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

Platt Holden (
Tue, 4 Aug 1998 18:54:36 +0100

Hi Andy and LS:

Andy wrote:

"Ken Wilber has a chart that reflects, well, everything. Platt alluded
Wilber's four quadrants in a posting last month. He erroneously labeled
them "pure SOM." A quick introduction is when Ken discusses the Four
of Truth. 'The four quadrants are the combinations of interior/exterior,

I don't think my label was erroneous at all. The "first cut" for Wilber
interior/exterior -- SOM to the core. In fact, he uses the word
"subjective" to describe the entire right side of the quadrant and
"objective" for the left. Once Wilber took out his knife and made that
first cut, there's no turning back.

Don't get me wrong. I love Wilber. He is a Great Chain of Being
philosopher. As such. he reflects what has been thought and said before,
brilliantly. But its old stuff, borrowed in large part from the East,
dressed up in modern garb.

By contrast, Pirsig introduces an entirely new proposition: The world is
Quality; all Quality; nothing but Quality. The first cut is Dynamic and

Dynamic Quality -- the Principle of Rightness, the Desire for the Good,
Drive towards Perfection -- won't fit into any quadrant since its
(like the essence of all energy forms) eludes definition.

Static Quality -- what was left behind that was worthwhile from the
creative force of DQ -- became four evolutionary levels. It's not
surprising that an evolutionary hierarchy similar to Pirsig's appears in
other philosophies (Schumacher, et al.) because we all share the same
SOM-based Intellectual Level, at least in the Western world.

So like Andy I see little mystery in Pirsig's levels. But Pirsig has
them with startling new meaning, a meaning that "transcends but
Wilber's philosophy.


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