LS Re: Four Levels of Being--E F Schumacher

Tue, 4 Aug 1998 06:01:22 +0100

Greetings everybody -

Maggie wrote:

A number of the concepts we've been wrangling over seem really clear
now. It's hard to believe.

What do you think?


I think it's great that the Lila Squad is slowly coming around to
understanding that the concepts Pirsig discusses are not only reflected
the writings of others, but are sometimes reflected much more clearly.

Ken Wilber has a chart that reflects, well, everything. Platt alluded to
Wilber's four quadrants in a posting last month. He erroneously labeled
tehm "pure SOM." A quick introduction is when Ken discusses the Four
of Truth:

The four quadrants are the combinations of interior/exterior,
individual/collective. As we've seen before: "The Upper left is the
interior of the individual (e.g., Freud, Jung, Aurobindo, Plotinus,
Buddha). The Upper Right is the exterior of the individual (e.g.,
behaviorism, empiricism, physics, biology, neurology, etc.). The Lower
is the interior of the collective (e.g., the shared cultural values and
worldviews explored by interpretive sociology; Kuhn, Gebser, Weber). And
the Lower Right is the exterior of the collective (e.g., the objective
social action system studied by systems theory; Comte, Marx).

To discuss Truth, one needs only to take a look around the four
Each quadrant has its own unique 'validity claims' [defined as the ways
which it goes about accumulating and validating its data and its
which give us four kinds of truth. They are as follows:

- Upper Left (interior individual, or "I", subjective): truthfulness,
sincerity, integrity, trustworthiness
- Upper Right (exterior individual, or "it", objective): truth,
correspondance, representational, propositional
- Lower Left (interior collective, or "We", intersubjective): justness,
cultural fit, mutual understanding, rightness
- Lower Right (exterior collective, or "it", interobjective): functional
fit, systems theory web, structural-functionalism, social systems mesh

Note the I, We, and it-language. Science - empirtical science - deals
objects, with "its", with empirical patterns. Morals and ethics concern
"we" and our intersubjective world of mutual understanding and justness.
Art and aesthetics concern the beauty in the eye of teh beholder, the

Note further how well this summary honors the great discoveries of
philospohic pioneers: Plato's Good (morals/we), True (objective
and Beautiful (aesthetics/I); Sir Karl Popper's objective (it),
(I), and cultural (we); Habermas' three validity claims of objective
subjective sincerity, and intersubjective justness; Kant's trilogy, his
life's work !!!! - The Critique of Pure reason (objective science),
Critique of Practical Reason (morals), and Critique of Judgement
judgement and art); the three jewels of Buddhism - Buddha (I), Dharma
(it), and Sangha (We). Examples abound.

It may also be intersting to note that Ken has identified the main
of modernity, dictated by the domination of science and reason, namely:
that, out of the need to satisfy the demands of the scientific (it)
validity claims, interiors have been reduced to exteriors, "I" and "we"
have been forced into "it". "The disaster of modernity, in short, was
all *interior* dimensions (of I and We) were reduced to *exterior*
(of objective its), which, of course, completely destroys the interior
dimensions in their own terms." The disaster of modernity is the very
problem that Phaedrus battles (sort of on his friend John's behalf)
throughout ZMM, leading him to reject U Chicago and everybody else.
because they don't recognize the interiors on their own terms: they try
objectify them; to tie everything down to a simple location.

We cannot define ethical or moral because these words are not most
accurately defined by "it-language". They are not exteriors. There is
mathematical formula. There is no objective criteria.

The MoQ is the result of Phaedrus refusing to believe modernity's
reductionist trick. It is his own restoration of interior dimensions of
knowledge. Quality cannot and will not be reduced to quantity.

Wilber suggests that these four quadrants are intrinisc aspects of the
features of the Kosmos itself. So, Maggie, it's not at all hard to
that these come to the surface in Plato, Kant, Buddhism, Pirsig, EF
Schumacher, or anyone else who is seeking truth.

The Great Chain of Being - that is exactly on the point. A better phrase
the Great Nest of Being, as this is a nested holarchy (hierarchy). The
problem is that modernity has in fact *rejected* this Great Nest of
which is as follows:

Matter to Life to Mind to Soul to Spirit
Physics to Biology to Psychology to Theology to Mysticism
So where Matter is A, Life is A+B, Mind A+B+C, Soul A+B+C+D, and Spirit
A+B+C+D+E. Each level transcends and includes the previous level.
a cirlce with matter in the center, and each succeeding level in a
that surrounds the previous level.

The similarities between Wilber and Schumacher are striking indeed. I
nearly fell out of my chair when I saw the "Hamlet" example - Ken uses
same example! His context is in validity claims - how do we know what
pieces of data are valid?

1. instrumental injunction, or an actual practice, a paradigm, an
experiment. "If you want to know this, do this;" "if you want to know
the garbage is rotten, smell it."
2. direct apprehension - the garbage smells. immediate experience.
3. communal confirmation (or rejection) - my roommates agree that the
garbage smells.

If data fulfill these requisites, then we can call it valid. These
can be used in each of the four quadrants.

I consider our current/proposed exploration of the 4 quadrants of the
to be little more than an academic exercise in equating one man's
(Pirsig) with all the others (Wilber, Schumacher, Kant, Plato, et al).
see little mystery here. This problem is solved.

A much greater problem is how to get the quote unquote real world to
understand it, and use this to alleviate suffering and evolve as
individuals and as a society.


"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the
point, however, is to change it."

- Karl Marx

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