LS discrete vs. continuous.

Troy Becker (
Thu, 13 Aug 1998 15:25:45 +0100

this is directed to Horse, Magnus, Diane, and everybody interested in the
continuity issue that has been raised in dealing with the four categories
of static quality.

since we've begun discussing the four "types" of static quality, i've
cocked my ears at several statements. i'd like to share my views of the
quantitative attributes of quality, but first:

when i started reading about evolution in Lila, a little grey raincloud
emerged over my heart, for i initially thought Pirsig made a big
mistake--explaining "moral goods" in terms of their evolutionary status.
i thought the evolution he was talking about was that rainbow continueum,
which does leave lots of fuzzy ambiguities.

after reading more and more Lila, the lightbulbs were blazing so much
that i knew Pirsig was onto it; i just didn't fully understand the four
levels pertaining to evolution, and such.

with the help of Lila Squad discussion, i have come up with this. i call
it the quantitative attributes of quality, because it deals with "order"
of quality.

1) each of Pirsig's four levels are distinct and unique. Pirsig's
knifepoint is too sharp to cut a rainbow continueum. logically, we need
and he found four distinct categories. at this point, the adhesion that
the four levels share is that they are all "types" of static quality. i
like to think of static quality as patterns. so, if i may be indulged:

inorganic quality is a pattern.
biologic quality is a pattern that can be said to start, endure, and end.
social quality is the interaction of patterns.
intellectual quality is ...identity. <---that's too tough, probably.

bear with this, as i go on, and see if it can be concluded at the end that
the four levels are separate and entirely unique. i shouldn't necessarily
try to define the four levels--i shuold just try to point out that they
are distinct.

2) all things (as constructions of quality) we can call things consist of
inorganic, biologic, social, and intellectual quality. (please review my
rock discussion to clear up this). the point is: every thing "has" all
four levels.

3) a thing has quality at varying levels: categorized and evaluated by
examining the levels of the four realms of SQ.

a thistle plant has all four levels of SQ (point 2).
a human being has all four levels of SQ.
we can categorize the human as more moral (higher value...) because of the
higher evolved quality at every level of SQ.

a human idea has all four levels of SQ.
we can categorize a human idea as more moral (higher value) than a human
being (if necessary) if the human idea exhibits a higher evolved quality
at the four levels of SQ than does the human. for example, Dr. M.L.
King's ideas (which weren't altogether his) were more moral, more
important (more valuable) than Dr. M.L. King's life.

4) as Dynamic Quality is sought, the order of Inorg, Bio, Soc, Intel
becomes vital. this scale shows precedence due to the en routeveness of
the thing towards Dynamic Quality. a thing that exhibits higher
intellectual quality than another thing is more valuable, regardless of
the inorganic, biological, or social quality. Dr. King again serves a
good example. Dr. King was a breathing, moving hunk of meat that not only
formed a complex society of cells and organs, but also participated in a
vast, complex societyof similar human beings. "his" idea (nonviolence and
the pursuit of justice) was very low on inorganic quality. it was medium
low on biologic quality (i'd say it had and continues to have a nice
life). and the social quality of the idea was minimal in the south,
although it holds water in the social quality of static quality, period.
nonetheless, this idea was no hunk of meat. the hunk of meat was shot in
the neck and died, but the idea continues to scar injustice today. the
idea has more intellectual quality than Dr. King's life, which is why Dr.
King is thought of as an inspiring hero and not a loony idiot fanatic.


is it clear that the levels of SQ are unique? this is no proof; it will
hopefully bring insight to help understand what i understand.

furthermore, briefly:
5) a thing has Dynamic Quality only when it shifts toward [pure] Quality.
i hope this gives a nice basis for further discussion/reflection.

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