LS Soc. and Int values (fwd)

Donald T Palmgren (
Mon, 17 Aug 1998 10:41:07 +0100

        I think we're having some cyber-gremlins, so I'm re-sending some

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 14:12:31 -0400 (EDT)
From: Donald T Palmgren <>
Subject: Soc. and Int values

On Sat, 8 Aug 1998, Platt Holden wrote:

> Hi Donny, Magnus, Bo and LS:
> I wholeheartedly agree with Donny's description of the Social Level as
> "marked by rituals and institutions" as opposed to "the social pattern
> of a
> fish" proposed by Magnus. Social patterns, in the sense that Pirsig uses
> those terms, did not exist before humans emerged from the universe.

        Yes, but not because we have social quality, but because
Soc.Quality *has us*. Maybe that's a less "human-centric" way of putting
it that will save us from some flack I sense comming, Platt.

> But when Donny says "And it is well within the animal kingdom that we
> find
> 'S-O thinking,''' I beg to differ. Implicit in S-O thinking is not just
> consciousness but also self-consciousness, that baffling extra dimension
> of
> awareness that distinguishes humans from animals. You cannot engage in
> Subject/Object thinking without being aware (i.e., recognizing) yourself
> as
> the Subject.

        Actually we are in agreement. I've said before, and probly should
have repeated here, that I think S-O thinking *really* comes into being at
the Social level. That's were we get the distinction between a person (a
social entity) and a mere thing. NOTE: the difference is *not* between
human and not-human, because black humans were not people up until
shamefully recently in our society. And numerous stigmatized humans
(homeless, for example) are still not, or are just barely, included as
people -- as social entities.
        Anyway, I did say that S-O thinking extends into the animal
kingdom. To clairify: It is present threre *implicitly* -- or in
Hegel-speak: in itself. In socities it becomes for-itself, explicit. This
is where we shift from just (what I'll hence-forth for clairity call)
Object Consciousness, where the subject is present (I can't know not-me if
I don't have some reciprical sense of me) but merely implicit, or (to use
another term Hegel uses) immedeat to Self Consciousness (where the Subject
stands over against itself).
        So are we as in agreement as I think we are?

> Historically, S-O thinking began (as Donny correctly describes the
> beginnings of the Q-Intellect) around the 6th century when a tribesman
> turned to his companion and said, "I'm somebody."

        I'm afraid that there we do part. "I'm somebody" happened *well*
before the 6th century. Much closer to the time I described as the
begining of social patterns. Beginings of agriculture = c. 8,000 BCE.
Beginings of city states = 4,000-3,500 BCE w/ anchient Ur of Summaria. Now
certainly people had a sense of there own individuality by that time. I
mean there we get the beginings of hero figures like Sargon I (2300 BCE)
and Mosses (1300 BCE). And not only did they have mirrors, but make-up as
well. You don't have to wait until 6th cen Greece for that. No, I still
set my understanding in opposition to the S-O thinking = Intelectual
patterns idea. Int.poVs are the new kids on the block.

 Since then, the
> tribal,
> collective mentality (that Hegel champions) has gradually been replaced
> by
> pervading a sense of self and self-reliance (that Emerson champions).

        Certainly our technology and standerd of living has moved us
considerably away from inter-dependence and towards self-reliance... and
now we have Freud and psychology w/ it's whole cosmos of in-your-head
stuff... but I think that even these trends are still social paterns.
"Social" doesn't mean contra-individual; it means contra-biological (as in
"not mere thing") that is very, very, very, very important. I don't
remember who -- I'm sorry -- but somebody is debating this
group-vs-individual question on the listserv right now. For the record, I
think the question is wrong.
        And so, back to the point I was going to
make, Hegel doesn't (at least not in the *phenominology* -- posibly in the
*phil of History* which isn't as good) mean social as in colective
(contra-individual), he uses social and *moral* interchangably. When he
talks about the "I that is a we and the we that is an I" he means the
individual as a local embodyment of the difuse moral structure that he
identifies as universal man. The two together, individual + universal, =
"the Spirit." But anyway, that's *way* off the subject...

> Finally, I was taken by Donny's statement that "An electron does
> such-and-such because the universe values that reaction to so-and-so."
> Hmm,
> sounds like the universe is conscious (sentient) at the inorganic level.
> Can you value something without being aware? Before we leave the topic
> of
> the nature of Pirsig's levels, I'd like to see us discuss the question
> of
> whether some form of consciousness exists at ALL levels. I side with
> those
> who think it does. And Pirsig's "B values precondition A" suggests he
> sees
> consciousness at all levels, too.

        I've wondered about that myself since I read that section of LILA.
He claims that there is no difference between saying "A causes B" and "B
values precondition A," but there is isn't there. The later implyes a
conscious choice. I mean *something* must be making that valuation, right?
        (Actualy P says there's no *emperical* difference betweenthe two,
and that much is true. It's the old sun going round the earth / earth
going round the sun problem. They look the same.)

                                TTFN (ta-ta for now)

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