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

Hettinger (
Thu, 6 Aug 1998 08:36:32 +0100

Hi, squad!

OK, I went looking for something and I found it. I've been looking for
"evidence" of all the things we've been talking about in common sources.
After all, many of us referred somehow to the fact that MoQ is simple,
when we talk about it, things get tangled and it's not simple anymore.

Schumacher makes it simple by is going from the opposite end. He starts
from the four traditional great natural divisions, (mineral, plant,
and human) and builds from there. This seems valuable to me,
since in all his descriptions of how his levels concept works, he's
describing MoQ.

He says:

     The ability to see ...the heirarchic structure of the world, which
     makes it possible to distinguish between higher and lower Levels of
     Being, is one of the indispensable conditions of understanding.
     it, it is not possible to find out every thing's proper and
     place. Everything, everywhere, can be understood only when its
     of Being is fully taken into account. Many things which are true
at a
     low Level of Being become absurd at a higher level, and of course

     We therefore now turn to a study of the hierarchic structure of the

Here's the text of that study:

Schumacher talks about "the quality or 'power' " of each of the

He says:

     No one has any difficulty recognizing the astonishing and
     difference between a living plant and one that has died and has
     fallen to the lowest Level of Being, inanimate matter. What is
     power that has been lost? We call it "life." Scientists tell us
     we must not talk of a "life force" because no such force has ever
     found to exist. Yet the difference between alive and dead exists.
     could call it "x" to indicate something that is there to be noticed
     studied but that cannot be explained.

Eventually, though, he puts word-labels for each of those powers. If I
his labels to MoQ, I get:

biological = inorganic patterns reorganized by the power of "life"
social = biological patterns reorganized by the power of "consciousness"
intellectual = social reorganized by the power of "self-awareness"

One thing that affects me is Schumacher's use of the word
I've been using "conscious" to refer to q-intellectual and
"unconscious" to
refer to human action that is q-social. Now I see why Struan objected (I
think). Schumacher's type of
meaning is probably closer than Jaynes's to common usage--
refering to that function that disappears from a cartoon character when
is conked on the head--that obvious function that an animal has that a
hasn't. (Although maybe it would be better to avoid the word entirely,
it contains connotations of self-awareness.)

At any rate, this changes what I wrote in "Defining Social"

I was primarily interested in defining the upper level--the break
(particularly in humans) between intellectual and social. I can see
everywere I used the word conscious, I meant self-awareness, so that
limit stands. I don't see any difference between what I defined and
Pirsig, Jaynes or Schumacher were referring to. I think this goes along
with most of the squad. Tell me if you disagree.

Here's where it stops being simple. To accept Schumacher's levels,
everything I said or inferred about the lower boundary of social isn't
inclusive enough.

I defined it this way: ----------------------------------

     "Q-social patterns of value" becomes a viable concept when it is
     for those behaviors that

         * are not instinctive, but must be learned, and
         * are not evaluative or thoughtful or even conscious.

     When an endangered baby raccoon is "rescued" and raised by humans,
     can no longer survive in the wild unless it is also raised with
     raccoons. There are behaviors it must perceive and imitate in order
     have the skills that it needs. These patterns are q-social.

     It would be good to determine where the line falls between
     instinct and q-social's patterns, for they are not the same. It's
     probably true that a lot of insect so-called social behavior is
     actually biological, while most of the wolf pack and ape societal
     behavior is really q-social. That, however, is for another time.


To use "self-awareness" instead of "consciousness", I can make a
word-change for the upper level and not change the concept:

     those behaviors that
          * are not evaluative or thoughtful or even conscious.


     those behaviors that
          * are not thoughtful or otherwise self-aware.

That's easy. But the using Schumacher's "consciousness" changes
everything at the lower end. Animal instinct (including those insects)
would have to become part of social, not biological. Is this viable?

I can think of all kinds of reasons why we (LS) tend to think of many
forms of animal behavior as biological patterns, not social. I always
did. Now I'm going at it from the other angle. How could they be

>From Schumacher's bottom-up division I'd have to reorder the statement, and
it becomes:

     "Q-social patterns of value" becomes a viable concept when it is
     for behavior patterns, whether instinctive or copied through
     that are not thoughtful or otherwise self-aware.

"Behavior". The domain of "doing". Behavior.

This has taken me all morning, but now I feel like I've gotten
somewhere. Social patterns are behavior. That is a significant
separation from both the biological/plant world and the
intellectual/human level. In my real life, I've been trying to tell
people that taking education into the world of "doing things" takes it
into an area in which all the rules are different, where results are
often the opposite of what was expected. From that standpoint,
"behavior", or action, is almost always the defining factor. Behavior
(or action) is certainly a defining difference between plant and animal,

Social patterns are
biological (plant) patterns+ behavior.

Does this fly with anybody else?


 PS. The line between instinctive and learned behavior still looms
greatly. What is IT, then? A halfway point?

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