LS Re: Soc. and Intellectual Values

Platt Holden (
Fri, 28 Aug 1998 01:10:43 +0100

Hi Jonathan, Bo, Diana and LS:

I’ve been around the Lila Squad long enough to know that when Bo
and Diana question the MOQ validity of my views, it’s time to pause
and reflect.

As usual, Diana went right to the heart of the matter:

>What I think Platt, Jonathan and possibly Donny are arguing is that
>subjects and objects must also exist at the biological level because
>in order to survive an entity must be able to tell the difference
>between itself and everything else.

Then she isolated the MOQ way of looking at things in two sentences:

>In LILA the hot stove example shows that the experience comes
>before intellectualization. If biological experience comes before
>intellect for humans then why not for cells?

Bo picked up and amplified on this view by writing:

>The various patterns of the Biological levels are separate because
>they are different value from other. To ask if they keep apart
>because they “recognize," "will," "want,” or “must” is irrelevant,
>yes, if it leads us to deduce a SOM-like consciousness (“Hey I am
>a fungus and must keep to myself!”) it is outrightly dangerous.

Suddenly it dawned on me that by imposing an SOM point of view
on microbes - the point of view that everything can be divided into
me in here and you out there - I was following the seductive song of
good old scientific rationalism. As Jonathan put it:

>I agree there is nothing intrinsic about the inner (subjective) versus
>the outer (objective). The division is an analytical tool applied by
>(dare I say) intellect.

Ah yes. That analytical tool is so familiar, so useful, so accepted by
everyone I know that I fall into its alluring trap easily and often.

I also can blame language. Words like experience, awareness,
consciousness, thought, recognize, identify, etc. implicitly contain
two parts - a subject doing the experiencing and an object being
experienced, a seer and a seen, a thinker and a thought.

What I forget, and what is so readily forgotten, is that the two parts
are actually one. As William James wrote: "This paper and the
seeing of it are one indivisible fact.

This is not the first time I’ve gone astray. In the past I wrote to the
LS, "My intellect has been so thoroughly programmed to view
experience in terms of subjects and objects that I was momentarily
bewitched into believing that "I" and "me" were separate entities - a
split as ridiculous as trying to divide "self" from the outside world."

So much for true confessions. I can only hope from now on that
when I find it necessary to split (and split I must to think and write) it
will be along the fault lines of dynamic forces and stable patterns of
Quality or, at the least, along the spectrum of hi-lo values.

Those MOQ splits take in and explain so much more of the world
than SOM that in the end I have nothing but my own my narrow
mindedness to blame for getting off track. Thanks to Jonathan, Bo,
Diana and all for bringing me back.


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