LS Re: Soc. and Intellectual values

Bodvar Skutvik (
Mon, 24 Aug 1998 14:01:31 +0100

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998
Diana McPartlin wrote:

> Platt and squad
> Platt Holden wrote:
> > Diana wrote:
> > > We may be splitting hairs here but just because something behaves as if
> > > it is separate from other things (a cell for example) it doesn't mean
> > > that it knows it's separate. If we say that it implies that
> > > "separateness" is the Truth -- ie something out there for the animals to
> > > discover. But it isn't, it's just the way humans see things.

> > Since Pirsig equates Quality with experience/awareness, it
> > seems we must ascribe 'knowing' of some sort to animals, and
> > perhaps even to atoms, whether we want to or not. (I'm using
> > 'knowing' here as a synonym for awareness.)
> Awareness, yes, but biological awareness doesn't necessarily mean
> awareness of the self as distinct from everything else.
> > Of course, the lower you go on the evolutionary scale the
> > dimmer the awareness, starting at the bottom with prehension
> > and gradually moving up step by halting step over the millennia
> > to irritability, sensation, perception, impulse, emotion, symbol,
> > concept and finally logic. (This progression attributed to Ken
> > Wilber.) But I'll leave it to Jonathan, our resident biologist, to
> > have the final word on if a cell 'knows' separateness or
> > anything else.
> I don't see how Jonathan can have unique insight unless he is merely a
> cell himself;-) We can't ever know, it's just speculation. However Donny
> also can't prove that animals _are_ self-aware, so we end up in a
> stalemate. I think my example of digesting food at least casts enough
> doubt on biological self awareness to leave the question open.
> > > Do we really have to look at animals to understand biological value
> > > anyway? Humans are biological too. Consider breathing. You could see
> > > that as subject-object if you want -- me (subject) breathes (verb) air
> > > (object). In order to breathe I have to coordinate various cells and
> > > organs in such a way that they will perform this specific function on
> > > the object. In order to digest food I have to do the same thing and make
> > > decisions about what will be used and what won't and how the nutrients
> > > and energy will be allocated in my body. But actually there is no "I" in
> > > these functions at all. They just happen. I would argue that a cat
> > > chasing a ball is no different from breathing, digesting, or any other
> > > unconscious biological action.
> > Be that as it may, I have a problem with your assertion that
> > separateness is not the truth and that it's just the way humans
> > see things. Isn't ALL truth just the way humans see things? I
> > don't think I ever met a truth that wasn't 'painted' by a human
> > somewhere, sometime.
> Yes all truth is just the way humans see things. That's what I was
> trying to point out. As we're currently discussing separateness I
> singled that out. But, yes, it applies to everything.
> > As for separateness, those who say reality is an inseparable
> > continuum fall headlong into self-contradiction. The thought and
> > the language used to make that assertion depend on
> > separation. Are we to say that symbolism, analysis, coherence
> > and yes, metaphysics -- all of which are separation dependent -
> > - are unreal?
> We can say that they're good. That's all. The MoQ says that everything
> is either good or better. Realness doesn't come into it.

> Diana
Diana, Platt (Jonathan perhaps) and Squad.

I must join forces with Diana here, what Platt is asking for is
the degree of awareness (knowing,separateness) or plainly
spoken: the "subjective" side to the Biological level and
perhaps to the Inorganic level too (awareness of atoms).

The first axiom of the MOQ is that the inner (subjective) versus the
outer (objective) is suspended or at least removed to a less
prominent place, so there are no AWARENESS at ANY level, not even to
Intellect ....IN A FUNDAMENTAL SENSE. Q-Intellect is (according to my
SOTAQI) subject-object thinking (separatedness) itself, but it is a
mere static level of the overall Q-picture and may be (will be - must
be) surpassed by another Q-development.

Seen thus it's no wonder that we humans from our high Intellect perch
look down upon the rest of the Q-levels and formulates these futile
and irrelevant questions: what is it like to be a bat? Or even: is
there awareness at the atom level?

I guess you are fed up with me "selling" this SOTAQI idea and may
ask: Why didn't Pirsig formulate it himself in LILA? (instead of the
InPoV and BiPov as "objective" and SoPoV and IntPov as "subjective"?)
He has to a degree accepted it in the tentative SAIOM form
(=SOM as Intellect of MOQ) and I feel confident that he will see the
usefulness of the refined SOTAQI. Besides, his achievement was great
enough without drawing all sorts of conclusions from his basic tenets
 - that's our job!

But as the Taoist koans indicate: having seen the grand vistas one
can return to the "farm" and take up the mundane tasks again. It is
possible - even advisable - to return to our home ground - Intellect
(subject-object thinking....but NOT subject-object metaphysics!!!!)
and ask these questions anew: What is the Q -"awareness" at the
various levels? My own contribution from old is: Interaction,
Sensation, Emotion and Reason.

This section from Diana's message above is just good:

> > > Do we really have to look at animals to understand biological
> > > value anyway? Humans are biological too......etc.

Exactly. We KNOW the Biological, the Social and the Inorganic
values, because we are of all levels. The Intellectual values we
know to such an intimate degree that we were misled to think they
were the whole truth........... Until Pirsig arrived that is.


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