Diana McPartlin (email@example.com)
Mon, 3 Aug 1998 06:09:52 +0100
Having read Magnus' and Troy's versions I think we're all pretty much
agreed on the first two levels. The first is what's usually known as
matter or substance and the second is life or the life force. These
might not be very scientific definitions but I don't usually have
trouble recognizing them when I meet them.
The distinction between social and intellectual is more subtle. Maggie
is the expert on this, but I'm starting to see social as any behavior by
a biological organism which is copied from another organism. I would
include thoughts as a kind of behavior so thoughts that we copy (or
perhaps copy themselves) from others are social patterns rather than
intellectual. Thus cultural values and behaviors are copied from one
person to another without any reasoning at the intellectual level.
The intellectual level is what we're talking about when we tell someone
to "put their thinking cap on". It means reason or analysis of
information by logic and rationality. There have been suggestions in the
past that the intellectual level is just "thought". But I find this word
too vague. If we talk about putting your thinking cap on, it means start
*processing* information and that's the key to the intellectual level.
"Thought" can be anything that pops up in your head. As an example, if I
think that I dislike <insert ethnic group> when I know nothing about
that group then it would probably be a social pattern, copied from the
society around me.
This distinction between social and intellectual answers the question of
whether the SOM is a strawman.
Intellectually it is. Anyone who has studied the dichotomy between mind
and matter to any degree has to conclude that there is something wrong
with it. But socially it's another matter. Social patterns don't care if
something is rational or not, and our social and personality patterns
are built around this dichotomy. Even though we might know
intellectually the SOM is wrong, unless we can see some social value in
not believing it we will continue to behave as if it were right anyway.
So intellectually the SOM is a strawman but socially it isn't.
And Bo (is it pronounced "boo!"? I always thought it rhymed with toe)
has argued that the intellectual level is the same as the SOM. I think
he's probably right. The subject has to separate itself from the object
in order to contemplate it. Social patterns are copied blind from one to
another, there's no objectivity in them.
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