam's contribution. What i have said is relevant, because it is important to
    show that you are not only reading the MOQ back into ZMM, but you are also
    mistaken in assuming that levels are part of the Tao or Quality.

    I continued:
    Mark 12-5-04: I feel your suspicions are perhaps the result of a misguided
    interpretation of the 'looking backwards' project. All hierarchies are
    impositions. But, some hierarchies are better than others. And what
    determines which are better? Quality. Hierarchies are Intellectual Quality.
    Mark 12-5-04: You are talking about Quality, not differentiated reality.

    I'm just pointing out that Pirsig didn't do anything very novel or invent
    them out of thin air. And so I honestly don't see why the idea "would be a

    Mark 18-5-04: dmb, If we understand levels and hierarchy to be value
    differentiation's, then it is anodyne of anyone to suggest that a particular
    individual invented differentiation's. All differentiation is value - they are there.
    But the character of how differentiation's are made changes with evolution.
    Your example of value quietness is applicable to the MOQ and ZMM because
    value quietness is coherence - harmony - excellence.
    Coherence unites all differentiation's whether they be rational, emotional,
    or Inorganic in harmony. As Human experience, experience of coherence precedes
    rational thought, and is found in rational thought today. The Way. The source
    of all Quality differentiation's.
    So, if you were to suggest that coherence is part of the oldest idea known to
    man, i would agree with you, because experience of coherence may be
    encouraged through starvation techniques, hallucinogens, self induced ecstatic states,
    These experiences, described in static narratives, are the source of soul

    The point was simply to show a similarity between ideas, a
    continuity in Pirsig's thinking with respect to levels,

    Mark 18-5-04: In ZMM this is tat tvam asi. The aim is to realise here that
    what you perceive and what you are the same:

    "This inner peace of mind occurs on three levels of understanding. Physical
    quietness seems the easiest to achieve, although there are levels and levels
    of this too, as attested by the ability of Hindu mystics to live buried
    alive for many days. Mental quietness, in which one has no wandering
    thoughts at all, seems more difficult, but can be achieved. But value
    quietness, in which one has no wandering desires at all but simply performs
    the acts of his life without desire, that seems the hardest."

    but I also happen to know from Wilber and others, that the same basic idea is found in
    virtually every thought system throughout the world, except our own.

    Mark 18-5-04: dmb, 'systems' are logically structured patterns of thought,
    i.e. rational. Any structures found in culture before the advent of the rational
    are analogues of Quality and likely to be social in nature; parents, tribal
    leaders, Anthropomorphised Gods, or rhetorical descriptions of tat tvam asi -
    unity, mystic, in other words, of the coherent.
    High coherence or value quietness is found everywhere, even in our own
    experience. This is the true nature of all Gods and spiritual realms. There is very
    clear and deep blue sparkling water between the MOQ and Wilbur.

    When you say,
    "The point was simply to show a similarity between ideas, a continuity in
    Pirsig's thinking with respect to levels, but I also happen to know from Wilber
    and others, that the same basic idea is found in virtually every thought system
    throughout the world, except our own"
    - are you seriously suggesting that 'our own' history displays no evidence of
    social pecking order analogised in Theistic narrative; presence to DQ;
    mystical perspective?
    Surely some mistake dmb?
    Quality determines all differentiation's. The MOQ explains what these are in
    terms of evolution.

    BUT, if you need
    to see this stated in Lila to accept it, I found one without even looking.

    Mark 18-5-04: dmb, then i imagine 'it' found you? Always the best way!

    It doesn't make a very fancy case, but since this is such a reasonable and
    harmless assertion, I hope that a simple one'll be enough.

    Mark 18-5-04: dmb, It is incorrect to suggest that, "the same basic idea is
    found in virtually every thought system throughout the world, except our own"
    because value differentiation's determine all patterned experience, everywhere,
    not just levels or hierarchy.
    Value differentiation is about better and better still, in other words,
    increasing coherence, which leads to an absence of differentiation's!

    At the beginning of chapter 12 Pirsig says, "This classification of patterns is NOT VERY
    ORIGINAL, but the MOQ allows and assertion about them that is unusual. It
    says they are not continuous. They are discrete." (My emphasis) Which brings
    us to Sam's comments...

    Mark 18-5-04: dmb, i believe you have made a number of mistakes, and you
    urgently need to consider the following:

    1. All differentiation's are value differentiation's, even rational
    (systematic) ones.
    2. Therefore, it is incorrect of you to suggest that 'our own thought system'
    does not contain that which others do.
    3. Rationality is a Western Intellectual, pragmatic methodology.
    4. Therefore, it is 'our own thought system' which is lacking in other
    thought systems, and not the other way around as 'Wilbur and others' suggest.
    5. Rational method, as intellectual art, is compatible with The Way.
    6. The MOQ combines The Way/Tao/Quality and Evolution.

    I should like you to address these points fully in your next post if you
    please? Thank you.

    dmb quotes Sam:
    ........, although Pirsig says that the levels are discrete, they are not
    _absolutely_ discrete, in other words, there are ways in which they relate
    to each other. "They all operate at the same time and in ways that are
    ALMOST independent of each other." (ch 12, my emphasis). The way that they
    relate is through a 'machine language interface' (from his analogy with
    computers), "the biological patterns of life and the molecular patterns of
    organic chemistry have a 'machine language' interface called DNA." (ch 12

    dmb replies:
    I think you've missed the point of Pirsig's computer analogy. He uses it to
    explain his "unusual" assertion; that the level are "discrete", "not
    continuous" and "have nothing whatsoever to do with each other". Immediately
    following this unusual assertion, he says "This observation is impossible in
    a substance-dominated metaphysics where everything has to be an extension of
    matter." and then moves directly to the analogy, telling us explicitly that
    it is intended to illustrate each level's independence. "An excellent
    analogy to the independence of the levels, Phaedrus thought, is the relation
    of hardware to software in a computer." This is where the "Machine Language
    Instruction Repertoire" comes into the picture. More below...

    Mark 18-5-04: I agree. I had to laugh at this point because Sam is here
    taking a literal reading of Pirsig. But Sam knows that a literal reading of the
    Bible is easier to avoid!

    dmb quotes Sam:
    Fifthly, at least if we go from the DNA example, there seems scope for
    suggesting that there is a particular pattern, (closely related to the
    static latch which is the 'machine language interface'), which is the
    primary 'vehicle' for the operation of DQ at each level, ie the 'migration
    of static patterns toward Dynamic Quality'.

    dmb says:
    There is a particular pattern related to the MLIR which is the primary
    vehicle for DQ? This is very unclear, but I get the impression that you're
    saying that this "interface" is a third entity that sits between one level
    and the next, like a gasket, a washer or some kind of lubricant. This would
    be a fiction that is defied by Pirsig's explanation of the MLIR. And even if
    my impression is not correct, I think its safe to say that it wouldn't hurt
    to seek some clarity by taking a closer look at what he says about the
    "Machine Language Instruction Repertoire"...

    Mark 18-5-04: Sam's conclusions are the result of a literal reading of an
    analogy. Fewer words, less hassle.

    "The two sets are independent. Except for a memory map and a tiny isthmus of
    information called the 'MLIR' - a list so small you could write it on a
    single page - the electronic circuits and the programs existing in the same
    computer at the same time have nothing whatsoever to do with each other."

    Here we can see the passage where he first introduces the MLIR. And if he'd
    said nothing else, I can see how this "tiny isthmus of information" COULD
    seem like an exception to the idea that "the two sets are independent", how
    it MIGHT seem like there is a third thing that acts as a connector between
    levels, but Pirsig has more to say about it. He says,..

    "These Machine Language instructions were the final achievement toward which
    all the circuits aimed. They were the end performance of a whole symphony of
    switching operations. When he got into programming he found that this
    symphony of electronic circuits was considered to be a mere single not in a
    whole other symphony that had no resemblance to the first one. ..The Machine
    Language Instruction Repertoire, which had been the entire design goal, was
    now the lowest element of the lowest level programming language."

    I think this idea really gets at the relationship between levels. The very
    pinnacle of achivement on one level becomes the first baby step of the next.

    Mark 18-4-05: Now it is dmb's turn to begin a literal reading of his own
    I feel you need to do this in order to align holons with MOQ levels. However,
    this does not work at all well.
    If we examine what 'the very pinnacle of achievement' means anywhere,
    anytime, in MOQ terms, we realise it means SQ-SQ tension or coherence. Excellence.
    Excellence is, by definition, the best.
    A symphony is coherent if its performance is excellent. If its performance is
    not excellent, it is less coherent. The design goal of, 'all the circuits' is
    to produce a coherent relationship between components, i.e. excellence. At
    this point, and only at this point, may DQ initiate new patterns of behaviour.
    (The Buddha nature is just as at home in electronic circuitry remember?)
    To suggest that a whole symphony playing excellently may become a single note
    is misleading. The whole symphony achieves an exceptional state. It is this
    state, not the whole symphony, which is relevant, because the whole symphony
    may be either excellent or rubbish.

    This, I think, is what Pirsig is saying about the relationship between the
    most complex inorganic molecules and the most basic life forms.

    Mark 18-5-04: The most basic life forms replicate with little evolution. Some
    of the oldest viruses have hardly changed in Billions of years. They do not
    make a note out of complex organic molecules if you look at it this way;
    viruses are very dull entities.
    That which moves beyond replication and toward evolution is DQ. For DQ to
    work there must be exceptional SQ-SQ tension.

    it's easy to imagine that the very first social level patterns were just
    beyond the most advanced kind of biological instincts

    Mark 18-5-04: I do not find this easy to imagine at all unless i take into
    account coherence in biological entities. I can imagine a state between
    organisms which is valued in some sense? This state may have been so finely balanced
    as to allow DQ to establish new patterns of behaviour. But what they actually
    were is a difficult question to tackle.

    or that the most advanced social level values evolve enough to become the most basic of
    intellectual patterns.

    Mark 18-5-04: dmb, you are in very grave danger of denying the discrete
    nature of levels in preference for an extension continuum. The only way we can
    avoid arguing that a level is not an extension of a previous level is to see that
    each new level is initiated by DQ. Without this realisation, it may be claimed
    that a new level includes an old level, which it does not.
    Lila's child annotation 31: "...a starting point which begins with something
    else is logically not a starting point."
    This is where coherence provides insight, because coherence is a state of
    patterning which appears to lose structure while retaining structure.
    (Analogously - The thin isthmus which both is, and is not.)

    I think we see this in Pirsig's assertion that myths,
    rituals and cosmology stories "may be the connecting link between the social

    and intellectual levels of evolution". "From these" he says "the first
    intellectual truths could have been derived." (end of chapter 30)

    Mark 18-5-04: I feel an enquiry into how narratives may have become very
    coherent may shed some light here? Ritual is repetitious, and as any drummer will
    tell you, there is a fantastic feeling produced when you are 'on' the beat. I
    don't just mean keeping time, i mean being really on it. It's ecstatic.

    And just in case anyone is still tempted to conclude that there is a pattern or
    patterns on the interface that is an exception to the rule of independence,
    he says even more.

    Mark 18-5-04: Coherence is and is not a pattern, this is the intriguing
    aspect of coherence. "How can a pattern be and not be a pattern," you ask?
    Coherence is exceptional relationships between patterns; exceptional tension.
    I find it much easier to imagine how, at this point, differentiation moves
    towards Unity in a combined and mutual process which accommodates DQ:
    Event stream --------> Coherence <-------- Goal of Evolution

    "Although both the circuit designer and the programmer knew the meaning of
    the instruction, 'Load Accumulator', the meaning that each knew was entirely
    different from the other's. Their only relationship was that of analogy.

    Mark 18-5-04: Coherence is better than analogy because coherence is a
    concrete enquiry into the character of real empirical relationships:
    "The underlying design of Triad's analog blocks is not complex. Each tile
    contains two operational transconductance amplifiers, an output driver amp, a
    configurable bias current generator, one each configurable resistor and capacitor
    array, an array of transmission gates and a small area of configurable logic.
    From this palette can be assembled a wide range of devices from simple
    amplifiers and active filters to sigma-delta converters. Both continuous-time and
    switched-capacitor circuits are supported. The first chip, the MSSA-1, will
    combine 12 such tiles with about 27,000 gates of ViASIC-type logic cells. The chip
    is being fabricated at Austriamicrosystems AG in an analog-oriented two-poly,
    four-metal 0.35-micron process. This is far from state of the art for digital
    ASICs, of course, but it is, as Wrappe put it, "the sweet spot for excellent
    analog performance and reasonable digital density."

    ...Even in this narrow isthmus between these two sets of static patterns
    called 'hardware' and 'software' there was still no interchange of meaning.
    The same machine language instruction was a completely different entity
    within two different sets of patterns."

    Mark 18-5-04: Moving away from this excellent Lila analogy and into the
    relationship between evolutionary related levels, i feel we can see that coherence
    provides what this analogy is indicating: "a completely different entity
    within two different sets of patterns."
    Event stream --------> Coherence <-------- Goal of Evolution
    What is termed an 'entity' here in analogy, is actually coherence in the MOQ?

    So the Machine Language Instruction Repertoire is described is "a tiny
    isthmus of information". From one level it looks a great symphony, the
    entire design goal, the height of achievement. But to the next level it
    looks like a single note and serves as a basic building block. It's not a
    third thing that sits between levels nor even an entity that functions
    equally in both.

    Mark 18-5-04: I applaud your rhetorical efforts to diffuse the
    software/hardware analogy of it's 'third entity' content dmb, but your building block
    analogy simply reinstates the 'extension' model of levels. As you know, levels are
    If one symphony becomes a note, we are simply changing level scale, not level
    In order to explain a new level function we need a basis which has nothing to
    do with the old level; DQ. DQ is involved with the old level in a far less
    coherent repertoire of patterns than as the basis of a new level.
    Much od what you say makes great sense to me - i can see you are trying hard
    and i support you. However, the only way i can see of progressing is to
    abandon analogy and discuss concrete examples of SQ-SQ tension or coherence.
    Coherence appears to be empirically verifiable and real.

    The analogy serves to illustrate that there is "no interchange of meaning" even within that tiny isthmus.
    The point is to show that the levels are like oil and water, that one is NOT an extension
    of the other, that they are "not continuous",

    Mark 18-5-04: But your analogies, 'first baby step of the other' and
    'symphony becomes a note' generates problems here dmb, because you identify a
    beginning point which is part of the old level. That reintroduces reductionism, which
    is not on. You want your cake and you want to eat it also.
    I feel this may be because you wish to include structure as part of the
    oldest idea known to man? But this has been dismissed above as a confusion between
    general value differentiation's and particular rational differentiation's.

    that "the two have nothing whatsoever
    to do with each other",
    that the levels are not only "independent" but even
    "in oppostion" to each other.


    Mark 18-5-04: The hardware/software analogy says nothing about morality or
    opposition of levels. This analogy illustrates the discrete nature of levels,
    not opposition. You conjure opposition out of thin air without explanation.
    In order to provide a moral progression and an account of opposing levels i
    feel we have to understand clearly that the basis of a new level is DQ. Because
    there is no relationship between DQ as the start of a new level and the old
    level, we may accommodate opposition as a vast increase in freedom. The
    opposition between levels is all about freedom isn't it?

    All the best,

    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archive -
    MF Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_focus follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed May 19 2004 - 13:12:38 BST