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

Bodvar Skutvik (
Thu, 6 Aug 1998 08:37:52 +0100

Tue, 04 Aug 1998 11:51:57 +0000

> 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
> in
> 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
> Faces
> of Truth:

Andrew and Maggie & Squad
I have the feeling that if not someone puts down the foot we'll soon
be a NewAge group discussing how matter was spiritualized and/or
number of angels on pinheads.

I downloaded the portion of Schumacher's book that Maggie had linked
and found a remarkable likeness to Pirsig's static Q-levels - in the
same way as Wilber - but the first and decisive confrontation with
the Subject- Object metaphysics is absent from both thinkers, so even
if one finds a lot of valuable and MOQ-like observations, it is this
fundamental chess opening that sets Pirsig's system apart from
anything previous thought

There are deviations in the levels too. Schumacher makes an
inter-biological distinction between plants and animals. I am no
expert but I believe that similar divisions could be made almost
arbitrarily within the kingdoms. Molluscs are just as different from
vertebrates as plants from molluscs, and "Animals" as the Social
level, how can that comparison be made?

Sorry for being negative. I feel like a spoilt child after coming to
know Pirsig's ideas, but it is his initial shoot-out with - or more
correctly - his disrobing of SOM that was the great revelation to me.
I can only repeat my old metaphor: It is not difficult to cook up
complex and impressive systems. The medieval scholastics made a
living of constructing crystal spheres; the faulty basic cosmology
necessitated the complexity. After Copernicus it all crumpled. The
SOM necessitates complexities like the ones that Andy gives us
a sample of later in the letter, but after Pirsig it is superfluous.
I don't know why anyone find this attractive unless they have missed
the very Quality idea completely.

Will I be shot at dawn?


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