LS Re: Soc. and Intellectual values

Platt Holden (
Mon, 24 Aug 1998 17:44:59 +0100

Hi Diana, Jonathan, Bo and LS:

Diana wrote:

> Obviously in order to study lifeforms you need to see them as distinct
> patterns, and you wouldn't get very far as a biologist if you couldn't
> tell them apart;), but that doesn't prove that you have to make such
> distinctions in order to BE a lifeform.

Jonathan (the CELL -:) may correct me, but it's my understanding
that one-celled organisms such as bacteria, algae and fungi, who
live in close proximity, nevertheless never merge across species.

If so, these life forms must have some way of deciding what
constitutes a species. They must have some kind of recognition
system which makes it possible to distinguish one from another, self
from other, me from not-me. Even among cells there must be a
rudiment of identity.

This contradicts Diana's statement that life forms do not need to see
other life forms as distinct patterns (like biologists do). In fact it
suggests that for any life form to survive it's essential for it to identify
patterns in its environment and to be able to tell that those patterns
are something different from itself. I would call this basic
characteristic "self-awareness."

This whole business of consciousness, sentience, awareness,
experience, etc. goes to the heart of the MOQ. Pirsig's major thesis
and central assumption is that reality is Quality and that Quality is
"direct experience." So even though we may call experience
"subjective," I don't think we can put it aside.

Until we reach some agreement of just what constitutes "experience"
as Pirisig means it and how it applies to and affects the four levels,
we may be missing a key understanding of the MOQ.



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