LS Four levels of being

Donald T Palmgren (
Sat, 29 Aug 1998 04:41:47 +0100

On Mon, 24 Aug 1998, Magnus Berg wrote:

> Hi Donny and Squad
> You wrote:
> > No, I said 'alive the same way you and I' = Social entity (I
> > didn't even mention IntpoVs!). My cat is alive, but not the same way we
> > are. She is alive as a cat. We are alive as homo-sapians... but we are
> > also alive as social entities. Before an AI could get to the Intellectual
> > level it'd have to go through this stage, the social. (The same is true
> > for cats.)
> Tell me where you disagree in this chain of thought.
> Our society is a SocPoV.
> SocPoVs consists of BioPoVs.
> Computers are parts of our society.

        Well ther's a big one right there. Computers are "parts of our
society" as you say... but they are not *social entities* -- a computer
is not a person. A person is to society as a player is to the rules of a
game. The game exists in the lives of the players and the players can
only be players because there are rules to the game. A like analogy works
w/ persons and society. But computers are a very long way off from having
person-hood. They are something used by our society, and valued by our
society -- but they arn't our society. New York *embodies* itself in
New Yorkers... but not in computers.
        Like I said: When Pirsig talks about society he always refers to
new York, the victorians, etc. But he dosn't refer to computers... or
trees or rocks or cells (well he does in the blood cell analogy but that I
think really was analogy).

> Computers are BioPoVs of our society.

        And thare I'm not even sure what you're saying?

        The 4 levels are *only* a pragmatic tool -- a game of "play as
if," and the real question is how useull is it. When Pirsig says:
InOrg = the laws (values) of physics
Bio = the law of the jungle (Darwinian values of survivle and procreation)
soc = "the law" -- man's law (values)
and Int = the rules (values) of reason: objectivity, clearity, rigor,
        communicability, etc.
I like that because it's very clear and usefull... it has high intelectual
value, and i it cleans up all our moral conundrums by creating a moral
hierarchy as he claims it does... then that is of high social value, too.

        My computer does what it does because it is simply obaying natural
laws of physics/elactricity -- Inorganic values! If my computer truly was
guided by social values it wouldn't give me all the hassels it does, and
if was guided by Darwininan values then I might feel pretty bad about
scrapping it and buying a new one.

        The question is: How many layers do you need to invoke to explain
X? For computers (or dimonds, or super novas or entropy...) one. For
fish: two. For Austrailan aboriginies or Native Americans (at least if Bo
and I are getting "IntPoVs" nailed down right) three. for the LS: four.

> > > Now suddenly, life is a BioPoV?
> >
> > Not sure how sudden that is.
> It's just that in one sentence you could have said that a cell is alive and
> in the next you have to specify that you mean alive 'like you and I'.

        I think I've explained that I'm distinguishing "life" (life as a
entity which embodies biological values) and "social life," "alive like
you and I are," "personhood," "social entity," "mind-ed being"... pick
your favorite. The point is that Donny Palmgren is a living entity
dependent upon, but still in many ways seperate from the homo-sapian
animal that I am as well (and I can make the same move on downward
another value-layer). It's pssible that this *personality* could die (I
could undergo electo-therapy and get erased) while the animal body goes on
living (and the animal could die, but the Inorg rhythms go on doing their
thing, just like they are supposed to do -- decomposition).
        Again you might re-consult the afterword to ZMM.

> there's another kind of liveness of cats. You seem to be talking about a
> metaphysics of life. The MoQ is about DQ/SQ, then SQ is divided into four
> smaller compartments. To use a metaphysics is, to me, to use this division
> to explain complicated things like life, not to add other divisions as soon
> as there's a problem.

        I'm not adding divisions; I'm just using the 4 pirsig gave us!!

> I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself here but I think you're trying to explain
> something with 'rhythms' that is already explainable with the MoQ as it is.
> Rhythms does not add any explanatory power, it's redundant. So is life.

        Technically I'm suggesting a replacement -- a word change; not an


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