Re: MF Discussion Topic for May 2004

Date: Tue May 25 2004 - 01:44:06 BST

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    Mark 25-5-04: Hello everyone,
    The Topic question for this month is, "What is a level."
    So far, dmb, Sam, Kirk, Rich and myself have expressed views upon this topic


    My own view is the most simple and straightforward:
    Mark's answer 12-5-04:
    A Level is composed of patterns of Static Quality evolving in the event
    stream towards DQ.

    1. Event stream (DQ) --------> 3. Coherence <-------- 2. DQ Goal of evolution

    1. Event stream is immediate Dynamic flux of experience. (SODV)
    2. Goal of evolution is also immediate Dynamic flux of experience. (Lila)
    3. Coherence is a tension between static patterns emerging from the Dynamic

    All levels display preference towards coherence.
    All levels display a preference towards limiting the previous levels coherence.
    New levels begin with Dynamic Quality.
    A level may be said to be composed of a static repertoire of patterns within
    which coherence forms. Coherence is also a measure of beauty.


    Mark 25-5-04: dmb has suggested that, "levels are part of the oldest idea
    known to man." dmb has also pointed out that levels are discrete.

    Sam has provided an in depth and well thought out overview of what levels
    are, citing textual support from Lila and asked questions regarding apparent
    problems with them.

    Kirk introduces Julian Jaynes.

    Rich provided an insight into the balance between Topic (rhetoric) and system
    (the rational) in Pirsig's own description of Levels in Lila. This reminded
    me of Poincare's rhetorical approach to his work in physics.


    dmb has this to say about my contribution 23-5-04: "It seems you've used my
    post as a platform to express your ideas about "coherence" in the MOQ. We could
    have a conversation about the elected topic, but I have to insist that you
    respond directly AND without weighing it all down with your personal theories
    and repetitious jargon."

    Mark 25-5-04: 1. As is plain from my initial response to this months Topic
    (12-5-04) i already provide a description of levels in terms of coherence. dmb
    is factually incorrect to suggest i use his posts as a platform - my views are
    already stated.
    2. Coherence is central to an MOQ description of what a level is. dmb is
    therefore wrong a second time when he implies coherence has nothing to do with the
    elected Topic. Coherence has everything to do with the elected Topic: One of
    the key features of levels in the MOQ is precisely that they can be seen to be
    increasing in coherence.
    3. Therefore, it is most inappropriate for dmb to suggest that i am not
    responding directly. Coherence provides a simple and elegant description not only
    of what levels are, but also how they operate. My description is superior to
    any dmb has so far invested in.
    4. It is disingenuous of dmb to refuse to recognise or provide constructive
    consideration of a fellow Focus group member's ideas. It is low Quality to
    dismiss as personal theorising and jargonistic that which has already been
    expounded in a clear and structured manner. (See, The edge of chaos. Mark Maxwell.)

    Right from the beginning, dmb has used this months Topic to try and
    unsuccessfully align the MOQ with Ken Wilber: dmb 11-5-04: "And of course this kind of
    evolutionary development is not limited to the biological level, but includes
    all the known universe, from dirt to divinity as Wilber would put it, including us."
    And again, it can be seen in dmb's assertion that levels are part of the
    oldest idea known to man: dmb 13-5-04: "What's my point? I suspect reality itself
    is ranked and ordered somehow and its not just us imposing our hierarchies.
    The idea seems too old, too pervasive, too useful and too well backed by
    evidence for us to do anything but believe it."

    Mark 25-5-04: There is no textual support in the MOQ for dmb's assertion.
    Mark 18-5-04: Quality is the oldest idea known to man. You (dmb) suspect
    levels are part of the oldest idea known to man. Therefore, you (dmb) suspect
    levels are part of Quality.

    There is abundant textual support for a description of levels in terms of
    coherence in Lila. (Please refer to The edge of Chaos by Mark Maxwell.)
    Coherence, as an MOQ enquiry into particular examples of excellent patterned states,
    also describes very well many of the examples of Quality found in ZMM, not least
    the value of maintaining a motorcycle at it's 'sweet spot'!!
    dmb dismisses all this, and other examples i gave him, including a correction
    of his ZMM quote regarding 'value quietness' with the following: dmb 23-5-04
    "As for the rest of your "criticisms", I honestly don't know what you're
    talking about."

    Sam has been more constructive and greatly encouraging regarding coherence,
    and i thank him for this.

    Sam's own view on this months Topic question has been structured as follows:
    1. Pirsig describes the MoQ as being a study of static latches, or static
    Quality. They are a description or classification of static Quality; a
    description of particular classes of patterns of value.
    2. Levels form a moral hierarchy as static Quality evolves. There is an
    ascent from the inorganic to the biological to the social to the fourth level. This
    ascent is led by DQ, and is geared around freedom.
    3. Levels are not absolutely discrete; 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." The way that they relate is through a 'machine
    language interface.'
    4. There is a 'purpose' involved at each level which may be expressed in
    terms of laws; different levels emerging to give more freedom in the context of
    those laws.
    5. There seems scope for suggesting that there is a particular pattern which
    is the primary 'vehicle' for the operation of DQ at each level.

    So a level in the MoQ is: a classification of static patterns of value that fits into the
    hierarchy of evolution led by DQ, which relates to the other levels via a 'machine language
    interface' and whose purpose can be classified according to a particular
    'law' or 'laws', and which is most easily understood by consideration of the
    'vehicle' on which DQ operates.

    Mark 25-5-04: I have suggested to Sam that he may be taking a literal reading
    of the software/hardware analogy? I suggest coherence best describes
    excellent states irrespective of patterning. i.e. SQ-SQ coherence.
    The thin isthmus which separates each level may be seen to be exceptional
    coherence, which is very close to DQ. This will allow us to postulate DQ as the
    initiator of a new level, thus removing any logical inconsistencies which would
    arise if the previous level is given as a starting point. DQ also provides
    freedom for new levels in increasing coherent states.

    Sam 25-5-04: DNA, as a 'balanced' mechanism, is the vehicle that the weak
    subatomic forces adopted to steer to 'all sorts of freedom by selecting first one
    bonding preference and then another.' (See the end of chapter 11; note that
    here Pirsig actually describes the 'vehicle' as a DNA + protein combination,
    static and dynamic in >coherent< harmony)
    (Sam winks to Mark)

    Mark 25-5-04: I like this. Sam has identified coherence to be the vehicle.
    This vehicle is elsewhere described as an isthmus.

    Sam 25-5-04: Your (dmb's) picking up of the note/symphony language is spot
    on; so DNA is a 'note' that the inorganic level has managed to create (giving
    itself more freedom) but the existence of notes allows for the existence of
    symphonies, which are composed of notes. The interesting thing is not the
    existence of notes but their patterning according to the classification by level -
    that's what makes the difference between a 'note' that happens randomly (a sound
    which is meaningless; the inorganic level) and a 'note' within a symphony (a
    sound which is meaningful; the biological level). Although the DNA evolved to
    give more freedom at the inorganic level, it became open to DQ in a radically
    new way - and we have all of biology as a result.

    Mark 25-5-04: This looks to have got it. I like Sam's underscoring of the
    crucial issue of randomness and meaning. Is this not coherence?
    Increasing coherence is increasing freedom within a static/Dynamic envelope.
    Sam: 4. There is a 'purpose' involved at each level.

    I feel my view ties things together neatly, elegantly and with great economy
    of explanation.
    dmb's refusal to engage with the ideas expressed in my initial post on this
    Topic, and then to avoid these issues further by misleading the Focus group
    is totally unacceptable in my view.

    All the best,

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