LS Re: Four levels of being

Jonathan B. Marder (
Tue, 18 Aug 1998 17:14:54 +0100

Hi Squad,
Before I continue, let me react to Diana's latest News by saying how
much I appreciate her moderation efforts which have been successful in
maintaining an extremely high signal to noise ratio in the LS. I know
from personal experience what a thankless task this can be. Personally,
I am not much bothered by the odd well-intentioned off-topic post,
provided we can keep out the SPAMS. Also, I rather like the dynamics of
a few postings arriving together once or twice a day - rather than a
continuous dribble; it gives the LS a nice rthym. Whatever you decide
Diana, don't forget that your efforts are appreciated and valued.

Magnus, Donny and Troy,
   I've been following the discussion about 4-types of patterns in
"inanimate" objects.

>> If you strech these 4 types of patterns so far then they become
>> very much less usefull, lower quality, and (when you strech it as far
>> Magnus where a rock is made of all the patterns) they become pretty
>> to meaningless.

>Actually, it was Troy who described the four levels of the rock. I
>wouldn't describe the levels of the rock quite like he did but I would
>definitely say that the levels are there, or could be anyway.

What about if the rock is a polished diamond! (Or even a silicon chip).
The Quality of the diamond is in the interaction between subject and
object, and not an intrinsic property of the diamond itself. If society
chooses to VALUE a diamond, that that is SOCIAL value.

Magus continues:
>And don't think for one moment that I have no cause for stretching
>the levels as far as I've done. Yours and many other's definition of
>the levels are based on a life chauvinistic split between the first
>and the second level. It's dependent on the "fact" that everyone can
>recognize life when they see it. What kind of a metaphysical
>definition is that? To be frank, I'd put it close to ridiculous.
Well, that's basically how Pirsig defined Quality! People have no
problem in identifying a platypus as being alive. They can easily
identify several characteristics on which that judgement is based. On
the other hand, shown a piece of coral, they may be less sure and need
an explanation before accepting that it is live. But if you explain to
them what a virus is though, and they won't be so sure - it clearly
lacks some of the typical features of living organisms. That is because
the virus is near the boundary of the biological level, while the
platypus is right in the middle. An when that boundary is based not on a
single feature (1-bit logic) but on several features, that necessarily
makes it fuzzy (or multivalent, as Horse would have it).


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