LS Re: Moral precedence in the 4 levels

Donald S. Rosenow (
Fri, 7 Aug 1998 19:25:56 +0100

Jonathon Marder wrote:
> 1. In the 1960's the USA spent an enormous sum of public money to put a
> men on the moon. At the time, dissenters claimed that the money could be
> better spent to serve the community (education, health etc.). The only
> counterargument I ever heard was that the technological innovation from
> the space projects would ultimately prove worthwhile. Nobody justified
> the project on purely "intellectual" grounds. It seems that everyone
> assumed that "good to the community" took precedence.

Actually no politician, or any intellectual with common sense who wanted
see the project go forward, was going to argue for the moon landing
on the basis of the intellectual quality of the decision *publicly* .
public - the great majority of whom are driven almost solely by emotion
would not listen and would likely reject the intellectual argument out
hand. In fact, by arguing any position intellectually, the response is
almost sure to be an anti-intellectual. If you don't believe that
observe the political process. All social interactions are political
and take

> 2. Commercial television programming is designed to attract the greatest
> possible number of individual viewers. Because the primary motivation is
> advertiser satisfaction, little regard is paid to individual viewer
> satisfaction. To have the average viewer content with 4 hours excellent
> viewing per week would be considered WORSE than having everyone watching
> 12 hours of low-grade stuff (as long as they keep watching!). I would
> argue that in this context, using public resources to provide an
> alternative (public TV) is moral, because it primarily serves the
> collective of individuals rather than the corporate identity of the
> community.

I've a problem with this statement. In the first place, if you watch
Television you have to notice the corporate sponsorship. Second, if the
shows were really of superior quality, then the Public Television shows
would have the highest ratings. Besides, I would argue that, with the
possible exception of live sporting events, TV is not conducive to
intellectualization *at all*. My children can watch an educational
television show and remember virtually nothing specifically about the
subject that they were so engrossed in just minutes earlier.

> Coming back to Pirsig, he talks about morality in the resolution of
> conflicts BETWEEN levels. I am talking about morality resolving
> conflicts WITHIN levels. The morality of the biological is in Society
> and the Intellect.

> It is probably a mistake to view DQ/SQ as rigidly hierarchical anyway. Any
> change in the status of any level will affect all the levels in one way or
> another. An individual in crisis biologically is unlikely to be creating
> theories of space/time. In a prison camp, one is unlikely to design
> skyscrapers.

Conversely, one who can appreciates the beauty in crabgrass is likely to
better off in other areas (less stressed=biologically healthier).

> Just my two cents, folks.

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